You know, I still just don't get it.
I do not begrudge any flight attendants. They work hard and do have to put up with a lot of crap from passengers, there is no argument there.
But this is not an argument about being patient about a settlement. This is not about what they 'deserve'. This is about if, IF
, they will have a JOB. It is that simple. To anyone who thinks that it is anything more complex than this, you are diluting yourselves.
Yes, there are very complex issues at United to be resolved and yes, United is dragging its feet about a exit plan from bankruptcy. There are true problems at United yet to be resolved and I am certainly exceptionally critical of UA
management and their role in this whole calamity.
However, this is not about UA
management. This is about the actions of a few f/a's who think that they are going to get screwed by UA
because they are close to retirement and further believe that they have the power to leverage the carrier into giving them what they want. Specifically, Patricia Friend and her ageing group of f/a's (mind you, I do not begrudge them what they want and have earned, but the problem is, they are not going to get it. UA
is not in a position to give it.) If they file a creditor claim, they are so far down the list that it will be 20 years and maybe 1 cent on the dollar they will receive, maybe.
This CHAOS action is NOT, repeat NOT the way to do this. The way to get to management is to work with them, not against them, which, by the way, the AFA has done for the past 10 years. They did not participate in the ESOP. They forced UA
into giving them a 30% pay raise, albeit over 10 years with a sizeable bump at the front end. United needs to get that back.
All the other unions have been working with management in one way or another. It is the AFA that has been dragging their feet and now is hell bent on going to war with UA
management. This is a war they cannot win.
If I thought that this was the right move on the part of the AFA, I would support it with all my power...because I believe employees are at the heart of any company, especially one in bankruptcy and that is the time when everyone, and I mean everyone needs to come together and figure out a way to get out of the whole. That means equal sacrifice across all the work groups.
So, my argument is simple. This is a very bad idea. If you go through with it, then I will have to come down on the side of management and if you no show for a flight, you should be terminated on the spot...with NO rights to recall. After about 10% of the f/a group are gone (the most hard headed), the rest will cave, since at the end of the day, they will figure out that it is their job that they must save, not the careers of a few of the older union group (which is what this is really about).
To the older f/a group, I am very sorry. You deserve better. A lot of us deserve better. I lost my ESOP shares and my pension as a former UA
employee. I have gone on with my life. You need to start figuring out what to do with the rest of your lives, because this is going to end badly for you, one way or the other. If you continue to work for United, you will earn less money, but you will still be employed. There are things you will be able to do to prepare for retirement. You need to start looking forward and not backward. Pick up the pieces and work with management and you might find them more receptive than you may think. A f/a group that actually works with management than against them will be rewarded in the end. I truly believe that. It may not be today, but if United is healthy again, there may be profit sharing and to those who are really close to retirement, I am certain that UA
will help you in some way to figure out how to manage yourself through the next coming years.
Do not let emotion rule your actions. It will be your undoing.
Do this another way.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998