July 23, 2015
As we’ve anticipated for the last few weeks, United and AFA concluded this round of negotiations today without reaching agreement on a joint contract for flight attendants.
While I’m disappointed that we didn’t reach agreement by today, I also recognize that July 23 was a target, and not a deadline, set by both AFA and the company, and that neither AFA nor the company succeeded in hitting that target. That said, there is a path to a deal, and we will get there. You have my commitment, and the company’s commitment, to continue working toward that goal.
I am heartened by the responses and comments to these updates from so many of you. I’m sure many of you recognize I am personally frustrated with the slow pace of negotiations, and whether we agree or not in substance, I will always address you with respect and appreciation. The way we treat each other today drives the relationships we will have tomorrow, and it is the quality of these relationships that will allow us to address your concerns appropriately and create success for everyone.
We all know that contract negotiations create frustrations and conflict between labor and management. In this case, the complexity of the issues also drives conflict among members of the joint negotiating committee doing their best to represent flight attendants who themselves often hold different, even conflicting, views of what they want in a contract. In any negotiation there are also different views as to what the company should spend on a new contract. These are the challenges we face, and we need to balance these competing interests in order to reach agreement.
At the same time, portraying the company as the enemy is not a constructive or effective negotiation tactic. It doesn’t work, and it’s counterproductive. I’m committed to getting you an industry-leading contract. But United and AFA share the responsibility for not bringing this to conclusion in a more timely manner, and United and AFA share the responsibility for continuing to work constructively until we get it done. What’s important is that we continue to work together.
We’re working with AFA to determine next steps in our negotiation process. I’ll keep you updated as these discussions develop.
Thanks once again for everything you do.