WASHINGTON, DC – Today, hundreds of United Airlines mechanics picketed at the San Francisco, Los Angeles (LAX), Newark, LaGuardia, Washington Dulles, Cleveland, Boston Logan and Orlando airports, to educate passengers about upcoming strikes. A similar picket is planned at Houston’s IAH airport tomorrow.
Last week, mechanics voted down United’s contract proposal by 93 percent. Mechanics also voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. Over 9,000 mechanics at United are represented by the Teamsters Union, which is petitioning the National Mediation Board for a strike release.
The mechanics held picket signs that read, “ON STRIKE – Not Yet” and distributed leaflets to United’s customers that read, “Passengers Brace for Summer Strike at UNITED.”
“When United was in bankruptcy, it terminated employees’ pensions with the promise that it would make workers whole with profit sharing when good times returned. Now United is earning record profits and spending billions to buy back stock, yet it is slashing mechanics’ profit sharing by two-thirds and offering mechanics only a 73-cent-per-hour net wage increase annually. Mechanics are rightly angry with United’s Board of Directors, and that’s why there may be strikes this summer,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division.
“We sacrificed a lot, including our retirement security, to save this company,” said shop steward Fred Wood, a 24-year mechanic at United in San Francisco. “The only winners here are United executives, who are enriching themselves with $3 billion in stock buybacks to boost the value of their own stock options. Meanwhile, we’re basically being asked to pay for our own raises. We are loyal workers who have stuck with United for decades, and we’re out here today to let passengers know that we’re not going to let United abuse us anymore.”
“I am baffled as to why United, making record profits and flush with cash, would risk huge labor disputes going into the summer travel season,” Bourne said. “All these mechanics are asking is to be treated with respect for the highly-skilled work they do and the sacrifices they made for years while the company was struggling.”