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United Airways & Union In Bitter Retaliation Dispute

United Airways administration and the union representing flight attendants (AFL-CIO) are presently engaged in a dispute concerning the firing of two flight attendants, who’re accused of retaliation. This example is getting so critical that United’s administration despatched a letter to all flight attendants explaining the corporate’s aspect of the story.

This incident began with a masks dispute

This incident includes a dispute between flight attendants again in 2020. Particularly, a junior flight attendant allegedly reported two senior flight attendants (who’re additionally union officers) for not sporting their masks in the course of the crew relaxation interval on a flight. Of their protection, the flight attendants claimed that the masks fell off whereas sleeping.

United performed an investigation following this report, however it’s claimed that the union tried to dam the investigation, whereas additionally making an attempt to retaliate in opposition to the junior flight attendant who reported colleagues. An investigation revealed that the 2 flight attendants who had been reported had been behind the retaliation, and made up lies.

The 2 senior flight attendants have now been fired, resulting in an prolonged courtroom battle that has the potential to worsen labor relations at United.

This incident began with a 2020 flight

What United administration says concerning the incident

On Thursday, United Airways’ Senior Vice President of Inflight Service, John Slater, despatched a memo to flight attendants sharing the corporate’s aspect of the story. Because it’s defined, the corporate took the drastic measure of addressing all flight attendants about this as a result of the union determined to publicize this case with misinformation.

In keeping with the memo from administration:

  • This example started when a flight attendant “raised a respectable security concern to United, which led to the self-discipline of two flight attendants”
  • In response, “two union representatives offered unrelated allegations of misconduct by the reporting flight attendant to United, which proved to be utterly false”
  • “These false experiences resulted in quite a few investigations over a number of months,” and “in these investigations, flight attendants revealed that the knowledge in opposition to the reporting flight attendant was solicited by the 2 union representatives”
  • United doesn’t tolerate retaliation, any cases of this have to be investigated, and the punishment for that may embody termination, no matter whether or not or not the workers in query are union representatives
  • The union took no actions to handle the misconduct of the representatives, and provided no ideas aside from to have United examine
  • The union filed a lawsuit in the summertime of 2021 in federal courts, alleging that United violated the Railway Labor Act by issuing Letters of Investigation to the 2 flight attendants who held roles with the union
  • The courtroom dismissed the lawsuit in January 2022, and located that “the union’s place would offer union representatives with full immunity from self-discipline for acts in violation of the CBA as long as these violations befell whereas conducting union duties,” and would “allow union representatives to retaliate in opposition to flight attendants who take disfavored actions”
Administration is accusing the union of retaliation

What the flight attendant union says concerning the incident

In response to Thursday’s memo from United administration, the flight attendant union issued a press release sharing its aspect of the story. In keeping with this:

  • Whereas the memo from Slater claimed to disclose information, “it seems he’s giving an incomplete and company-oriented perspective on the matter”
  • The union offers with points amongst flight attendants via the Skilled Requirements program that encourages events to resolve issues, whereas United administration “chooses to cope with disputes amongst workers with their typical method, by mass firings and intimidation”
  • United administration has fired virtually a dozen flight attendants, which is the underlying downside right here and why the union is making an attempt to defend its proper to illustration and due course of
  • United administration has “no downside publicly going after very long time flight attendants who obtained a sham investigation from the corporate earlier than pushing ahead with termination proceedings”
  • Administration has ignored the truth that the contract comprises the proper to a good listening to, and there’s a course of that features binding arbitration
  • The union gained’t publicly go into particulars concerning the case, so gained’t touch upon the underlying subject aside from to say that it “vehemently disagrees with the corporate’s presentation of the information.”
  • The union is indignant about “United’s punitive method to issues and full lack of respect for union rights”
  • The union claims that the courtroom didn’t decide the deserves of the union’s arguments that administration violated the Railway Labor Act, however quite dominated that the dispute have to be settled by an arbitrator via the contractual process
The union argues administration isn’t following its settlement

My tackle this very unusual dispute

Let me begin by saying that I’m neither strongly for or in opposition to unions. I respect the proper for workers to kind unions. I believe unions do good issues, however I additionally assume some unions do not-so-great issues.

Delta and Southwest are each recognized for having among the many finest service of US airways, but flight attendants on the former airline aren’t unionized, whereas flight attendants on the latter union are unionized. So each fashions can work, particularly if administration respects workers.

With that out of the way in which, just a few ideas about this explicit case:

  • The idea of this dispute is odd to start with, and I can’t assist however marvel what the backstory right here is; had been the 2 senior flight attendants merely flouting masks guidelines, was there already a dispute between the junior flight attendant and the 2 senior ones, or what?
  • It’s attention-grabbing how administration immediately addresses the incident that occurred, whereas the union refuses to handle it immediately
  • If there’s any reality to what occurred (that union reps tried to retaliate by taking motion in opposition to a junior flight attendant who reported them), then that’s completely screwed up and they need to be punished accordingly
  • It’s attention-grabbing to see how underneath Scott Kirby’s management, United actually is performing with conviction, quite than waffling and being inactive; the corporate has taken a tough stance relating to firing some unvaccinated workers, and evidently United is taking a zero tolerance method by firing those that violate sure guidelines
  • I’d be curious to know the way most United flight attendants really feel about this example; this doesn’t look like a full-on administration vs. union battle, however quite appears to be a battle between the corporate and senior union officers who’re searching for each other

Backside line

United Airways administration is engaged in a battle with AFL-CIO, the union representing flight attendants. This subject dates again over a yr, and includes a 2020 flight the place a junior flight attendant reported two senior flight attendants (who had been additionally union officers) for violating masks guidelines throughout a flight.

It’s reported that the union then tried to retaliate in opposition to the junior flight attendant, together with making up false allegations. The union has been making an attempt to sue the corporate over this incident, however hasn’t gotten far as of now. I’m curious to see how this example evolves.

What do you make of this dispute? To these with inside data, any clue what the sentiment is about this amongst rank and file flight attendants?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

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