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Thu, Jan 30, 2003

Union Anticipates, Disapproves of UAL's Next Move

Captain Paul Whiteford, Chairman of the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, issued the following statement in anticipation of United Airlines' proposed strategic plan, to be presented formally, later today (Thursday):

"For more than a year, the pilots of United Airlines have worked tirelessly to develop a long term economic solution to the crisis at the Company. From January through December of 2002, ALPA was fully engaged in a highly collaborative discussion with the Company and other union groups over a program for constructive and significant change at the airline."

"Since the Company filed for bankruptcy protection in December, the United pilots have repeatedly offered to continue that collaborative process, to provide the Company with both a competitive labor cost structure and the tools needed to address low cost carriers in the industry. These are not just words: we have voluntarily cut our pay by 29% to stabilize the Company in the early weeks of the bankruptcy."

"Inexplicably, in the seven weeks since United filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, senior management has locked the pilots out of the process and refused to engage in any meaningful negotiations over our future. Instead, they appear to be proposing a plan to break-up United Airlines by giving United routes, aircraft, and other assets to another company - with a whole set of new managers and employees. If so, United's management is now telling us to give up on United Airlines as we know it."

"We know that United has suffered stunning losses over the past two years and we agree that United must undergo a bold restructuring to become profitable and competitive. The United pilots are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to make our Company competitive and profitable in every market we serve, including the markets served by low cost carriers."

"But we refuse to give up on United Airlines. We will not let management break up the strongest asset base and route network in the airline industry. And we will not help management destroy the careers of the dedicated working men and women who built this Company, who saw it through September 11th, and who continue to deliver the highest levels of performance and service through the worst crisis in industry history. We will oppose management's break-up plan by every lawful means available to us."

"In 2000, this same group of managers told us that a merger with US Airways and a new corporate jet business would provide a magic cure for United. They were wrong then. They are wrong now. There is no magic cure for United or any other airline. Instead, a vibrant, successful United can only emerge from hard work, collaboration, shared sacrifice and a collective vision for the future. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We call on Glenn Tilton and his management team to join us."

FMI: www.alpa.org


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