United Maintenance Technicians send a Message to Shareholders, “Contract NOW”
On June 10, over 100 UAL / IBT members gathered at Willis Tower in Chicago in a show of strength and unity to demonstrate frustration with the Company's lack of urgency in negotiating the promised industry-leading contract for United Technicians. The picketers were so loud and boisterous at 233 Wacker Drive that they could be heard in the shareholders meeting being held 10 stories above. They were so raucous that they could be heard all the way to Lake Michigan, according to reports of passersby.
Several of the demonstrators also attended the shareholders meeting. These Teamsters accounted for roughly half of the total attendees at the meeting. Several of the Teamster members in attendance asked questions of Jeff Smisek and the Board of Directors, related to the Company’s finances, governance, and operations. Canned answers were given and were of no meaningful substance. Meeting attendees believed this action by the Company showed blatant disrespect for its technician workforce. Mr. Smisek promised additional time for questions at the end of the meeting but, contrary to that promise, he and the BOD cut short the promised Q&A and unceremoniously walked out of the room to jeers from the IBT represented share owners.
The demonstration and shareholders meeting activities were coordinated; and advice given, by Carin Zalenko and Louis Malizia of the IBT Capital Strategies Division, who held a pre-rally meeting on June 9 that lasted several hours to prepare those that would be asking questions at the shareholder meeting.
In a press release prior to the event, rank and file negotiator John Laurin, a 29-year United Airlines maintenance technician; explained the need for the protest by saying, “as employees and shareholders of this company, we have a long-term interest in the success of the airline and it’s time for management to do the right thing and offer us a well-deserved, industry-leading contract.”
“I would like to thank all those who attended the event” said Division Representative Bob Fisher. “In addition, I would like to also thank the Local Principal Officers for doing whatever it took to get their members to the event in such large numbers.”
Future activities and demonstrations are being planned and will be announced when finalized. Rank and file member cell phone videos of the June 10 demonstration are posted at:
To view press coverage of this event, click the links below:
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