June 8, 2011
United, Continental Pilots: Work Remains Before UAL/CAL Merger Considered a Success
Chicago, Ill., June 8, 2011 -- As shareholders of United Airlines gather today for the annual United Airlines shareholders meeting, it is incumbent upon United CEO Jeff Smisek and his management team to thoroughly explain the facts regarding the progress of the United/Continental merger. Much work remains to be completed before they can proclaim the merger a success, according to the pilots of United and Continental Airlines.
“’On schedule’ are two words Mr. Smisek should avoid in addressing the shareholders regarding this merger,” said Capt. Wendy Morse, chairman of the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association. “There is no bigger task in front of United management than reaching agreement with the pilots on a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement and this task is nowhere near on schedule. Until an agreement is reached, this merger cannot be considered anything close to a success.
“It’s unfathomable that, more than one year after the announcement of the UAL/CAL merger, the company has not reached agreement with its pilots on a JCBA. This stands in stark contrast to how Delta and Southwest managements have handled their respective mergers. United has moved rapidly with other aspects of the merger, such as fleet rationalization. For reasons known only to management, contract talks with the pilots have been at a snail’s pace. Without an agreement with the pilots, the company will never be able to achieve the full benefits of the merger.”
Added Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the Continental Master Executive Council of ALPA: “Management would like you to believe that the merger is on schedule and that the promise of a bigger airline with bigger benefits for shareholders and passengers alike will be fulfilled sooner rather than later. As pilots we are very familiar with the concept of ‘on-time arrival’ and would like to point out the fact that absent an agreement on a fair contract that reflects the critical role we play in the success of the airline, the synergies that management has touted will assuredly be delayed.
“We are here today to ensure that the interests of more than 12,000 United and Continental pilots are not lost in management’s rush to declare the merger a victory. There is a lot of hard work remaining to reach agreement on a fair contract that recognizes the role that pilots play in building our new airline and enabling it to reach its full potential. A bigger airline that lands in more places, without the support of its pilots, is simply a bigger problem that reaches into more corners of the world.”
The pilots remind shareholders that Mr. Smisek likes to use the phrase “Working Together.” To the pilots, the first step toward working together requires the company to deliver an industry-leading contract. Until that is achieved, according to the pilots, Mr. Smisek’s claim of “Working Together” is simply a hollow PR talking point.
|Dave Kelly||Amy Flanagan|
|United MEC||Continental MEC|