by Heather Cassell
United Airlines is about to experience turbulence yet again with a system-wide Day of Action on July 16th.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) has called for the Day of Action in support of negotiations for a fair contract as the major United States airline company reports record profits this Thursday.
The airline has failed to reach a unified labor contract with its 24,000 flight attendants or complete its merger with Continental, which have been happening simultaneously since 2010, reports eTurbo News. Union contracts were supposed to be completed by the end of 2011.
Yet, United Airlines posted record profits for 2015 and is projected to be $5 billion or more in each year from this year to 2017. This year’s profits are more than five times higher than in 2013.
“We’re calling Flight Attendants across the industry to join us,” says Sara Nelson, international president of the AFA. “Raising the standards at United will benefit Flight Attendants at American, Delta, and every other airline. Flight Attendants are united and marching together in support of their negotiating committee. It’s our turn and it’s past time.”
On July 8, United flights were grounded for two hours due to a computer glitch. The technical issue stranding thousands of passengers and images of lines of travelers that poured out onto the terminal sidewalks at airports across the U.S.
Picketing times will vary by airport.
Sara points to suffering of crew members and passengers due to the incomplete merger as one of the union’s reasons to demonstrate.
“While passengers and crew members alike are suffering from this incomplete merger, we will march for a fair contract and call on United management to fix this mess of an incomplete merger,” says Sara. “Flight Attendant sacrifices and hard work made this merger possible.”
United has a $7 billion cash on its balance sheet. Stockholders have reaped the benefits as the airlines stock price has leapt 162% since merger negotiations began. United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek has received a 32% raise and other stock holders and top executives are benefiting well too.
“It’s time United management complete the merger and return United to its premier status in the world,” says Sara. “That starts with our contract. It’s time we share in the profits we help create.”
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