The JNC has just completed its fifth week of negotiations with management in Orlando, Florida.
On Monday we presented our proposal on Jury Duty/Court Witness and actually managed to reach a tentative agreement on this language. We passed new proposals on the Duty Free and Alcohol & Drug Testing, and continued discussions over proposals on Passports, Visas & Immunizations, Flight Crew Lounges and Tidying. We also received new abbreviated proposals from the company for the section on General.
Unfortunately, that has been the extent of our progress this week. So all in all, not a very good week.
United hasn’t fared any better over the past few days in the media either.
Wichita State and Purdue Universities released their 2013 Airline Quality Rankings and United came in dead last, 14 out of 14.
The rankings unleashed a torrent of critical articles where reporter after reporter agreed with the dismal results. Of particular interest was an article in Forbes magazine by Adam Hartung titled, United – This is NOT “Any Way to Run an Airline” in which he says, “United decidedly is not an innovative, adaptive organization,” and “United doesn’t care about its customers – and it hasn’t for a long time.”
Tough words to hear about the airline we all work for. Mr. Hartung goes on to say United, like many other businesses, strives to better execute “an old business model by hammering away at cutting costs” which leads to them to “beat up on employees, fight with Unions, remove anything unessential (like food,) invent ways to create charges (like checked bags or ticket change fees), fiddle with fuel costs, ignore customers and constantly try to engineer minute enhancements to operations in efforts to save pennies.
“Like too many companies, United is fixated on this strategy, even if it can’t make any money. Even if this strategy once drove it to bankruptcy. Even if it’s employees are miserable. Even if quality metrics decline. Even if every year customers are less and less happy with the product. All of that be darned! United just keeps doing what it has always done, for over 3 decades, hoping that somehow – magically – results will improve.”
You’d think Mr. Hartung had been sitting with us in negotiations!
While we were able to reach a tentative agreement on one issue this week, the rest of our time was spent fighting back against United’s continuing mantra about not wanting a “book of rules,” and that we should merely identify issues that Inflight Service will manage through Policies & Procedures. Doesn’t sound very innovative does it?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: These are not concessionary negotiations. We are not building a new Policies & Procedures manual or a new FAIM – we are building a new Contract which are the rules that govern Flight Attendants’ work relationship with United Airlines.
There is no room for concepts, which Inflight management can change via their endless revisions. There is also no room for ambiguity, which United WILL (not may) use to exploit us at a later date. And, despite management’s insistence, we are not going to abandon decades of Contractual practice that all of us have today.
Today United told us they felt we were “wasting their time.” We believe that continuous grabbing of our Contract provisions, and trying to replace them with Policies & Procedures is wasting ours.
Cindy Commander, CAL
Cynthia Iverson, CMI