A S S O C I AT I O N O F F L I G H T AT T E N D A N T S - C W A , A F L - C I O
501 Thir d Street, N W, Washington, DC 20001-2797
PHONE 202•434•1300 F AX 202•434•1319
RE: United Flight Attendants Joint Contract Negotiations Update
Nearly five years after the United/Continental/Continental Micronesia merger, United management has failed to negotiate a joint contract which is necessary to merge the operations of three separate and distinct airline operations. The lack of a combined contract forces the three groups to continue working on separate aircraft types and separate schedule systems, among other things. This is inefficient for employees, passengers and the basic running of the airline.
Executives and shareholders are cashing in while passengers and Flight Attendants are left dealing with the frustrations of a fractured operation. United Airlines is making record profits and its 2015 income will be more than five times higher than in 2013. Operating profit in 2015-2017 is expected to be $5 billion or more in each year; United has $7.0 Billion in cash on its balance sheet and its stock price has jumped 162% since negotiations began. United CEO’s, Jeff Smisek, pay is up 32% and other top executives and shareholders are also cashing in. Furthermore, it was recently announced that United would execute a $3 billion stock buyback plan. Meanwhile, current management fails to invest in Flight Attendants who are among the frontline working people who make the airline go.
In the spring and summer of 2010, Jeff Smisek testified to no less than six separate Congressional panels. Each panel heard the same verbatim testimony: “We are committed to continuing our cooperative labor relations and to integrating our workforces in a fair and equitable manner and negotiating contracts with our unions that are fair to employees and fair to the company”.
Thus far, United management is approaching the negotiations as if Flight Attendants should pay for the merger through cuts to healthcare, working longer days with less flexibility, removal of profit sharing and compensation that doesn’t recover other cuts to the contract. Every consolidation has merger related costs such as harmonizing airport operations, signage and workable reservations systems. There are assumed costs related to achieving a joint collective bargaining agreement, but Flight Attendants shouldn’t have to pay for those costs, especially as the airline profits soar.
Flight Attendant sacrifices and hard work made this merger possible—it’s time for United management to do their part and complete the merger. It’s time Flight Attendants share in the profits they helped create. Flight Attendants from pre-merger United, Continental, and Continental Micronesia are united in an effort to get a contract that can ratify. Management can then focus on completing the merger, realizing the benefits and improving the day to day operation of the airline.