Stand up for the members


Mar 26, 2011
UAL Teamsters say “No Concessions” Hoffa says “three to five years”
Created 2011-06-10 15:49
June 10, 2011: After 5000 United Airlines mechanics and related workers solidly rejected a proposed contract, the Hoffa administration is pulling their usual trick: blame the members instead of standing up for them like leaders.

Teamster mechanics are organizing to turn that around.

Hoffa’s Airline Division Director, David Bourne, sent all the mechanics a letter saying he expects it to take “three to five years” to bargain another offer, after management asked for mediation.

Instead of telling UAL management that Teamsters members have spoken, and leading a fight for an industry-leading contract at the world’s largest airline, the Hoffa administration is carrying the water for the corporation, and treating the members like children.

As Teamster Paul Cordova wrote to Bourne, “UAL has plenty of money to buy its own spin doctors, lobbyists and public relations flaks. They don’t need you doing their work for them.” This open letter is one of several circulating among UAL technicians.

The letter, and numerous petitions from these skilled Teamsters, ask the International union to back up the rank and file, and lead a fight against another concessionary offer. They call on the International to “use the same organizing spirit you showed when organizing us – the tractor trailers, the mailings, the rallies – to actually get something done.” Amen.

That is what is needed: a contract campaign to unite the workers, reach out to other crafts and the public, and take the fight to UAL management. They also need to rally the Continental Airlines mechanics; United now owns Continental and plans to merge the operations.

The contract was rejected at every major UAL base of operations: San Francisco and the West Coast, Denver, Chicago, New York and Washington Dulles. Only two small local units voted yes. The members want to stand for an industry leading contract, win back the pension they lost when the airline was bankrupt, catch-up on wages, and protect their health coverage. These are reasonable demands, and critically important to win before a joint agreement including Continental is bargained.

The Airline Division needs to change course: listen to and then lead the Teamsters who work at United, as well as their subsidiary Continental Airlines.
Harvey, I agree the Teamsters should step up and back their rank and file demands. Sadly a truckers union can't do much at an airport. Bourne, in my opinion is a Smilton Lackey without intestinal fortitude, with more interest in kissing the corporate pinky ring than climbing in the ring and going mano a mano for the members. 3 to 5 years! Is Bourne using this as a scare tactic? Or is he finally admitting the Teamsters are weak and can't get the job done. My answer to him is either get it done or you will be gone.