Good info from the AFA website


Aug 20, 2002
Good Evening. Today is Tuesday, December 17th, and this is Dear AFA. This is AFA Boston Council 27 volunteer Dennis Perry reporting.

Meeting via conference call last night (Monday, December 16th) the leaders of United''s largest Union groups - the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and the International Association of Machinists - agreed to co-ordinate their continuing efforts with a common purpose: to restructure the airline and return it to profitability while safeguarding the interests of the employees they represent. Union Leaders emerged from the meeting unified, and prepared to begin exploring their options.

Each Union characterized United''s initial concepts as over reaching in their breadth and not limited to items necessary for the reorganization. The Unions also agreed that running the shuttle-type operation as a separate airline, as suggested by current management, is not necessary for the success of that operation or for the reorganization as a whole.

In order for United to succeed in reorganization, the plan must embrace the employees. The Union Coalition at United is committed to developing such a plan as the only clear path to successfully turning around this company.

At the first hearing in bankruptcy court the company''s lead attorney Sprayregan opened his remarks by acknowledging that United''s greatest asset is its 80,000 employees. Now, more than ever, management must recognize that our airline’s success hinges on the continuing commitment of all United employees. However, management should resist the simplistic, non-intelligent and draconian approach which forces the employees to bear the burden of the reorganization.

An 1113 motion is a procedural step in bankruptcy court that is routine and expected. Still, AFA believes that today’s announcement of plans for a bankruptcy motion under section 1113, seeking to reject the employees’ labor agreements is premature and unnecessary. The Union Coalition has worked with this management team, voluntarily and collaboratively, for months to restructure this airline. That collaborative approach should produce a successful turnaround and not a legal confrontation in front of the bankruptcy judge.

Legal and financial advisers for the Unions are now attempting to evaluate information contained in the company''s presentations. They are, however, still awaiting detailed financial information on the initial concepts outlined by the company. Management provided incomplete and inconclusive information to the Unions and this has caused a significant amount of time to be wasted.

The Union Coalition members'' individual negotiating committees stand ready to engage in discussions on how to best restructure United Airlines and improve the relationship among the company and its employees.

On December 12 and 13, United management met with the Members of the Union Coalition to provide a status of the airline and give each labor group a list of savings alternatives to reach management’s suggestion of $2.4 billion yearly in labor savings. The litany of Contract concession options provided to AFA was very extensive and we were not provided with a target savings for Flight Attendant participation in the recovery plan. At this point, all items on the list are conceptual in nature.

Even though we are now under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court, and we know the cuts sought from us will be much higher than the cuts we ratified outside of bankruptcy, negotiations inside bankruptcy must be conducted with a fair and equitable standard. Similar to the savings that were part of the previous negotiations, AFA expects that the portion allotted to the Flight Attendants will be significantly smaller relative to the cuts sought from other work groups, based on our 10 year industry average Contract.

Our goal continues to be, to have control and influence over the changes to our Contract and to prevent United from petitioning the Court to change our pay, benefits, and work rules unilaterally.

Information in the press has been full of speculation and in some cases wholly inaccurate, even when “quotingâ€￾ representatives of AFA. Continue to avoid rumor and speculation by listening to this tape, reading AFA E-lines, and visiting regularly. If you have any questions, call your Local Council for clarification.

As Members of AFA and as United Flight Attendants, we must stay proud of the contributions we make daily to our airline. Thank you for calling, and continue to stay informed through all AFA Communication Channels.