Broken Promises: Informational Picket Draws Massive Turnout at LAX

IAM141.org

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – A coalition of unions representing all unified workers at United Airlines held an informational picket on Wednesday at LAX Airport in Los Angeles. Rallygoers marched to bring attention to ongoing contract negotiations with the airline, which have been met with delays and bad faith bargaining, some of which have drug on for years. United Pilots, for example, are in the fourth year of negotiations with the carrier. 

The coalition, which includes the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Teamsters (IBT), and Flight Attendants of America (AFA), included Pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, customer service agents, and baggage handlers.

United has reneged on several commitments it made to its workforce. In the lead-up to negotiations, executives promised that it would not seek to outsource jobs and that it would offer strong wages compared to other airlines. Instead, the company is trying to force union members to accept outsourcing and plans to pay the lowest wages of any of the Big Three airlines. Executives want lower than promised pay for gate, ticket counter, and customer service workers, in particular. The new pay rates proposed by United would sit at levels below similar workgroups at smaller airlines and discount carriers such as Alaska and Southwest Airlines. 

Further straining labor relations at the company is the issue of profit sharing. 

United announced earlier this year that a rush of summer and holiday bookings led to two back-to-back quarters that were among the most lucrative in the airline’s history. Over the summer, United reported total earnings near $1 billion. The carrier brought in a net income of $942 million, with an adjusted profit of $927 million. “Operational Performance,” one of the indicators that help determine the productivity of front-line workers, were among the best in the history of the airline. Over the  holidays, United again generated higher-than-expected earnings, totaling more than $840 million.

 

ALPA President,  Garth Thompson

The performance of employees was the driving factor behind the profits. In the Fourth Quarter, the on-time performance came in at an enviable 80%, allowing United to boast the best on-time and completion rate of any network carrier at three major hubs (Chicago, Denver, and Houston.) Moreover, United employees created the lowest fourth-quarter misconnect rate in the airline’s history. All of which demonstrate the critical role of front-line workers at the carrier.

The profits have led United to increase spending for its “Good Leads the Way” marketing campaign, and order new planes, among many other programs. Executives have also opted to give themselves lavish salary increases. CEO Scott Kirby alone now has an estimated net worth of more than $32 million, according to the executive tracking site Wallmiime.com. Compared to front-line workers at United, Kirby will take home $126 for each dollar a typical worker earns.

Yet, executives suddenly become tight-fisted when sharing the record profits with the workforces that created them. Ground and Gate agents and dispatchers at United are getting an anemic .84% profit sharing this year. Despite the airline’s difficulty in hiring new pilots amid a nationwide shortage, pilots at United are only getting slightly more – 1.7%. (United has also denied pilots a new contract for four years.)

Informational pickets have become popular among union members, as they help raise awareness about their workplace concerns while also demonstrating solidarity. These pickets typically involve union members gathering outside of a company’s workplace or other public location, holding signs to be seen by passing pedestrians and motorists. 

 

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Broken Promises: Informational Picket Draws Crowds at LAX

January 25, 2023

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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – A coalition of unions representing all unified workers at United Airlines held an informational picket on Wednesday at LAX Airport in Los Angeles. Rallygoers marched to bring attention to ongoing contract negotiations with the airline, which have been met with delays and bad faith bargaining, some of which have drug on for years. United Pilots, for example, are in the fourth year of negotiations with the carrier. 

The coalition, which includes the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Teamsters (IBT), and Flight Attendants of America (AFA), included Pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, customer service agents, and baggage handlers.

United has reneged on several commitments it made to its workforce. In the lead-up to negotiations, executives promised that it would not seek to outsource jobs and that it would offer strong wages compared to other airlines. Instead, the company is trying to force union members to accept outsourcing and plans to pay the lowest wages of any of the Big Three airlines. Executives want lower than promised pay for gate, ticket counter, and customer service workers, in particular. The new pay rates proposed by United would sit at levels below similar workgroups at smaller airlines and discount carriers such as Alaska and Southwest Airlines. 

Further straining labor relations at the company is the issue of profit sharing. 

United announced earlier this year that a rush of summer and holiday bookings led to two back-to-back quarters that were among the most lucrative in the airline’s history. Over the summer, United reported total earnings near $1 billion. The carrier brought in a net income of $942 million, with an adjusted profit of $927 million. “Operational Performance,” one of the indicators that help determine the productivity of front-line workers, were among the best in the history of the airline. Over the  holidays, United again generated higher-than-expected earnings, totaling more than $840 million.

The performance of employees was the driving factor behind the profits. In the Fourth Quarter, the on-time performance came in at an enviable 80%, allowing United to boast the best on-time and completion rate of any network carrier at three major hubs (Chicago, Denver, and Houston.) Moreover, United employees created the lowest fourth-quarter misconnect rate in the airline’s history. All of which demonstrate the critical role of front-line workers at the carrier.

The profits have led United to increase spending for its “Good Leads the Way” marketing campaign, and order new planes, among many other programs. Executives have also opted to give themselves lavish salary increases. CEO Scott Kirby alone now has an estimated net worth of more than $32 million, according to the executive tracking site Wallmiime.com. Compared to front-line workers at United, Kirby will take home $126 for each dollar a typical worker earns.

Yet, executives suddenly become tight-fisted when sharing the record profits with the workforces that created them. Ground and Gate agents and dispatchers at United are getting an anemic .84% profit sharing this year. Despite the airline’s difficulty in hiring new pilots amid a nationwide shortage, pilots at United are only getting slightly more – 1.7%. (United has also denied pilots a new contract for four years.)

Informational pickets have become popular among union members, as they help raise awareness about their workplace concerns while also demonstrating solidarity. These pickets typically involve union members gathering outside of a company’s workplace or other public location, holding signs to be seen by passing pedestrians and motorists. 

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