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
"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
"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."