Release #09.UAL5
June 10, 2009


United Pilots: Management’s Continued Outsourcing Plan ‘Unconscionable’

Chicago, Ill., October 8, 2009--United Airlines’ acknowledgement that it will continue pursuing an “innovative” arrangement with Aer Lingus despite both airlines laying off employees is an insult to employees on both sides of the Atlantic, according to the pilots of United Airlines.

Last January, United announced an agreement with Aer Lingus that it will operate flights between Washington, D.C. and Madrid using non-United pilots on the flights. The arrangement is simply a clever way of outsourcing flying to a foreign carrier, according to the pilots.

It has been announced that Aer Lingus plans on cutting a sixth of its workforce. United quickly replied that Aer Lingus’ cutbacks won’t affect its unprecedented outsourcing scheme in the Washington-to-Madrid arrangement with Aer Lingus.

“It is simply unconscionable to see how management can continue to stab the very people in the back who have made this airline fly,” said Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association. “With United’s plans to furlough nearly 1,500 pilots and siphon marketing money from its own operation to pour into this venture, it is inexcusable for this same management team to turn around and utilize non-United pilots to fly the Washington-to-Madrid route.

“United has made claims that it can’t operate this route themselves because they claim it isn’t profitable. Yet, they have refused to meet with the employees to see how United can make this route profitable. ALPA has made several attempts to work with United management to save pilot jobs and to prevent such ventures as the United/Aer Lingus arrangement. We have been rebuffed at every turn. United management obviously has no interest in keeping Washington/Madrid a United flight.”

Captain Wallach says United claims the arrangement with Aer Lingus will enhance revenue for the corporation, which in turn would provide a more secure future for the employees of the airline. Captain Wallach says such an attitude flies in the face of reality, considering the number of lost jobs that will result.

“It may be revenue-positive for the Corporation but it’s certainly not revenue positive for the pilots and other employees whose jobs will be outsourced,” said Captain Wallach.

The Air Line Pilots Association has launched a legislative campaign to ensure that U.S. airline workers are treated fairly in alliances between U.S. and foreign carriers. ALPA is seeking legislation that would guarantee that U.S. airlines do a reasonable share of the international flying conducted by the airlines that seek to engage in such revenue-sharing ventures as the UAL/Aer Lingus arrangement.

ALPA Contact:
Dave Kelly