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UA's Stop-and-Go Plans to "Rebalance" Bases Whiplashes Attendants (per DenverPost)

UA's Stop-and-Go Plans to "Rebalance" Bases Whiplashes Attendants (per DenverPost)

Old Aug 3, 14, 2:24 am
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Post UA's Stop-and-Go Plans to "Rebalance" Bases Whiplashes Attendants (per DenverPost)

Shannon Meek scans the near-bare rooms of what she thought was her "forever home," her wide-eyed gaze betraying her suppressed sadness and confusion. With no time to reflect, she packs up the traces of her family's life in Colorado, leaving behind only her two children's footprints in the front-step cement. She and hundreds of other United Airlines flight attendants have anticipated this moment for months.

In June, the Chicago-based carrier announced that about 260 Denver-based flight attendants, and more than 800 nationwide, would have to switch bases in October. The company cited a need to "rebalance" several of its locations.
http://www.denverpost.com/business/c...ses-whiplashes

This is just the first two paragraphs of a Denver Post article this morning highlighting what's happening to veteran UA flight attendants at DEN. It's really turning their lives upside down. Well worth the read to see how the impact of not having a contract after 4 years is forcing flight attendants to relocate and then not relocate.

UA is back to the bargaining table with them on Monday according to the article.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 2:47 am
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Maybe the employees will put pressure on their union to do whatever it takes to get a joint contract agreement? What the union is doing sounds detrimental to its own employees.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 2:57 am
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removed.

Last edited by kettle1; Aug 3, 14 at 4:37 pm Reason: changed mind
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Old Aug 3, 14, 4:17 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
...not having a contract after 4 years...
Airline contracts never expire, they become amendable. They have a contract, and they employ a group, the union, to negotiate for them. They could have a new contract today if they wanted one, but they apparently place a higher priority on some things that you don't.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:11 am
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I can't abide this snippet:

Simon and Meek say this chess game with personnel causes tension among the flight attendants at work.

"Being a frontline employee, how do you go to work with a smile on your face?" Simon said. "It's already affecting our home life."
Um, you go to work with a smile on your face the same way millions of other people with less-than-perfect jobs do in service industries. There's plenty of crap laid on by other companies to other workers in various other situations.

I certainly empathize with FAs who are being whipsawed by UA, but to immediately turn that around and use it as an excuse to provide poor service in the air is unconscionable.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
I can't abide this snippet:

Um, you go to work with a smile on your face the same way millions of other people with less-than-perfect jobs do in service industries. There's plenty of crap laid on by other companies to other workers in various other situations.

I certainly empathize with FAs who are being whipsawed by UA, but to immediately turn that around and use it as an excuse to provide poor service in the air is unconscionable.
+1000!
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
I can't abide this snippet:

Um, you go to work with a smile on your face the same way millions of other people with less-than-perfect jobs do in service industries. There's plenty of crap laid on by other companies to other workers in various other situations.

I certainly empathize with FAs who are being whipsawed by UA, but to immediately turn that around and use it as an excuse to provide poor service in the air is unconscionable.
For years, the AFA has told legacy United flight attendants to downplay the service aspects of their jobs whenever tensions with management heat up. The flight attendant in that article is expressing sentiments consistent with that tradition.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:49 am
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Being an employee is being an employee,and every employee of every company has a choice to be there or go elsewhere. That said, having people go through all of the steps to move only to change the plan a couple months before the implementation date really does tell folks how UA management feels about their employees and their customers. What I am curious about is if their treatment of the flight attendants from the pmUA is any different than that of the pmCO. Whichever it is........this sure does mesh with the terrible customer service UA provides, that has resulted in customers moving on to other carriers.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
For years, the AFA has told legacy United flight attendants to downplay the service aspects of their jobs whenever tensions with management heat up. The flight attendant in that article is expressing sentiments consistent with that tradition.
I know one UA million miler who stopped flying UA primarily because of FA attitude.

Every time a company loses customers employees face turmoil (typically layoffs-transfers if they are really lucky). If more Denver customers chose UA, the crew would not be moved.

I think the union can (and may need to) improve its situation by having shop stewards retrain some of their colleagues. I am seeing hints that management may be addressing behavior towards customers But I am not hearing about results.

Finding stories of UA mangement decisions losing customers is also easy (search mechanical delays which I consider the reaults of a management decision). At the moment, both union and management need to study the excellent results for Pan Am and various steel company employees.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
For years, the AFA has told legacy United flight attendants to downplay the service aspects of their jobs whenever tensions with management heat up.
Originally Posted by NJFlyer42 View Post
I know one UA million miler who stopped flying UA primarily because of FA attitude.
This has been going on at United, on and off, at least since the ESOP around 1994. Shame on those who blame this bit of United's failure on CO management. The toxic labor climate at UA was around long before Smisek and it will be around long after he's ushered out.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
This has been going on at United, on and off, at least since the ESOP around 1994. Shame on those who blame this bit of United's failure on CO management. The toxic labor climate at UA was around long before Smisek and it will be around long after he's ushered out.
True, unfortunately.
The ESOP and the way it played out are key events in the United's history and to understanding rank and file long time UA employees' attitudes.
I wonder if this "rebalancing" prefigures further reductions in United DEN presence?
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Old Aug 3, 14, 1:07 pm
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Can they commute positive-space instead of moving?

The article mentions someone commuting once, but doesn't expand on the option.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
The toxic labor climate at UA was around long before Smisek and it will be around long after he's ushered out.
During the Tilton regime of pmUA, the unions regularly paid for an airplane flying a banner over Chicago's lakefront beaches asking for his resignation.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 1:33 pm
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I sat next to a pmCO FA a couple of months ago or so. She said the reason why the FAs are the only union employees who have yet to sign a unified contract is because the UA and CO FA contracts are so radically different. She went on to say the UA contract has all kinds of work restrictions insisted by the union but they are paid less. The CO contract has much more flexibility of work rules and the FAs are paid more as a result. Lastly, she really didn't understand why the pmUA FAs wouldn't want something resembling the CO contract but apparently they don't. Not my opinion... just relaying what I heard.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by kettle1 View Post
Bring Lorenzo back from retirement to truly fix this mess. He could eliminate all Unions, sub-contract everything.
Do you really thing the solution is just outsourcing every employee? UA has already done that with ground employees at a dozen stations the last two years, with speculation that another 30 stations could be on the line. Could hubs be the next target? Shouldn't they at least retain their own pilots and flight attendants if they do eventually eliminate every employee on the ground?

Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
They could have a new contract today if they wanted one, but they apparently place a higher priority on some things that you don't.
Perhaps they could have a contract today if they just surrendered and took the one the CO flight attendants have in place four years back. That has been discussed here before and there were differences, such as a longer work day, that the UA flight attendants weren't ready to agree on. I don't know where the bottleneck is now but after 4 years the lack of a unified flight attendant contract is taking its toll on UA flight attendants as shown in this article. These employees have 14 and 16 years seniority and still are uncertain where they will be working in the months ahead. Will it be the 20 year DEN employees next year if there's not a unified contract in place? Will the next step just be the elimination of the DEN base?
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