Tony Parker, President of Machinists Union Local 1781 holds a CONTRACT NOW sign at an informational picket held at San Franciscos’ International Airport.

Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO to Demand Fair Contracts

IAM141.org

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO) – On Wednesday, front-line union workers at United came together at SFO Airport for an informational picket to call on the airline to complete long-overdue contract negotiations. Hundreds of union members from every work group at the carrier participated in the rally.

Over the past year, air travelers have seen repeated delays, overbooked flights, and cancellations, among many other woes. According to United Airlines’ front-line workers, the problems passengers face can be placed squarely at the feet of company management, who have built a business model based around short-staffing, unfair wages, and outsourcing. 

“We’re here because we want management to recognize the sacrifices and contributions we have made during the worst downturn in aviation history,” said Roger Phillips, a Pilot at United and spokesman for the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) who organized the picket. “United just announced its fourth-quarter earnings last night, and announced that we made nearly $1 billion for this airline,” he continued. “It’s time for United to reinvest some of that money into the people that created those profits.”

United reported a profit of $843 million in the last quarter of 2022 on total revenue of $12.4 billion. The revenue figure was almost 14% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the travel industry. The earnings report follows a profit of $942 million, which the Chicago-based carrier posted over the summer. 

Despite the industry-leading income, United executives are demanding wages for fleet and customer service agents that fall far short of what was promised in the lead-up to negotiations. In early 2022, United committed to providing industry-leading wages to its 38,000 fleet and customer-facing employees. However, by the time contract talks began, United was only willing to offer payscales that would be the lowest of the “Big Three” carriers. Wages at United would also fall below those of smaller airlines such as Southwest and Alaska. Low wages allow other airlines to outcompete United for workers in a tight labor market. United is also asking for union members to agree to outsourcing, something that negotiators have flatly refused to consider.

On Wednesday, labor tensions at the carrier led hundreds of workers to hold an informational picket at San Francisco International Airport. Marching alongside Pilots were Fleet and Customer Service workers, Security Guards and Flight Attendants – all of whom are dealing with company foot-dragging and unfair contract proposals with inadequate wages and job protections for union members.

Machinists Union General Vice President Richie Johnsen, who marched at the rally, called on United to invest in workers. “United Airlines is out touting how much they’ve invested in this airline,” he said. “To make it the greatest airline in the history of airlines, according to Scott Kirby. They’ve invested in airplanes and airports, they’ve invested in fuel, they’ve invested in green energy,” he continued.

“But, they haven’t invested in their most valuable asset. Which is their employees,” Johnsen said. “It’s time for United to invest in employees.”

United pilots have gone four years without a new contract.

The four unions at United held an earlier rally in Houston, Texas, during the United Board of Directors Meeting. At that event, Scot Kirby went outside to meet with the picketers. He told ramp and customer service workers that negotiations were stalled due to union negotiators’ refusal to budge on outsourcing. District President Mike Klemm told IAM members, “United management’s refusal to provide acceptable job security and wage rates for IAM-represented workers is unacceptable and disgraceful,” said Klemm. “IAM members at United Airlines have spoken loudly and clearly that the issues of wages and job security are paramount to any acceptable tentative agreement.”

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Tony Parker, President of Machinists Union Local 1781, holds a CONTRACT NOW sign at an informational picket held at San Franciscos’ International Airport.

Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO 

January 21, 2023

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO) – On Wednesday, front-line union workers at United came together at SFO Airport for an informational picket to call on the airline to complete long-overdue contract negotiations. Hundreds of union members from every work group at the carrier participated in the rally.

Over the past year, air travelers have seen repeated delays, overbooked flights, and cancellations, among many other woes. According to United Airlines’ front-line workers, the problems passengers face can be placed squarely at the feet of company management, who have built a business model based around short-staffing, unfair wages, and outsourcing. 

“We’re here because we want management to recognize the sacrifices and contributions we have made during the worst downturn in aviation history,” said Roger Phillips, a Pilot at United and spokesman for the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) who organized the picket. “United just announced its fourth-quarter earnings last night, and announced that we made nearly $1 billion for this airline,” he continued. “It’s time for United to reinvest some of that money into the people that created those profits.”

United reported a profit of $843 million in the last quarter of 2022 on total revenue of $12.4 billion. The revenue figure was almost 14% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the travel industry. The earnings report follows a profit of $942 million, which the Chicago-based carrier posted over the summer. 

Despite the industry-leading income, United executives are demanding wages for fleet and customer service agents that fall far short of what was promised in the lead-up to negotiations. In early 2022, United committed to providing industry-leading wages to its 38,000 fleet and customer-facing employees. However, by the time contract talks began, United was only willing to offer payscales that would be the lowest of the “Big Three” carriers. Wages at United would also fall below those of smaller airlines such as Southwest and Alaska. Low wages allow other airlines to outcompete United for workers in a tight labor market. United is also asking for union members to agree to outsourcing, something that negotiators have flatly refused to consider.

On Wednesday, labor tensions at the carrier led hundreds of workers to hold an informational picket at San Francisco International Airport. Marching alongside Pilots were Fleet and Customer Service workers, Security Guards and Flight Attendants – all of whom are dealing with company foot-dragging and unfair contract proposals with inadequate wages and job protections for union members.

Machinists Union General Vice President Richie Johnsen, who marched at the rally, called on United to invest in workers. “United Airlines is out touting how much they’ve invested in this airline,” he said. “To make it the greatest airline in the history of airlines, according to Scott Kirby. They’ve invested in airplanes and airports, they’ve invested in fuel, they’ve invested in green energy,” he continued.

“But, they haven’t invested in their most valuable asset. Which is their employees,” Johnsen said. “It’s time for United to invest in employees.”

United pilots have gone four years without a new contract.

The four unions at United held an earlier rally in Houston, Texas, during the United Board of Directors Meeting. At that event, Scot Kirby went outside to meet with the picketers. He told ramp and customer service workers that negotiations were stalled due to union negotiators’ refusal to budge on outsourcing. District President Mike Klemm told IAM members, “United management’s refusal to provide acceptable job security and wage rates for IAM-represented workers is unacceptable and disgraceful,” said Klemm. “IAM members at United Airlines have spoken loudly and clearly that the issues of wages and job security are paramount to any acceptable tentative agreement.”

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