This information is no longer current - it is for reference only. It is an archive review of events that took place during United Airline's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy from December 9, 2002 - February 1, 2006.

United Exits Bankruptcy

Date: February 1, 2006
Type: MEC President Letter

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today, our airline has exited from over three years in Chapter 11 bankruptcy – the longest bankruptcy in aviation history.  Management can no longer run to the Court for concessions from our Contract or for changes to health benefits for retirees.  We breathe a sigh of relief to get out from under the onerous laws of the Bankruptcy Court, but we know that today is just another day of hard work for Flight Attendants.  We can imagine a situation where this would be a day to celebrate.  Unfortunately, we face the closure of three of our Flight Attendant domiciles, a vote on a pension replacement plan and we live daily with the sacrifices born during the bankruptcy.  This is not a day to celebrate, but it is a day to remember.  As we deal with the challenges we face today, we also know that we will face many more tomorrow and through our experience there is no challenge we cannot face together.

We should acknowledge the hard work, tenacity and perseverance of our efforts as a community of Flight Attendants.  Through our Union, we have challenged management and advocated our position for Flight Attendants to the fullest extent possible – and we have made a difference.  While the Court approved every management bonus program, our objections -- often the only objections -- cut those bonuses by more than half.  As we challenged every Contract concession, we successfully beat back a second attempt to cut our work rules and medical benefits.  When management sought to terminate our pensions, we fought them every step of the way.  When they tried to cheat retirees out of their healthcare, we waged a battle that dramatically reduced those cuts and capped future increases.  With every attack they waged the Court may have been on their side, but we never let that intimidate us or weaken our resolve.  This management knows that Flight Attendants will challenge them every time they try to line their pockets, make bad decisions or take from the employees who built United Airlines. 

We have seen executives come to our airline and we have seen them leave, often with millions of dollars in golden parachute packages.  It is the Flight Attendants and other front line employees who are committed to our airline’s success.  We were here when these executives arrived and we’ll be here long after they’re gone.  But sadly, as long as management holds employees in contempt and as a liability, instead of recognizing the invaluable dedication and contribution of the people who built United Airlines, this company will never realize its full potential.

In the end, we have survived and we are stronger for the experience.  We will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this bankruptcy because we won’t soon forget.  We won’t forget the hammer management wielded with the permission of the Bankruptcy Court.  We won’t forget the personal profits they sought at our expense.  We will use this experience to prepare for 2009 when we can wage the battle to demand what we rightly deserve.  We will see that our airline succeeds and we will share in its success.  Management may come and go, but we will never forget.  In 2009 -- and in every opportunity before then -- this is the foundation of our success!

We have had to live within the realities of the Bankruptcy Court and the laws that bless corporate greed.  Throughout the challenges we’ve faced, we have also experienced the benefit of a unified and powerful Membership.  For the experience to survive we must acknowledge these realities and keep them close at hand and in our hearts.  Stand proud, stand strong and stand together.

In Solidarity,

Greg Davidowitch, President
United Master Executive Council

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