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Perils of Social Media

Date: February 9, 2021

In the past we have shared with our Members the issues that stem from social media and the adverse impact information shared on these platforms can have when the negative far outweighs the positive. Flight Attendants frequently take to social media channels in an effort to find out vital and sometimes time sensitive information about company issues. Regrettably, information shared via social media is not always accurate.  We have seen a recent surge in Members receiving misinformation from their well-intentioned colleagues.

Recently we became aware of one Member who had been on the Voluntary Furlough and had disconnected from all things United out of personal choice to get away from the ups and downs of the pandemic. Through social media they learned of the furlough recall process and turned to their colleagues on social media as their source of information. Unfortunately, much of the information they received was inaccurate or incomplete. This Member turned to social media when they should have turned to their Union. Our Union elected representatives and volunteers are there to support you with issues, big and small, and while social media may satisfy a need for an immediate answer, the potential for that answer to be wrong far outweighs the benefits of the speed at which it may be received.

In addition to the issue of misinformation, we are collectively having to deal with personal posts and comments that are landing Flight Attendants in disciplinary hearings. We must all be aware that social media provides no guarantee of anonymity or privacy. When you post you should assume the company will see it. Even on the most private and secure pages it only takes one person taking your personal post the wrong way and sending a screen shot to management to find yourself pulled form service becoming the subject of a corporate investigation.

Corporate United is watching. Every time they release a controversial statement, they are monitoring social media to see how members respond. They are looking for division within our workgroup to exploit and weaken our resolve. No, we will not all agree on every issue. But when we take to social media to express our disappointment or anger, we are giving the company exactly what they need to take more and more away from us. Make no mistake John Slater’s “disappointment” this past Friday was a direct attack on our representational democracy and, ultimately, our membership.

Our message to John is consistent with what we’ve always said; the United MEC is the elected representative of our Members and has an obligation, in fact, a duty to represent when making decisions consistent with the will of the Membership and the enforcement of our Contract.  The recent decision of the United MEC not to pursue an IVFMP was made only after thoughtful, deliberate debate - unanimously.  As in any decision there will be those who may disagree.  At the end of the day, respecting the Union leadership responsible for representing the Members is the ultimate showing of respect.

We recognize that social media isn’t going anywhere and many of you will continue to use it. However, you need to be aware of the dangers it exposes you to, as an individual, as a community and to our career. It should be clear that there should be no expectation of privacy when posting anything on social media.  Any showing of disunity, rather than working toward our common goals, accomplishes the exact opposite and only provides management with an unfair advantage.

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