Go Back   Airline Pilot Central Forums - Find your next job as a Pilot > >
Major Legacy, National, and LCC
 

Welcome to Airline Pilot Forums - Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. Join our community today and start interacting with existing members. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.


User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-16-2015, 06:38 AM   #1  
On Reserve
Thread Starter
 
marton404's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jun 2014
Position: booster seat
Posts: 10
Default Ralph Nader letter: unsafe at any speed

Jeff Smisek, CEO
United Airlines, Inc.
PO Box 06649
Chicago, IL 60606-0649
Dear Mr. Smisek,
Two stories have come to public attention about your airline, which invites some serious introspection by you and your fellow executives who make millions of dollars a year.
The first appeared in the January 23, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal titled, “Suddenly Flush Airlines Debate How to Use Cash.” The article posed the choices: for increased services for consumers and reduced fares; for investors to cut debt and buy back stock. There was no indication of a cash dividend increase. Then this paragraph: “United returned $320 million to shareholders last year through share repurchases, and it said Thursday it could accelerate its buybacks with extra cash flow.” Stock buybacks – really a poor use of productive capital – are favored by executive suites as a way to elevate executive compensation compared to cash dividends.
Now comes the second story that was not so widely publicized. Your subordinates have been instructed to outsource 2,000 union jobs under a vendor bidding process that you will throw against your loyal skilled workers to match, or else. Twenty-eight stations at airports are affected in this round. You hope to save $2.7 million out of the pay of long-time United Airlines workers (many who make $15 per hour and benefits) on the tarmac at dawn or dusk, and rain, snow or shine.
Do these two stories prod you to wonder what’s going on in your monetized mind that excludes common decency and elemental labor management relations? Do you think that vendors’ lower paid, inexperienced labor pool is not going to cause you problems down the road?
And does a merged airline (with Continental) planning more unproductive stock buybacks to pile on the $320 million in 2014 have any qualms squeezing 2,000 already hard-pressed workers with families out of $2.7 million (not to mention other similar plans, past and future), astonishingly at a time of record profits? Squeezing appears to be your corporate policy tool for your passengers as well – for example squeezing their leg room, squeezing them by innumerable fees and penalties and squeezing their time by delays on the phone in responding to their questions.
Why is it that a far tighter oligopoly of domestic airlines than before deregulation mimics each other’s race to the bottom in labor and consumer relations, instead of mimicking better practices by Southwest Airlines with a far more consistent record of profits and no layoffs? Does this perverse behavior also make you wonder?
Mr. Smisek, you’re pushing the envelopes in ways that reflect a power trip – that is if you can get away with it, you will. At this point I am reminded of the courteous UAL of the Sixties, Seventies and early Eighties with services and attentiveness, with a fine record of domestic maintenance standards. That history should provide you with some contemplation about the role of top management over the years.
Consider this advice: drop the risky outsourcing; treat your employees as Southwest does; and stop ratcheting up the fees for baggage, changes of reservations, etc. Unless, that is, you believe that customer backlash, investigations by media and lawmakers and lower job gratification are not anywhere on your horizon.
Your response is welcomed.
Sincerely,
Ralph Nader
PO Box 19312


This is the link to the original article. https://blog.nader.org/2015/02/14/le...ited-airlines/

Last edited by vagabond; 02-16-2015 at 09:09 AM. Reason: added source link
marton404 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 07:04 AM   #2  
Straight QOL, homie
 
Purple Drank's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2012
Position: Record-Shattering Profit Facilitator
Posts: 4,167
Default

I guess Ralph didn't get the memo about the new "culture" at Southwest.
Purple Drank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 08:06 AM   #3  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Rolf's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Posts: 590
Default

Southwest is certainly testing boundaries. I sure hope Mr Kelly wakes up before it's too late.
Rolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 08:49 AM   #4  
New boss = Old boss
 
mike734's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Mar 2005
Position: Ca B737
Posts: 2,739
Default

While reading that letter, I couldn't help think it was written by a petulant child. Then I saw it was by Ralph Nader. All I can say is I'm sure glad he never became president. If I got that letter, I don't think I would have read past the first paragraph wher he drops in the part "fellow executives who make millions." What a poorly crafted letter. My guess is that there will be no response to this increasingly irrelivant politico.
mike734 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 09:06 AM   #5  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Apr 2007
Posts: 824
Default

Funny...a politician criticizing a CEO for bad behavior.
flybynuts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 12:03 PM   #6  
Da Hudge
 
80ktsClamp's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Oct 2006
Position: Poodle Whisperer
Posts: 16,868
Default

This reeks of late '90's yahoo chain mail. Forward it to 20 friends or Smisek will eat your puppy!

Last edited by vagabond; 02-16-2015 at 12:45 PM. Reason: typo :)
80ktsClamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 12:27 PM   #7  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Jul 2007
Posts: 768
Default

What if I don't have a puppy?
myoface is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 02:42 PM   #8  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Jul 2010
Position: window seat
Posts: 9,616
Default

I had to LOL when he said
Quote:
"Why is it that a far tighter oligopoly of domestic airlines than before deregulation mimics each other’s race to the bottom in labor and consumer relations, instead of mimicking better practices by Southwest Airlines with a far more consistent record of profits and no layoffs?"
He's semi-subtly trying to partially play the populist McCarthy card of "monopolies" while completely ignoring the many billions that have been invested into fleets, infrastructure and employee compensation improvements. All of which do need more attention/money, but the traveling public has never gotten more for less than they do today relatively speaking. He also neglected to mention the billions spent paying down debt to save many hundreds of millions per year.

The SWA nonsense is completely out of context as well. If he were talking about their long ago written pilot scope clause I'd have to agree with him, but I doubt he even knows much about that. Labor at SWA is trending downward and costs are creeping up.

Nader was surfing the populist wave of the Alinsky method before Alinsky was cool. Foment populist rage over a carefully nurtured crisis, and then offer a solution to that crisis that always involves more power transferred from the people to you and your party. He's not alone in trying to do it [obviously] nor is he the best at it. But he's at least consistent.
gloopy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 02:55 PM   #9  
Line Holder
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Position: Tanker Toad
Posts: 44
Default Ralph Nader Letter

I'm on the outside at United looking in wondering if I'll ever go back (2000 hire). Not a huge Ralph fan, but he makes some good points.


Dear Mr. Smisek,
Two stories have come to public attention about your airline, which invites some serious introspection by you and your fellow executives who make millions of dollars a year.
The first appeared in the January 23, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal titled, "Suddenly Flush Airlines Debate How to Use Cash." The article posed the choices: for increased services for consumers and reduced fares; for investors to cut debt and buy back stock. There was no indication of a cash dividend increase. Then this paragraph: "United returned $320 million to shareholders last year through share repurchases, and it said Thursday it could accelerate its buybacks with extra cash flow." Stock buybacks -- really a poor use of productive capital -- are favored by executive suites as a way to elevate executive compensation compared to cash dividends.
Now comes the second story that was not so widely publicized. Your subordinates have been instructed to outsource 2,000 union jobs under a vendor bidding process that you will throw against your loyal skilled workers to match, or else. Twenty-eight stations at airports are affected in this round. You hope to save $2.7 million out of the pay of long-time United Airlines workers (many who make $15 per hour and benefits) on the tarmac at dawn or dusk, and rain, snow or shine.
Do these two stories prod you to wonder what's going on in your monetized mind that excludes common decency and elemental labor management relations? Do you think that vendors' lower paid, inexperienced labor pool is not going to cause you problems down the road?
And does a merged airline (with Continental) planning more unproductive stock buybacks to pile on the $320 million in 2014 have any qualms squeezing 2,000 already hard-pressed workers with families out of $2.7 million (not to mention other similar plans, past and future), astonishingly at a time of record profits? Squeezing appears to be your corporate policy tool for your passengers as well -- for example, squeezing their leg room, squeezing them by innumerable fees and penalties, and squeezing their time by delays on the phone in responding to their questions.
Why is it that a far tighter oligopoly of domestic airlines than before deregulation mimics each other's race to the bottom in labor and consumer relations, instead of mimicking better practices by Southwest Airlines with a far more consistent record of profits and no layoffs? Does this perverse behavior also make you wonder?
Mr. Smisek, you're pushing the envelopes in ways that reflect a power trip -- that is if you can get away with it, you will. At this point I am reminded of the courteous UAL of the Sixties, Seventies and early Eighties with services and attentiveness, with a fine record of domestic maintenance standards. That history should provide you with some contemplation about the role of top management over the years.
Consider this advice: drop the risky outsourcing; treat your employees as Southwest does; and stop ratcheting up the fees for baggage, changes of reservations, etc. Unless, that is, you believe that customer backlash, investigations by media and lawmakers and lower job gratification are not anywhere on your horizon.
Your response is welcomed.
Sincerely,
Ralph Nader
Plunder Hound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2015, 03:02 PM   #10  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Packrat's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Nov 2013
Position: 7th green
Posts: 3,934
Default

So you all think its better for the airlines to spend millions on stock buybacks instead of improved medical, improved retirement and/or improved pay for the employees? Is that right?
Packrat is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
 

 
Reply
 



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Letter from MEC Jumpseat Committee, July 8, 2008 WatchThis! Regional 63 07-11-2008 09:52 AM
DALPA on DAL/NWA BigGuns Mergers and Acquisitions 50 04-19-2008 05:22 AM
Delta ALPA MEC Chairman's Letter WatchThis! Mergers and Acquisitions 2 04-14-2008 07:25 PM
LEC 22 Nominated Rep Letter and Endorsements Micro Cargo 0 10-30-2007 02:51 PM
UAL ALPA letter to Tilton WatchThis! Hangar Talk 1 05-30-2007 03:27 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:35 PM.


vBulletin® v3.9.3.5, Copyright ©2000-2019, MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Website Copyright ©2000 - 2017 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1