Plenty of Money to Go Around for UAL Flight Attendants
July 24, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Our airline today reported a net profit of $274 million for the second quarter of the year. Second quarter earnings consistent with industry competitors come as no surprise. Analysts have predicted huge profits for the industry this year and rival airlines have reported solid profits across the board this quarter. But, our airline fails to reach its potential and capitalize on the great opportunities at hand.
Tilton told reporters and investors today, "we're looking at all the uses we have for free cash. We're keeping our options open." This money rightfully belongs to Flight Attendants and other employees who continue to suffer while executives reap great rewards.
Amid growing unrest marked by increasingly larger Flight Attendant and other Union protests, management throws around cosmetic so-called new initiatives to placate passengers and shareholders with hundreds of millions of dollars planned for old airplanes and talk of short-sighted buybacks or dividends. Tilton and the UAL Board of Directors have waged war on employees while retaining single-minded focus on a merger. We know that a corporation that ignores the needs of its workers is doomed to failure.
We are determined to make United Airlines a great place to fly - for Flight Attendants and passengers alike. Earnings are welcome news, but the problems reflected in recent abysmal survey results cannot rebound without investing in the employees. Just yesterday, a fellow AFA Member based in Chicago wrote to senior management:
It's very simple, you treat the employees well and take care of them, and they become productive in the workplace, and United doesn't come in below the IRS in customer service. Treat the employees well and they don't need to protest outside of your lavish new digs in downtown Chicago.
UAL's ability to generate significant cash 18 months after exiting the longest bankruptcy in aviation history vividly demonstrates how management exploited Chapter 11. Executives didn't just reduce United's debt and restructure its finances; they cut pay, benefits, work rules and then destroyed retirement security for 120,000 current and former employees.
Our work and our concessions have turned this airline around, in spite of this executive team and not because of management skill. It's time now that we share in the rewards of our airline. Tilton has seen his compensation soar to $40 million since emerging from bankruptcy. $40 million would equal a 10% pay raise for all 17,000 Flight Attendants.
The current state of affairs, if left to fester, lends itself to a show down of unimagined proportions when all worker Contracts become amendable in two years. Immediate tangible improvements to compensation and quality of work life are critical for United's sustained profitability. We remain available to reach a consensual agreement with management that will allow United Airlines to reach its true potential.
United Airlines has great opportunity to soar above the competition of the airline industry, but profits must be invested in employees. What's good for workers is good for the passengers, good for the shareholders and good for the airline.
Greg Davidowitch, President
United Master Executive Council