United Flight Attendants: Company Numbers Don't Add Up
April 8, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Throughout United’s bankruptcy, Flight Attendants have demonstrated steadfast resolve to protect our careers and ensure the success of our airline. We have challenged and exposed shortsighted management decisions and executive greed. Most recently, we ratified second round of concessions management allocated to Flight Attendants as part of the $725 million in annual cost savings they claimed is needed to attract exit financing so our airline can emerge from bankruptcy. At the same time, we made it clear that ratification was not an endorsement of senior management. As a protection to Flight Attendants forced to sacrifice under the Bankruptcy Code, our Contract includes a termination clause that gives us the right to verify management’s data to ensure that Flight Attendants will not sacrifice disproportionately to any other group.
“AFA does not make this decision lightly. However, we will not allow current management to sabotage our airline’s restructuring...”
Over the past several weeks we’ve been reporting to you that we found major problems with their data and information relating to how concessions were being applied to the Salaried and Management (SAM) group. First, the baseline for determining wage savings being applied to the SAM group was wrong, artificially inflating pay rates before the cuts were taken and giving significant pay raises even while taking credit for pay cuts. Our vigilance and persistence forced them to correct this problem despite their resistance. Second, management has been either unwilling or unable to provide the data necessary to convince us that their claim of “productivity improvements” for the SAM group is legitimate, and has admitted that a significant portion of those savings have not been identified.
Their failure to provide reasonable documentation to show that their claims are not illusory, despite numerous meetings and written requests, is also a serious violation of their pledge and their contractual obligations. Therefore, we have formally notified CEO Glenn Tilton that, in accordance with the termination rights contained in our contract, management has 20 days to cure the violation to our reasonable satisfaction, or we will consider the Letter of Agreement that modified the 2003-2009 Flight Attendant Agreement to be null and void.
It's really quite simple. The cuts have to be real and they have to be verified just as management has required of the Flight Attendants. Management's own deadline for applying these cuts is months over due. Now, under our contract, they have 20 days to meet this contractually-mandated deadline. If they don’t, we will consider this agreement terminated and the 2003-2009 Restructuring Agreement will be in effect.
AFA does not make this decision lightly. However, we will not allow current management to sabotage our airline’s restructuring by failing to contribute the cost savings they claim to be necessary or to demand disproportionate sacrifices from Flight Attendants. Such actions on their part are irresponsible and inexcusable, but, unfortunately, have become all too familiar to Flight Attendants.
This management has again failed to meet its commitments, execute a plan to successfully reorganize United Airlines or move our airline any closer to an exit from bankruptcy. AFA will take all legally available actions necessary to ensure that Flight Attendants, United Airlines and all other interested parties are not subject to any further harm by this management.
Greg Davidowitch, President
United Master Executive Council