Commitment to Guam – Letter from AFA President Veda Shook

AFA International President Veda Shook today sent a letter to Douglas P. McKeen, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations for United Airlines.  The letter requests an immediate meeting “to address this serious problem,” for CMI AFA members, which is defined in the letter as “a real hit to their income and the inability for recall of their flying partners who have been working at Continental without their seniority.”  The letter takes special care to talk about Guam and the relationships we have here with the local community.  We know you’ll enjoy reading the letter.

Your officers stand ready to work with AFA’s professionals to protect our income and all of our family in Guam.

In Solidarity,
Phil, Kathleen and Victor

View PDF Version of letter

August 26, 2011

Douglas P. McKeen, Senior Vice President
Labor Relations
United Airlines, Inc.
77 W. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Commitment to Guam

Dear Doug:

It is imperative that the Company schedule a meeting with our AFA leadership from CMI as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances affecting our nearly 400 AFA members based in Guam due to decisions to shift aircraft in the Pacific.

The new United Airlines is poised to be not only the world’s largest airline, but also the world’s best.  The combination of dedicated Flight Attendants from Continental Micronesia, Continental and United together with all of the employees and the unique routes we serve offers a passenger experience unparalleled in the world.  It is not simply the vast expanses of the new combined airline that will make it a success.  It fails on that disjointed principle alone. It is honoring and promoting the unique relationships that have been cultivated by Flight Attendants in the communities we serve that will make this airline great.  Guam is an extraordinary example of this where Flight Attendants live in and serve the same community – and they have done so for decades.  The airline benefits from these relationships and this is invaluable for United Airlines moving forward.

As the announcement of the merger neared, Jeff Smisek said of CMI, “it has always been a solid operation and a good contributor year in, year out.”  Once the merger was announced he stated, “Continental Micronesia has been an important part of Continental for many years, and is poised to benefit from United’s large presence in Hawaii, the West Coast, and across Asia.”  The Flight Attendants in Guam have yet to experience a benefit, and now they face grave concerns as their access to work is limited through a shift in aircraft service to Guam.

While the CMI Flight Attendant contract protects their job security, their income will be significantly affected if action is not taken immediately to mitigate the loss in scheduled flying.  CMI Flight Attendants are not satisfied with a guaranteed minimum pay in any case.  Not only will it dramatically affect their ability to provide for their families, it does not recognize the phenomenal contributions this small, but dedicated group of Flight Attendants has made to the airline’s success.  Our members want to continue to contribute in a meaningful way and to be recognized for those contributions.

Our members in Guam are also understandably concerned about being cut off from the opportunity to serve their community and to maintain the relationships they have built with passengers who have been loyal to the Continental Micronesia brand, which now benefits the new United Airlines.  The people of Guam are concerned about their Flight Attendant neighbors who seem to have been forgotten by the airline as they face a real hit to their income and the inability for recall of their flying partners who have been working at Continental without their seniority.  There is no current path for Flight Attendants to protect their current level of income in the face of lost flying in Guam, but there are certainly several options for addressing these concerns.

At your earliest convenience please schedule a meeting with our AFA CMI leadership and our collective bargaining staff to address this serious problem and supply a means for Continental Micronesia Flight Attendant to continue to provide for their families and contribute to their community.  This is of utmost importance for our members and for United Airlines to demonstrate it’s commitment to Guam and the people who are responsible for “a solid operation and a good contributor year in, year out.”

Sincerely,

Veda Shook
AFA International President