The merger of Continental and United Airlines last year was a historic achievement, bringing together two world class airlines. Employees and retirees of both airlines are hopeful about the prospects for a stronger United following the merger.
Part of a stronger United is ensuring that there is a fair deal for United employees and retirees going forward. Especially encouraging are new United President Jeff Smisek’s statements in support of "respect and fairness" for the newly combined work groups. The hope is that Smisek’s open style that supports fairness and transparency in decision making will mean fair and just treatment for current and former United employees.
But the hoped for culture of respect and fairness took a turn for the worse with the recent announcement of the new United employee pass travel policy due to launch in 2012.
Jeff and his new HR senior team promised a comprehensive review of travel benefits for current and former employees, but the process for this review was problematic. First, the employee survey developed by the Hay group was long, complex, and counter-intuitive. The new UA financed the survey, and allowed employees at both UA and CO to take the survey while at work, on a company computer, with clearly demarcated explanations posted online or posted in company open areas. Retirees, not all of which own a computer, were asked to find the survey on the company site, and utilize their own or their local library to take their survey.
Following the survey, management made decisions to adapt a new pass travel policy which affirms that all "active employees" will have the same boarding priority. For United retirees this a devastating change. In the current policy, United retirees board before active employees. Under the new policy, retirees board last – after every single active employee – even those with just 6 months seniority. This is unfair to United retirees who worked for the company for decades and were promised travel benefits at retirement.
But there is an alternative – a compromise between the current policy and the new policy. All employees, retired and active, management and non-management – should board together by SENIORITY. A United retiree who retired after 25 years would board before an employee with 15 years experience, but after an active employee still working with 30 years’ service.
Please sign the attached petition below that requests a review of the new pass policy, and a replacement with true seniority based boarding for all active and retired employees.
Once you have signed please forward to fellow retirees and employees, frequent flyers, friends and family using the send icon below. Your message will be automatically emailed to United CEO Jeff Smisek, Executive Vice President – HR Mike Bonds, and Vice President –Employee Relations Donna Towle letting them know that you support a review and change of the new pass policy.
While we are concerned about some aspects of the new policy, we also want to underline our support for one new aspect of it -- the 8 vacation passes offered as a gesture of good will. This new benefit should remain the way it is presented in the new pass policy, given the hard work and dedication that all employees have contributed.
P.S. Don't forget to send to other friends, employees, and customers using the easy facebook, and twitter buttons embedded in the send letter page.
United Retiree Action started this petition with a single signature, and now has 7,897 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.