More Than 200 United Pilots Conduct Info Picketing at UAL Shareholders Meeting in Chicago
May 11, 2007 - More than 200 pilots on Thursday told United CEO Glenn Tilton, shareholders and the board of directors that a fairness and equity problem is permeating the upper ranks of the airline's management. Carrying signs and placards proclaiming, "Fix It Now!" and "UAL CEO: $40 Million. Labor $0. This is Sharing?," pilots and other employees reminded management that the time has come for it to recognize and respect labor's sacrifices and contributions made during the airline's darkest economic days.
During informational picketing at the UAL Shareholders Meeting at The Field Museum in downtown Chicago, United pilots and other employee groups demanded that management share the new-found rewards that many in the upper echelon of United have enjoyed since the airline emerged from bankruptcy more than a year ago.
"We want to tell management that we want to share in the success of this corporation," said First Officer Jerry Leber, chairman of the Council 12 Strike Preparedness Committee and organizer of Thursday's picketing event. "We are sending the message to this management team, our board of directors, and the institutional investors that we want our airline to be run properly. With all the money that management is receiving, it should be running this airline properly."
Upon United's exit from bankruptcy, management missed a golden opportunity to recognize the contributions of the pilots and other employees in saving the airline from liquidation. Instead, management rewarded its own members with millions of dollars worth of stock options and bonuses. "Greed got in the way of logical thought," said Capt. Herb Hunter, United MEC spokesman. "This management team passed up a golden opportunity to step up and reward the employees. No other management team has taken more equity out of bankruptcy than our management team.
"Since Sept. 11, 2001, when our airline's downward spiral began, we've been working together, including 39 months of bankruptcy, giving and giving, stepping up and doing our jobs just like the other employee groups, under the mantra of 'shared sacrifice.' Somewhere along the line, management decided that shared sacrifice should not turn into shared rewards."