CEO Smisek Is Mismanaging United Airlines

Author: Joint Communication Committee

Last week, United CEO Jeff Smisek issued a press release, bemoaning the low profits of his past quarter, and outlining his plans to raise his company’s bottom line in the coming year. It’s no secret that Smisek’s performance as CEO is under fire, as United investors pressure him to produce results.

His plan is to “increase efficiency” throughout the airline. This is his “tactful” way of saying  “cutbacks and furloughs.” It’s already come to light that Smisek is calling to raise the number of voluntary furloughs on the s-UA to 1950.

CEO Smisek is mismanaging United Airlines, and is expecting us to bear the brunt of his failures and shortcomings. Smisek’s other plans include introducing more fees for “ancillary services” for passengers in an attempt to raise revenue. The flying public is already sick and tired of being buried underneath mountains of hidden fees, but United’s CEO believes that piling on even more is the solution to his problems. We should be working to attract more customers, rather than driving away those that we already have. He is making his mess worse, rather than working to fix it, and we can be certain that he will do everything in his power to ensure that it is we the Flight Attendants who suffer the consequences of his poor decisions.

In this moment, it is crucial that our voices be heard, and that we do everything we can to place the responsibility and blame where it belongs: in the lap of CEO Jeff Smisek.

Flight Attendants are working tirelessly to create the greatest flying experience that we possibly can for our customers, even while management works to undermine us at every step. United’s financial results affect us all. If the company is doing well, then it strengthens our bargaining position at the negotiating table; a bigger pie means that everyone gets a bigger piece.

In the context of negotiation, we often think of management as the opposition, but it is crucially important for our livelihoods that the people administering the company perform their job well. Jeff Smisek is failing to meet anyone’s standards, and we will not, and cannot allow him to project his incompetence onto us.

This past week, United Flight Attendants across the system joined together with the Teamsters Union for informational picketing.  It’s important to maintain solidarity not just within the Flight Attendant community, but throughout all labor groups working for United. We are all part of the same working family, and working together in support of one another will benefit us all.

Negotiations will resume the first week of December. We are hopeful that the New Year will bring with it significant progress toward our Joint Contract.