United Imports New Labor Woes

Mar 26, 2004
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Melissa Allison
Tribune staff reporter

August 11, 2004

United Airlines' union for ramp and other workers promised Tuesday to support about 800 of the carrier's London employees if they decide to strike, a move that could hamper the airline's operations at O'Hare International Airport and elsewhere.

Members of the British union voted down United's final contract offer by 97 percent in a July workplace vote, which is required in England in addition to a mail-in vote. The mailed votes will be counted Aug. 18, and if the contract is again declined the union could strike as early as one week later.

John Mason, chairman of the United branch of England's Transport & General Workers' Union, met with his U.S. counterparts Tuesday to find out whether the U.S. union would support a strike.

If the London workers bring picket lines to U.S. airports, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will not cross them, said Randy Canale, president of the IAM district for United.

Officials at United's pilots and flight attendants unions said they would support the British workers as well. Their contracts say that members are not required to cross other employees' picket lines.

The IAM went a step further, saying that if United finds people to handle striking workers' jobs in moving flights out of London's Heathrow Airport, IAM workers would not take care of the flights on the U.S. side, Canale said.

The potential for a strike in England could threaten some of United's most profitable routes. The airline's international flights have consistently boosted its revenues during its 20-month bankruptcy. United flies 12 round trips between Heathrow and U.S. destinations each day, including three to O'Hare.

United spokesman Stephan Roth said Tuesday that the airline has "made a fair offer to our employees, and we hope they'll accept this offer."

The possible strike represents another labor challenge for the nation's second-largest airline.

Its U.S. unions have spoken out angrily against United's decision in July to stop funding its pension plans while it remains under Chapter 11 protection. Many believe the airline intends to terminate the plans, which the government estimates are underfunded by at least $7.5 billion.

Canale, also a member of United's board of directors, boycotted its last two meetings because the airline was discussing its decision to stop making pension payments. He plans to attend a board meeting Thursday.

The IAM also has filed two lawsuits against top United executives, accusing them of neglecting their fiduciary duties to employees and creditors by stopping pension contributions.

United says it needs the extra cash while it searches for exit financing in the wake of the government's rejection of its application for a $1.1 billion federal loan guarantee that the airline had counted on to propel it out of bankruptcy.
 

spacewaitress

Senior
Aug 27, 2002
468
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Officials at United's pilots and flight attendants unions said they would support the British workers as well. Their contracts say that members are not required to cross other employees' picket lines.

that's funny, afa says nothing and then makes a pronouncement like that. This is one flight attendant that will cross any picket line the IAM sets up. Sheer folly of the IAM.

You'd think IAM history would be considered re: Eastern. IAM seems bent on going down the same road and putting this airline in it's grave, once and for all. Well, I won't support them, and to suggest that pilots and flight attendants will, I think is hugely out of the mainstream thinking among both groups.

The reality at this airline should be being taken under consideration. These guys seem to have no foresight, hindsight, or insight. Taking actions such as this article suggests may happen is nothing but reactionary bombastic chest puffing machismo. Give me a break and start using some reason. God gave you brains to use, try it, you might find some creative solutions, and maybe even gain insight into the industry and its current realities.
 

The Ronin

Senior
Sep 17, 2002
497
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If the London workers bring picket lines to U.S. airports, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will not cross them, said Randy Canale, president of the IAM district for United.
Hahahahahahahahah......RMAOFL....oh, wait a minute....oooohh oooh aaahh aaahh eeeeh eeeeeh....right MAG :up:
 

The Ronin

Senior
Sep 17, 2002
497
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Hey what about the RLA or PEB???? Well thats it then....time to call Bubba, we obviously have to invade because I'm just sure that union is an al-quieda terrorist cell and they probably have weapons of mass destruction :up:
 

The Gopher

Advanced
Jun 28, 2004
141
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This is a great way to attract exit financing. :blink: What the IAM, indeed all unions need to focus on is how the company can be made to be "investable". That is the ONLY way to provide long-term careers and job security to all of the represented staff.

If this strike does occur: http://www.monster.com
 

The Ronin

Senior
Sep 17, 2002
497
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Do they have $140k-$203k pilot jobs on there?
"Dammit Ronin will you just shut up...."
"I can't....it's those damn voices in my head...."
:up:
 

peasant

Member
Apr 14, 2004
50
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It is a UK union we are talking about - besides the job market in London is very strong, and most firms don't have seniority rules their either.

TGWU is a big, blanket union across many firms and industries. Rather than telling people to quit, they probably think it is worth fighting the pay cuts, in order to discourage other firms...

So the strikers have nothing to lose