To celebrate Ron’s birthday today, United Airlines cancelled pensions for flight attendants, pilots, machinists and the ground crew. The news isn’t on the internet yet – though warnings abound. Pensions for corporate employees and many employees in Europe (maybe protected by the EU?) will keep their retirement packages.
It is painful to see Ron’s anger and know that I can’t really do anything about it. One of the attendants he flew with this week had worked with PanAm and had the same thing happen to her and then United bought PanAm and now it’s happening to her again.
I believe there’s legislation in place that is supposed to protect against this sort of bullshit – but I think the fact that the corporation is in bankruptcy still means anything is fair game.
This reminds me of seeing 60-year old men and women lose their jobs when I worked for an insurance company. The last vestiges of ‘one company for life’ are dissolving finally. Now we glamourize it by calling it the ‘Free Agent Nation’ – it’s cool to be a contract worker – though usually Free Agency refers only to white-collar workers – not technicians.
Were you flying out of San Diego on Friday? Wonder why it took so long? All the ramp operators but two called in sick. Yep – two guys working the ramp and cargo for all the United flights out of San Diego. Expect delays like this.
How demoralizing. To be serving a businessman in first class and he’s reading the New York Times and the front page is how you’ve just lost your future. More coffee?
This is one reason why I have an anti-corporate bias I guess. And I think it’s going to come back to bite United in the ass. The pensions they just cancelled are the people that are on the frontline delivering world-class customer service and hospitality. They communicate the brand and the corporate values to your customers. Mess with them at you rown peril.
Notice: no cuts in corporate management. Again, middle managers preserve their paper-pushing and the upper managers keep their perks.
Right now Ron is in angry phase. I was trying to illustrate all the options before him but he’s still pretty stunned. I’d be.
Long story short: United was plummeting before 9/11. That just aggravated it. They squeezed the unions for concessions. They blew it all on Ted. Now they’re screwed.
My prediction: They’ll bust the unions and reduce the benefits further to reduce their staff to have the same status as a burger-flipper.