Union Coalition at United Airlines Demands Repayment with Airline's "Found Money"
November 27, 2007
Statement by the Union Coalition at United Airlines
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago, Ill., November 27, 2007--The Union Coalition at United Airlines issued the following statement in response to an announcement by United concerning restructuring current credit agreements in hopes of pursuing "shareholder-oriented initiatives:"
"While searching for ways to pay down $350 million in debt and implementing an additional $500 million in 'shareholder initiatives,' United's management has once again turned a blind eye toward its employees, the very people who saved this airline from extinction.
"The Union Coalition at United Airlines, representing the overwhelming majority of union-represented employees, is absolutely opposed to any transaction United may contemplate that is to the detriment of its workers. Employees have sacrificed billions of dollars in wages, pensions and degraded work rules as a result of United's 39 month bankruptcy. Since emerging from bankruptcy, United has cut its total debt by billions while ignoring its employees. Should United Airlines undertake any transaction, employees must share in the gain from that process.
"Not a penny of the billions of dollars extracted from United's employees during the airline's bankruptcy has been repaid. Yet, management sees fit to reward shareholders with new initiatives without giving a passing thought of recognizing those who have sacrificed the most to return this airline to economic health.
"The Union Coalition at United Airlines is adamant that any undertaking by management earmarked toward rewarding shareholders must first recognize and compensate its employees. There is only one choice to make regarding use of the $500 million in 'found money.' Any gain from the 'credit restructuring' must be shared with the employees.
"For management not to include employees in these new initiatives and the newfound value of an asset spin off is just another insult to every United employee.
"No corporation with even a scintilla of soul or heart would ignore the catastrophic impact bankruptcy has on employees while focusing solely on shareholders, many of whom were mere bystanders as United savaged its employee contracts and eliminated tens of thousands of jobs. The time has long passed for United's employees – a major stakeholder in United's operation -- to stop being treated as hired hands. We will pursue every opportunity to protect affected employees and secure our rightful share of rewards."
Combined, the coalition's five labor unions represent more than 30,000 United employees.