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A Message from MEC President Ken Diaz

Date: January 3, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Representation – It’s About Engaging with the Representative.

Over the course of the past several days, we’ve heard from many of you expressing your disappointment with management after learning of the actions of competing airline management in providing one-time bonuses to their employees.  You’ve expressed anger over the appearance of an absence of industry leadership by United management following the passage of the new tax law that will greatly benefit corporations in this country.  You’re not wrong in feeling this disappointment.

It should be very clear to all of us;  this new tax bill will provide permanent corporate tax cuts while only temporarily reducing individual tax obligations.  The White House and GOP leaders have repeatedly said the tax plan will unleash “growth of jobs and paychecks” in the U.S.  However, to accomplish this, the bill relies on a corporate investment in employees to create a benefit for the American people.

While we are certainly happy for the members of our Union who fly with the American brand to receive the bonus announced by American management last night as well as for our professional peers at Southwest Airlines, we need to be willing to look at this issue from an alternate point of view.

Airlines sharing profits with Flight Attendants and other employees who directly contribute to the success of the airline and make it fly is a very good thing.  However, we cannot lose sight of reality.  This corporate tax relief is forever.  And while $1,000 is certainly not something that should be dismissed out of the box, we must consider the magnitude of the tax relief as it compares with this amount of money.

As our AFA International President, Sara Nelson said in a press release earlier today, “If the airline is benefiting from the new tax law, workers should share in that gain. Employees have a voice and legal representation at most airlines. Management should engage union leaders in a discussion about the specific impact on the airline following the new corporate tax rate and how to invest in employees in a meaningful way. Any long-term gain for the airline should result in negotiations over improvements. These improvements should be on-going, long-term contractual improvements just like the corporate tax cuts. That’s how workers know the promise of good jobs and wages will be full-filled.”

It is for this reason your AFA leadership would expect management to engage the legal representative in a discussion about the impact of this tax bill and the plans for investing in the people who make our airline fly.  This plan must be meaningful and recognize not only the financial savings resulting from the tax bill but must also recognize the value of the employees whose daily efforts drive the corporate success on which all of us, employees and investors, rely.  

We are ready for that meaningful discussion and encourage United management to meet with us as we continue to set course for a profitable and successful future.

In Solidarity,

Ken Diaz, President
United Master Executive Council

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