Union Members at O’Hare Walk Out on Kirby; Sick and Tired of the Same Old Lip Service

Union Members at O’Hare Walk Out on Kirby; Sick and Tired of the Same Old Lip Service

Union Members at O’Hare Walk Out on Kirby; Sick and Tired of the Same Old Lip Service

7 May 2024

United Airlines is no longer the airline it was under Oscar Muñoz. From 2015 to 2020, this company respected its employees, and, in return, those workers gave the airline the best years in its history.

Recently, United management has been eliminating Customer Service Centers and developing metrics that force our members to meet unreasonable demands. This practice has resulted in poor customer service for our passengers, including mis-boards, as well as increases in damages and on-the-job injuries.

Moreover, company management is demanding that Reservations Agents maintain scorecards of 97% or higher or face unfair discipline. Now, top management has launched an outright assault on Protected Work related to the movement of jet bridges by Passenger Service Employees.

Our Union Membership has had enough. 

Last week, United CEO Scott Kirby walked into a Customer Service Breakroom in Chicago to meet with front-line union members. He had hoped to pose for selfies and chat about how much United values its workers. Instead, all but two employees walked out on him.

Under Article 2 A 1 of the Passenger Service contract, the movement of jet bridges is protected as core work. Despite the clarity of the contractual language, United is insisting that it has the right to move that work to other groups.

In response,  last week, we also concluded a two-day arbitration case to let United management know we are protecting the work of IAM-represented Customer Service Representatives.

The company claims it can assign anyone to do any work covered under the airline’s seven different contracts. Management’s flawed logic would mean that a Customer Service Representative could be told to walk down the jet bridge, position a belt loader to an aircraft, and offload the aircraft. If that sounds like nonsense, that’s because it IS nonsense.

It’s also a sign of absolute disrespect to every IAM member covered under any IAM collective bargaining agreement at United Airlines. Even more maddening, Article 2 A 1 of the Fleet Service contract explicitly states that the movement of a jet bridge is NOT Fleet Service work.

This grievance is in no way an attempt to take work away from our Move Team sisters and brothers. In fact, it’s just the opposite: the goal is to help the Move Team do their job more efficiently by holding the Company accountable for assigning a Customer Service Representative to each aircraft brought to the terminal from another area.

A final decision from this arbitration hearing will take some time to arrive. Both sides are allotted around 30 days to write their post-hearing briefs. Once his process is complete, the Arbitrator will render a decision based on all the evidence and witness testimony.

We expect the decision to be handed down in July.  When we do, we will immediately report back to the membership.

Mike Klemm,
PDGC, District 141,
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
LGR

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin Boards.

United Negotiations Update

United Negotiations Update

United Contract Negotiations Update

23 April 2024

Dear Machinists Union Sisters and Brothers at United Airlines,

As President and Directing General Chair of IAM District Lodge 141, I want to thank you for your participation in our recent pre-negotiation surveys. Your insights are crucial as we begin preparations for the upcoming contract talks with the airline. These negotiations will impact  29,000 union members across Fleet Service, Passenger Service, Storekeepers, Maintenance Instructors, Security Officers, Central Load Planners, and Fleet Technical Instructors roles.

In fact, this was the highest level of contract survey participation in the history of IAM District Lodge 141.

Some of the top priorities are reducing the steps of pay progressions, real, enforceable job preferencing, improved pension and 401k contributions, general work scheduling, quality of life improvements, and for-profit sharing to be in line with other work groups at United Airlines.

While these are some of the top member priorities, your negotiating committee plans to work on all areas of our contracts so that IAM members’ value to United Airlines is recognized and realized. 

In our last communication, we expressed that we believe we can reach the industry-best contracts we deserve by the end of the calendar year. However, that will only be possible IF United Airlines management is serious about treating us with the respect we deserve. United management talks a good game about having the best employees in the airline industry and United being the premier global airline. Now, the time has arrived for United management to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Unfortunately, United management has informed us that they will not be available to meet with your negotiating committee until May 21st. That meeting will discuss protocol, scheduling, and the logistics of negotiations. Though this delay is not ideal, we will use this extra time to refine our strategy and strengthen our position.

Thank you again for your engagement. Remember, our strength is our unity.

In Solidarity,

 

Your Negotiating Committee
Olu Ajetomobi
Joe Bartz
Jill Hazamy
Victor Hernandez
Barb Martin
Terry Stansbury
Faysal Silwany
Erik Stenberg
Sue Weisner

Michael G Klemm
President and Directing General Chair, 
District 141,
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin Boards.

United Negotiations Update

Machinist Union Members at United Begin Preparations for New Contract Talks

Machinist Union Members at United Begin Preparations for New Contract Talks

Machinist Union Members at United Begin Preparations for New Contract Talks

IAM141.org

Union members at United Airlines, including nearly 29,000 workers over seven different workgroups, are preparing to start contract negotiations as soon as this summer, according to an announcement made on Friday by the Union’s District President, Mike Klemm.

According to Klemm, the seven agreements between the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and United Airlines will become eligible for updates on May 1. Thanks to an early start provision in the 2023 agreements, this will be the second round of contract talks between the union and the carrier in as many years.

In 2023, the Machinists Union negotiated industry-leading wages and job protections, with thousands of union members earning more than $37 an hour. They also extended critical job protections for hundreds of employees at airports where United had a smaller footprint, who might have otherwise faced the possibility of being outsourced. The 2023 agreements also insourced several stations, including Miami and Colorado Springs.

In 2023, the Airline committed to “Expedited Negotations,” which would have focused on only the top concerns of union members. The hope was that the talks would bring meaningful job improvements to covered workers quickly, within a few months. However, the Airline proved unable to fulfill that commitment, and talks stalled.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the governing body that oversees labor relations in transportation industries, including airlines, the failure of United to quickly seal a deal with the union meant that the two parties would enter into “Section 6” negotiations instead. Section 6 Negotiations, named after Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act, will require the parties to litigate every aspect of the collective bargaining agreements and are likely to take as long as a year or more to negotiate.

President Klemm warned that the track record of United Airlines’ inability to swiftly cement collective Bargaining Agreements might result in delays in the new round of negotiations.

“It’s essential to recognize the changing dynamics at United Airlines,” he said in a written statement to union members. “This is not the same airline as it was from 2015 through 2020.”

“Our goal remains to secure an industry-leading contract for our membership by the end of this year. Nevertheless, we’re prepared for all possibilities, including the chance that negotiations may be unnecessarily delayed due to United’s strategic use of the laws that govern labor relations in the airline industry,” he continued.

Before the negotiations begin, Klemm said that union negotiators will canvas front-line union members for input.

“The feedback we get from these surveys will be vital to your Negotiating Committee as we prepare to begin talks with United Airlines,” he said, adding that high levels of participation will strengthen the union’s hand at the bargaining table.

“By participating, you’re not just sharing your views; you’re actively contributing to the strength and direction of our negotiations,” Klemm said.

 

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Machinist Union Members at United Begin Preparations for New Contract Talks

15 March 2024

Union members at United Airlines, including nearly 29,000 workers over seven different workgroups, are preparing to start contract negotiations as soon as this summer, according to an announcement made on Friday by the Union’s District President, Mike Klemm.

According to Klemm, the seven agreements between the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and United Airlines will become eligible for updates on May 1. Thanks to an early start provision in the 2023 agreements, this will be the second round of contract talks between the union and the carrier in as many years.

In 2023, the Machinists Union negotiated industry-leading wages and job protections, with thousands of union members earning more than $37 an hour. They also extended critical job protections for hundreds of employees at airports where United had a smaller footprint, who might have otherwise faced the possibility of being outsourced. The 2023 agreements also insourced several stations, including Miami and Colorado Springs.

In 2023, the Airline committed to “Expedited Negotations,” which would have focused on only the top concerns of union members. The hope was that the talks would bring meaningful job improvements to covered workers quickly, within a few months. However, the Airline proved unable to fulfill that commitment, and talks stalled.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the governing body that oversees labor relations in transportation industries, including airlines, the failure of United to quickly seal a deal with the union meant that the two parties would enter into “Section 6” negotiations instead. Section 6 Negotiations, named after Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act, will require the parties to litigate every aspect of the collective bargaining agreements and are likely to take as long as a year or more to negotiate.

President Klemm warned that the track record of United Airlines’ inability to swiftly cement collective Bargaining Agreements might result in delays in the new round of negotiations.

“It’s essential to recognize the changing dynamics at United Airlines,” he said in a written statement to union members. “This is not the same airline as it was from 2015 through 2020.”

“Our goal remains to secure an industry-leading contract for our membership by the end of this year. Nevertheless, we’re prepared for all possibilities, including the chance that negotiations may be unnecessarily delayed due to United’s strategic use of the laws that govern labor relations in the airline industry,” he continued.

Before the negotiations begin, Klemm said that union negotiators will canvas front-line union members for input.

“The feedback we get from these surveys will be vital to your Negotiating Committee as we prepare to begin talks with United Airlines,” he said, adding that high levels of participation will strengthen the union’s hand at the bargaining table.

“By participating, you’re not just sharing your views; you’re actively contributing to the strength and direction of our negotiations,” Klemm said.

 

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United Invests $32 Million into IAH Stores Expansion

United Invests $32 Million into IAH Stores Expansion

$32 Million into IAH Stores Expansion

United Invests $32 Million into IAH Stores Expansion

IAM141.org

HOUSTON / IAH: United Airlines is planning to expand its Stores operation in Houston, which, when completed, will be the largest Stores facility at the airline. The deal was approved at a City Council meeting on January 11.

Herve Lavenant, United’s Managing Director for Logistic Services, said that the new distribution center is integral to the airline’s growth strategy. The deal includes a commitment of $32.6 million for property upgrades, $5.4 million for enhancements in personal property, and the creation of job opportunities in the surrounding area.

The plan would see United acquire a massive 500,000-square-foot, 41-acre facility that will handle warehousing and stores operations at Bush Intercontinental Airport and 100 new flights systemwide. According to Stores Committeeman Satchel Thorpe, the airline currently employs about 300 Storekeepers at IAH. The expansion will require an additional 150 employees, bringing the total number of Storekeepers at IAH to 400.

This center, which United is calling a “Global Distribution Hub,” will play a critical role in managing inventory and providing resources for pilots and terminal operations globally.

United has said wages at the facility will average $64,000 a year, which amounts to roughly $30 an hour.

The move comes as the airline is announcing plans to add 40 new domestic flights at IAH, including the resumption of nonstop service between Houston and Ontario and a new service to Fairbanks, Alaska. In total, United is planning to add more than 100 new flights to destinations in the United States and Canada. The Canadian routes will include cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Halifax. The new routes will be added to various stations across the United network. Over the summer, United expects to have more US-Canada routes than any other US-based carrier.

In a press release, United Senior Vice President Patrick Quayle said that the idea was to streamline the travel process in a way that would allow passengers to stay on United flights and not make multiple connections with airline partners like Air Canada. Service to locations such as Tampa. Miami, Boston, and Charleston are also planned. United’s presence in the Canadian market has grown by 70% since Air Canada’s partnership expanded in 2022.

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United Invests $32 Million into IAH Stores Expansion

30 January 2024

HOUSTON / IAH: United Airlines is planning to expand its Stores operation in Houston, which, when completed, will be the largest Stores facility at the airline. The deal was approved at a City Council meeting on January 11.

Herve Lavenant, United’s Managing Director for Logistic Services, said that the new distribution center is integral to the airline’s growth strategy. The deal includes a commitment of $32.6 million for property upgrades, $5.4 million for enhancements in personal property, and the creation of job opportunities in the surrounding area.

The plan would see United acquire a massive 500,000-square-foot, 41-acre facility that will handle warehousing and stores operations at Bush Intercontinental Airport and 100 new flights systemwide. According to Stores Committeeman Satchel Thorpe, the airline currently employs about 300 Storekeepers at IAH. The expansion will require an additional 150 employees, bringing the total number of Storekeepers at IAH to 400.

This center, which United is calling a “Global Distribution Hub,” will play a critical role in managing inventory and providing resources for pilots and terminal operations globally.

United has said wages at the facility will average $64,000 a year, which amounts to roughly $30 an hour.

The move comes as the airline is announcing plans to add 40 new domestic flights at IAH, including the resumption of nonstop service between Houston and Ontario and a new service to Fairbanks, Alaska. In total, United is planning to add more than 100 new flights to destinations in the United States and Canada. The Canadian routes will include cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Halifax. The new routes will be added to various stations across the United network. Over the summer, United expects to have more US-Canada routes than any other US-based carrier.

In a press release, United Senior Vice President Patrick Quayle said that the idea was to streamline the travel process in a way that would allow passengers to stay on United flights and not make multiple connections with airline partners like Air Canada. Service to locations such as Tampa. Miami, Boston, and Charleston are also planned. United’s presence in the Canadian market has grown by 70% since Air Canada’s partnership expanded in 2022.

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Air Rage: Congressman Crenshaw Loses it Over Pet Carrier

Air Rage: Congressman Crenshaw Loses it Over Pet Carrier

Air Rage: Congressman Crenshaw Loses it Over Pet Carrier

Air Rage: Congressman Crenshaw Loses it Over Pet Carrier

IAM141.org

Tara Blake, the wife of Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), has gone viral for a video in which she appears to physically assault a ticket Counter Agent working at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Ironically, the video of the attack went viral after being shared by her husband, Congressman Dan Crenshaw himself. As of Wednesday afternoon, Crenshaw’s video of his wife attacking the Ticket Agent had been viewed more than 4 million times. Surveillance footage shows an unidentified United Ticket Counter Agent, possibly a supervisor, trying to pull a yellow notice, called a “Pet Travel Policy Tag,” from a dog carrier as Blake and her mother attempted to check two dogs at the IAH Ticket Counter.

The dogs, a pair of mixed breeds named “Joey,” and “Luna,” whom Crenshaw identifies as rescue dogs, were stuffed into small soft-sided carriers that would not have permitted the animals to stand or turn around during the flight.

It is unclear how many dogs were actually involved. In the beginning of the post, Crenshaw claims there were “a pair of small dogs,” involved. Later in the post he stops referring to two dogs, and only mentions one, named “Joey.”

To prevent animal cruelty, United Airlines does not allow pets that cannot comfortably fit beneath a passenger seat. According to United Policy, a pet carrier must slide easily under the seat, and the pet must be able to stand up and turn around without being removed from its crate or bag.

The Ticket Counter Agent had no choice but to uphold company policy and follow laws related to animal cruelty.

While Crenshaw’s dog, Joey, is a smaller breed, it is still too large to fit under the seat on a commercial airline. Photos of Joey that Crenshaw has posted online make this clear.

The entire available space for a dog is only 18 inches deep, by 14 inches by 8 inches. This space must accommodate not just the animal  -but also its crate.

In the post, Crenshaw claims to have shoved this dog underneath airplane seats, in violation of policies designed to prevent animal abuse, more than 500 times. 

Texas Penal Code 42.092, Titled “Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals,” defines “Cruelty” as any act that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering to an animal.” The statute also defines “Torture,” as “any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering,” to an animal.

There is a very real possibility that a jury would decide that forcing the dog to squat under an airplane seat for a three or four-hour flight from Washinton’s Regan International Airport to Bush without being able to stand or turn around would be an example of cruelty or even torture under Texas law. 

Moreover, Tara Blake claimed one dog was a service animal for her husband, who was injured in combat during the Iraq War. 

In Texas, attacks on service animals constitute a separate offense. Under Federal Law (75 FR 56266), a service animal is defined as “any dog that has been specifically taught to carry out duties or complete tasks for the benefit of a person who is disabled, whether they have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental impairment.”

A person has committed an offense if that person is found to have “carelessly, deliberately, or knowingly attacked, hurt, or murdered an assistance animal.” A jury would likely conclude that forcing a dog the size of Joey or Luna into a confined space, such as the area beneath an airplane seat, would constitute a violation of Texas Law protecting service animals from abuse, since it would certainly cause the dog severe pain.

Additionally, falsely claiming a pet is a service animal constitutes another offense under Texas Law. As of September 1, 2023, anyone found to have falsely represented a pet as a service animal without having undergone special straining can be fined up to $1000 and 30 hours of community service. House Bill 4164 defines a service animal as a “canine that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability.” 

In the post, Crenshaw claims that his wife and her mother took the dog onto a Southwest flight because, he says, Southwest employees are “nice people.”

Southwest Airlines has pet-travel policies that are almost identical to those of United. Southwest, like United, requires that any animal carried onto any of its flights has to remain in a crate or bag, and the pet carrier must easily fit beneath the seat on the flight. Southwest also has policies in place that are designed to comply with Texas Law and prevent animal abuse. 

 

In the 8-minute rant that included homophobic insults and racist insinuations, Crenshaw repeatedly accused a United Ticket Counter Agent at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport of going on a “crazed, unhinged” attack that forced Crenshaw’s wife to move to protect the couple’s, two-month-old baby. Then, according to Crenshaw, the “Unhinged United Agent” began “ripping things off” the dog carrier, and his wife was again forced to step in to stop the attack. The whole incident was captured on security cameras, which Congressman Crenshaw posted to his Twitter account. 

The videos, produced by the City of Houston’s Airport System, completely contradict Crenshaw’s accusations. 

Despite the Agent’s calm demeanor, Crenshaw’s wife is seen snatching violently at the Ticket Counter Agent, refusing to let her remove the Pet Policy Tag. A few seconds later, Tara Blake did not attack the Agent the second time she attempted to remove the bright yellow tag.

According to Crenshaw, the Agent was attempting to “Violently Assault” the dog. At the same time, earlier in the video, he claimed she was trying to photograph the dog to add Blake (Crenshaw’s wife) to a “Do Not Fly” Registry. He did not elaborate on why his wife’s behavior warranted her addition to a do not fly list. “They wanted to take my dog out of the bag, and photograph him and report my wife so they could never fly again,” he said in the video.

United Airlines Ticket Counter Agents do not have the authority to add a passenger to the National “Do Not Fly” registry. Such a move would usually be done in conjunction with security teams in a process that would involve airline management. A single Agent could only add a person to the Do Not Fly Registry with oversight. 

Crenshaw then launches a profanity-laced tirade against the Agent’s supervisor, Vice President Phillip Griffith. (At the beginning of the post, the Congressman suggests that United Airlines hires minorities as part of “DEI” or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies. Vice President Griffith is black.)

He then provides a play-by-play account of the video that is diametrically opposite to what the video actually shows. The video shows “Angela,” the ticket counter agent, calmly reaching for the bag as Crenshaw narrates that she is violently “assaulting” his dog. As his wife is shown lunging towards the Agent, Crenshaw describes her as peaceful and calm. 

After the “assault” on his dog, Tara Blake then shoves her baby carriage about 15 feet away and storms out of the frame. The Agent is seen calmly walking away to help other passengers. 

“At this point,” Crenshaw narrates, “I’m feeling pretty happy because the video shows exactly what my wife said it would show,” even though the video shows that none of his wife’s statements were accurate in any way.

Beginning at 4:45 in the video, the Agent appears to be walking from a ticket printer and approaches the bag before Mrs. Crenshaw snatches at the Agent’s hand. At 4:54, the Agent returns to the dog bag and seems to resume whatever she was doing in the first place. 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Crenshaw then recounts the position of United Airlines’ Phillip Griffith, who informs him that his wife was “handsy” and “agitated,” right from the very start. He also indicates at several points in the audio recording that Crenshaw secretly made of his conversation that the Crenshaws are well-known to be difficult passengers. “I deal with people like you every day,” Griffith tells the Congressman. “I deal with people like your wife every single day,” he said. 

Crenshaw then tells viewers that he frequently swears at airport agents and that he thinks such behavior is expected. “We’ve all been in that situation,” he says, “You know how you’re not allowed to curse around airline agents?” he asks. “When a bad thing happens to your travel… and, ‘F-Bomb… and they’re like ‘We can’t work with you anymore! You’re out of here!” He then accuses Ticket and Gate Agents subjected to passenger abuse of having their “delicate sensibilities” offended.

For his part, Phillip Griffith was shown defending the Agent and told Crenshaw to “shut up with that,” as the Congressman began to use profanity directed at him. Being told not to swear triggered the Congressman, who could then be heard breaking out into exaggerated, histrionic laughter in response.

Dan Crenshaw, known for his trademark eyepatch, represents North Houston in the United States Congress. A relatively new member of Congress, having been first elected in 2019, Crenshaw has come under fire from Republican voters for his efforts to distance himself from former President Donald Trump. Frequently called a “Never Trumper,” the 4.4K comments his post collected focused as much on his immigration stance and tacit support of Joe Biden as they did on criticisms of United Airlines or the Ticket Counter Agent. 

“Let’s be clear, Dan Crenshaw is a RINO and should not be in Congress representing the Republican Party,” said one response to his post. That comment garnered 2.8k loves. 

“Also, Dan… that same contempt Phillip and those United employees have for you and yours seems like the same contempt you have for Trump and his supporters…” Read another. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the post had been viewed more than 4 million times. 

Tara Blake is an American legal expert who specializes in medical and healthcare litigation. She has a reported net worth of $700,000. According to Open Secrets.com, the Crenshaw household is worth an estimated $2.5 million.

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Air Rage: Congressman Crenshaw Loses it Over Pet Carrier

24 January 2024

Tara Blake, the wife of Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), has gone viral for a video in which she appears to physically assault a ticket Counter Agent working at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Ironically, the video of the attack went viral after being shared by her husband, Congressman Dan Crenshaw himself. As of Wednesday afternoon, Crenshaw’s video of his wife attacking the Ticket Agent had been viewed more than 4 million times.

Surveillance footage shows an unidentified United Ticket Counter Agent, possibly a supervisor, trying to pull a yellow notice, called a “Pet Travel Policy Tag,” from a dog carrier as Blake and her mother attempted to check two dogs at the IAH Ticket Counter.

The dogs, a pair of mixed breeds named “Joey,” and “Luna,” whom Crenshaw identifies as rescue dogs, were stuffed into small soft-sided carriers that would not have permitted the animals to stand or turn around during the flight.

It is unclear how many dogs were actually involved. In the beginning of the post, Crenshaw claims there were “a pair of small dogs,” involved. Later in the post he stops referring to two dogs, and only mentions one, a mixed-breed dog named “Joey.”

To prevent animal cruelty, United Airlines does not allow pets that cannot comfortably fit beneath a passenger seat. According to United Policy, a pet carrier must slide easily under the seat, and the pet must be able to stand up and turn around without being removed from its crate or bag.

The Ticket Counter Agent had no choice but to uphold company policy and follow laws related to animal cruelty. 

 

While Crenshaw’s dog, Joey, is a smaller breed, it is still too large to fit under the seat on a commercial airline. Photos of Joey that Crenshaw has posted online make this clear.

The entire available space for a dog is only 18 inches deep, by 14 inches by 8 inches. This space must accommodate not just the animal  -but also its crate.

 

In the post, Crenshaw claims to have shoved this dog underneath airplane seats, in violation of policies designed to prevent animal abuse, more than 500 times. 

Texas Penal Code 42.092, Titled “Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals,” defines “Cruelty” as “any act that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering to an animal.” The statute also defines “Torture,” as “any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering,” to an animal.

There is a very real possibility that a jury would decide that forcing the dog to squat under an airplane seat for a three or four-hour flight from Washinton’s Regan International Airport to Bush without being able to stand or turn around would be an example of cruelty or even torture under Texas law. 

Moreover, Tara Blake claimed one dog was a service animal for her husband, who was injured in combat during the Iraq War. 

In Texas, attacks on service animals constitute a separate offense. Under Federal Law (75 FR 56266), a service animal is defined as “any dog that has been specifically taught to carry out duties or complete tasks for the benefit of a person who is disabled, whether they have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental impairment.”

A person has committed an offense if that person is found to have “carelessly, deliberately, or knowingly attacked, hurt, or murdered an assistance animal.” A jury would likely conclude that forcing a dog as big as Joey or Luna into a confined space, such as the area beneath an airplane seat, would constitute a violation of Texas Law protecting service animals from abuse since doing so would certainly cause the dog to feel severe pain.

Additionally, falsely claiming a pet is a service animal constitutes another offense under Texas Law. As of September 1, 2023, anyone found to have falsely represented a pet as a service animal without having undergone special straining can be fined up to $1000 and 30 hours of community service. House Bill 4164 defines a service animal as a “canine that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability.” 

In the post, Crenshaw claims that his wife and her mother took the dog onto a Southwest flight because, he says, Southwest employees are “nice people.”

Southwest Airlines has pet-travel policies that are almost identical to those of United. Southwest, like United, requires that any animal carried onto any of its flights has to remain in a crate or bag, and the pet carrier must easily fit beneath the seat on the flight. Southwest also has policies in place that are designed to comply with Texas Law and prevent animal abuse. 

 

In the 8-minute rant that included homophobic insults and racist insinuations, Crenshaw repeatedly accused a United Ticket Counter Agent at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport of going on a “crazed, unhinged” attack that forced Crenshaw’s wife to move to protect the couple’s, two-month-old baby. Then, according to Crenshaw, the “Unhinged United Agent” began “ripping things off” the dog carrier, and his wife was again forced to step in to stop the attack. The whole incident was captured on security cameras, which Congressman Crenshaw posted to his Twitter account. 

The videos, produced by the City of Houston’s Airport System, completely contradict Crenshaw’s accusations. 

Despite the Agent’s calm demeanor, Crenshaw’s wife is seen snatching violently at the Ticket Counter Agent, refusing to let her remove the Pet Policy Tag. A few seconds later, Tara Blake did not attack the Agent the second time she attempted to remove the bright yellow tag.

According to Crenshaw, the Agent was attempting to “Violently Assault” the dog. At the same time, earlier in the video, he claimed she was trying to photograph the dog to add Blake (Crenshaw’s wife) to a “Do Not Fly” Registry. He did not elaborate on why his wife’s behavior warranted her addition to a do not fly list. “They wanted to take my dog out of the bag, and photograph him and report my wife so they could never fly again,” he said in the video.

United Airlines Ticket Counter Agents do not have the authority to add a passenger to the National “Do Not Fly” registry. Such a move would usually be done in conjunction with security teams in a process that would involve airline management. A single Agent could only add a person to the Do Not Fly Registry with oversight. 

Crenshaw then launches a profanity-laced tirade against the Agent’s supervisor, Vice President Phillip Griffith. (At the beginning of the post, the Congressman suggests that United Airlines hires minorities as part of “DEI” or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies. Vice President Griffith is black.)

He then provides a play-by-play account of the video that is diametrically opposite to what the video actually shows. The video shows “Angela,” the ticket counter agent, calmly reaching for the bag as Crenshaw narrates that she is violently “assaulting” his dog. As his wife is shown lunging towards the Agent, Crenshaw describes her as peaceful and calm. 

After the “assault” on his dog, Tara Blake then shoves her baby carriage about 15 feet away and storms out of the frame. The Agent is seen calmly walking away to help other passengers. 

“At this point,” Crenshaw narrates, “I’m feeling pretty happy because the video shows exactly what my wife said it would show,” even though the video shows that none of his wife’s statements were accurate in any way.

Beginning at 4:45 in the video, the Agent appears to be walking from a ticket printer and approaches the bag before Mrs. Crenshaw snatches at the Agent’s hand. At 4:54, the Agent returns to the dog bag and seems to resume whatever she was doing in the first place. 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Crenshaw then recounts the position of United Airlines’ Phillip Griffith, who informs him that his wife was “handsy” and “agitated,” right from the very start. He also indicates at several points in the audio recording that Crenshaw secretly made of his conversation that the Crenshaws are well-known to be difficult passengers. “I deal with people like you every day,” Griffith tells the Congressman. “I deal with people like your wife every single day,” he said. 

Crenshaw then tells viewers that he frequently swears at airport agents and that he thinks such behavior is expected. “We’ve all been in that situation,” he says, “You know how you’re not allowed to curse around airline agents?” he asks. “When a bad thing happens to your travel… and, ‘F-Bomb… and they’re like ‘We can’t work with you anymore! You’re out of here!” He then accuses Ticket and Gate Agents subjected to passenger abuse of having their “delicate sensibilities” offended.

For his part, Phillipe Griffith was shown defending the Agent and told Crenshaw to “shut up with that,” as the Congressman began to use profanity directed at him. Being told not to swear triggered the Congressman, who could then be heard breaking out into exaggerated, histrionic laughter in response.

Dan Crenshaw, known for his trademark eyepatch, represents North Houston in the United States Congress. A relatively new member of Congress, having been first elected in 2019, Crenshaw has come under fire from Republican voters for his efforts to distance himself from former President Donald Trump. Frequently called a “Never Trumper,” the 4.4K comments his post collected focused as much on his immigration stance and tacit support of Joe Biden as they did on criticisms of United Airlines or the Ticket Counter Agent. 

“Let’s be clear, Dan Crenshaw is a RINO and should not be in Congress representing the Republican Party,” said one response to his post. That comment garnered 2.8k loves. 

“Also, Dan… that same contempt Phillip and those United employees have for you and yours seems like the same contempt you have for Trump and his supporters…” Read another. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the post had been viewed more than 4 million times. 

Tara Blake is an American legal expert who specializes in medical and healthcare litigation. She has a reported net worth of $700,000. According to Open Secrets.com, the Crenshaw household is worth an estimated $2.5 million.

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IAM141.org

Nathan Lopp

Vice President, Labor Relations

United | Corporate Support Center | 233 S. Wacker Drive WHQLR 25th Floor | Chicago, IL  60606

Dear Mr. Lopp,

Just over one year ago, the United Airlines Labor Coalition raised its concern over United’s codeshare agreement with Emirates Airlines, based partly on accounts of unfair labor practices and employee intimidation in the United Arab Emirates.  Today, we raise our concern over employee treatment much closer to home.

Labor relations at United Airlines have deteriorated to the point that lacking labor standards halfway around the world now seem suited to describe the current situation at our own airline.  At the forefront is a draconian and one-sided approach to employee investigations and discipline.  Human Resources is now involved in the smallest and simplest infractions, resulting in consequences orders of magnitude worse than the deed.  Most grievance cases are denied and sent up to the next level with little discretion given to local managers who best know their workforce and issues.

United Airlines filed a supplement to its application for a Haneda slot, which was surrendered by Delta Airlines.  In this long and detailed document, United outlines the reasons it should be awarded authority to fly to Haneda from Houston.  The Labor Coalition finds it instructive that nowhere in this exhaustive brief is mention of a single benefit to United’s labor force, should United be awarded this coveted slot.  In fact, the point is made that IAH-Haneda flights would not be additive, but rather a replacement for existing IAH-Narita service.

Recently, the leaders of United’s unionized employees were asked to submit letters to the Department of Transportation in support of United Airlines’ application for Houston-Haneda authorization.  Such collaboration stems from relationships centered on mutual respect and fair treatment.  Sadly, we believe the current labor/management relationship falls far short of this standard.  For the sake of the employees we represent, we sincerely hope for an improved climate, where cooperation and collaboration can exist and thrive.  Such a climate does not exist today, and as a result, the United Airlines Union Coalition agrees it is inappropriate to support United’s application for Houston-Haneda service.

Respectfully,

Ken Diaz

Mike Klemm

Garth Thompson

Craig Symons

Joe Ferreira

MEC President

President

Master Chair

President

Dir. Airline Div.

AFA-UAL

IAM-UAL

ALPA-UAL

PAFCA-UAL

IBT-UAL

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Stay up to date with all the latest news and information from the District 141 of the Machinists Union

Important Letter from the United Labor Coalition

17 November 2023

Nathan Lopp

Vice President, Labor Relations

United | Corporate Support Center | 233 S. Wacker Drive WHQLR 25th Floor | Chicago, IL  60606

Dear Mr. Lopp,

Just over one year ago, the United Airlines Labor Coalition raised its concern over United’s codeshare agreement with Emirates Airlines, based partly on accounts of unfair labor practices and employee intimidation in the United Arab Emirates.  Today, we raise our concern over employee treatment much closer to home.

Labor relations at United Airlines have deteriorated to the point that lacking labor standards halfway around the world now seem suited to describe the current situation at our own airline.  At the forefront is a draconian and one-sided approach to employee investigations and discipline.  Human Resources is now involved in the smallest and simplest infractions, resulting in consequences orders of magnitude worse than the deed.  Most grievance cases are denied and sent up to the next level with little discretion given to local managers who best know their workforce and issues.

United Airlines filed a supplement to its application for a Haneda slot, which was surrendered by Delta Airlines.  In this long and detailed document, United outlines the reasons it should be awarded authority to fly to Haneda from Houston.  The Labor Coalition finds it instructive that nowhere in this exhaustive brief is mention of a single benefit to United’s labor force, should United be awarded this coveted slot.  In fact, the point is made that IAH-Haneda flights would not be additive, but rather a replacement for existing IAH-Narita service.

Recently, the leaders of United’s unionized employees were asked to submit letters to the Department of Transportation in support of United Airlines’ application for Houston-Haneda authorization.  Such collaboration stems from relationships centered on mutual respect and fair treatment.  Sadly, we believe the current labor/management relationship falls far short of this standard.  For the sake of the employees we represent, we sincerely hope for an improved climate, where cooperation and collaboration can exist and thrive.  Such a climate does not exist today, and as a result, the United Airlines Union Coalition agrees it is inappropriate to support United’s application for Houston-Haneda service.

Respectfully,

Ken Diaz

Mike Klemm

Garth Thompson

Craig Symons

Joe Ferreira

MEC President

President

Master Chair

President

Dir. Airline Div.

AFA-UAL

IAM-UAL

ALPA-UAL

PAFCA-UAL

IBT-UAL

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