The Truth Behind Management’s “Facts”
Author: Your Joint Communication Committee
Earlier this week management distributed their “view of negotiations” claiming to have your best interests in mind and to ensure you had the facts about our negotiations.
Our JNC met with management this week in direct negotiations and continued their work, not allowing this distraction to deter them from their ultimate objective. Let’s call this “message” from management what it is: an attempt to distract you and discredit our negotiators.
Let’s be clear right off the bat: management is reacting to what we’re doing. They put significant time, effort and money into producing an attractive, glossy brochure; they delivered it, system-wide across all three subsidiaries simultaneously. And they did this deliberately on a Tuesday morning, during a direct negotiations session.
We’ve been providing you with updates for months through the OurUnited newsletter and website. Explaining to you, the fact that management is the factor contributing the lack of progress in our negotiations is not something brand new. We’ve talked for months about the company trying to negotiate “company policy” instead of “Contract language.”
So, why does management have such a strong reaction now? What has changed? Well one thing is that last week we completed our first Joint Membership Engagement / Contract Support training, and it was a great success.
Plain and simple: management does not like engaged Members.
As a Union, however, our strength and power comes directly from our Solidarity. We took an incredible step forward last week in furthering that Solidarity through our commitment to each other and the process of negotiating our Joint Contract. This was a powerful shift in our negotiations dynamics.
We have accomplished what United so far, has been unable or unwilling to do: Bring all three groups of Flight Attendants together in common purpose, and management noticed. Their perception of us changed from being a mere annoyance to a potential threat to the direction they want our negotiations to follow.
Negotiations are about timing, power and leverage.
The timing of our training complicates how successful the tactics they’ve been using at the table will be. The power we are creating threatens their ability to control negotiations. The leverage we are building will lead to our success in those negotiations.
Our power, unity and Solidarity are growing and it’s on management’s radar.
Their glossy brochure is designed to attack the very fabric of what we’ve begun to build, while its still new and fresh. The thing is though; we are better at creating Solidarity than management is at combating it.
In their attempt to discredit our JNC, their actions actually have served more to galvanize Flight Attendants in their outrage against management. Their carefully timed and smoothly worded attack on us failed to create the division they hoped it would.
Flight Attendants are angry all right, but at management attempting to deliberately mislead us and to minimize our issues and the importance of our negotiations. Management also failed to make you believe they are the reasonable ones.
We all want our airline to be successful. However, that success must come from the inside out.
If management were to foster a positive, supportive and respectful approach towards us, it would create a workforce with pride and ownership. Those employees could then provide an excellent product and service to United’s passengers – having the tools we need to do that job. In turn, those passengers would value their experience on United; increase the company’s revenue and loyalty to United shareholders.
So, ask yourself – do the actions of current management make you feel proud to work for our airline? Do you feel that management has your best interest at heart when they make decisions to reduce staffing, dilute service, remove products revise policies and guidelines – while increasing discipline and demanding better customer service? All without providing what we need to accomplish that goal?
Regrettably, the company had an incredible opportunity through their merger, which they’ve squandered. Consistently they choose to always go for the lowest common denominator, in virtually every decision they make.
So who is actually happy with the way our airline is being run? Are you happy with the direction management is taking us? Are United’s passengers happy with the reduction in service, elimination of amenities and disgruntled Flight Attendants? Are the shareholders happy with the lack of promised “synergies” that are years behind schedule?
Despite management’s rhetoric this week, our airline is off-track and far from making decisions that positively support United Flight Attendants. These are the same bad decisions being applied in our negotiations, and just like their message to you this week they’re falling far short of where we all need to be.
It’s time to turn our airline around. The right place to begin that positive change for our Flight Attendants, our airline and our future begins in our negotiations. It’s time to get to work.
The Joint Communication Committee
The JNC spent this week in Chicago, negotiating with United management. The committee has remained focused on our work, despite the minor distractions out on the line, and completed a number of proposals and counter proposals which have been passed to the company.
On Monday afternoon, we started the week with a discussion about United’s proposal on a General section for the new Joint Contract, which they had presented to us in Houston last month.
On Tuesday we presented the company with a proposal on the Seniority provisions of our Contract. (Flight Attendants should be clear these provisions have nothing to do with merging our respective seniority lists into one) Tuesday afternoon United provided us with their counter proposal on Alcohol & Drug Testing. The company also presented us with a proposal on Medical Examinations. After listening to United’s interests and issues regarding Alcohol & Drug Testing, as well as their newly imposed Alcohol & Drug policy, we crafted a counter proposal to their language and presented them with it Wednesday morning.
We also presented the company with our proposal on Pass Travel. Our next session with United took place on Thursday afternoon and we presented them with counter proposals on Flight Crew Lounges, Passports/Visas/Immunizations, and CJA.
We closed out our week at the table by receiving United’s counter proposals on Seniority, Passes and Deadheading. We provided management with a counter proposal on Uniforms, and a set of new proposals on AMC flying (formerly called MAC), CRAF (Civil Reserve Air Fleet) and Onboard Crew Rest.
While no Tentative Agreements were reached with United this week, the JNC was able to present the company with a good volume of proposals and counter proposals. We look forward to positive responses from management the next time we sit down with them in June. Our next session will take place in Pittsburgh the week of June 10th.
Negotiations to Date
Total Direct Negotiations Sessions with management
Total Days Negotiating at the Bargaining Table (as of May 17, 2013)
Total Subjects for New Agreement (as of April 5, 2013)
Tentative Agreements Reached with Management
June 1, 2013 Council 5 (JFK) / Council 62 (EWR)
1pm – 5pm
Marriott Airport EWR – O.N.E. Solidarity Event, OurUnited Sign-up, Q&A
June 1, 2013 Council 8 (ORD) / Council 63 (ORD)
9am – 1pm
Domicile Area – O.N.E. Solidarity Event, OurUnited Sign-up, Q&A
June 1, 2013 Council 21 (DCA/IAD/BWI) / Council 62 (IAD)
12pm – 8pm
Inflight Rotunda Area – IAD O.N.E. Solidarity Event, OurUnited Sign-up, Q&A
June 1, 2013 Council 11 (SFO) / Council 62 (SFO)
8am – 2pm
Domicile/Base Area – O.N.E. Solidarity Event, OurUnited Sign-up, Q&A