CHICAGO and HOUSTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Captain Wendy Morse United Master Executive Council, Air Line Pilots Association, International and Captain Jay Pierce, Chairman, Continental Master Executive Council, Air Line Pilots Association, International:
"Today, United Airlines and Continental Airlines officially closed on the merger that creates the world's largest airline. We congratulate the Company for this milestone in our airline's history and recognize the celebratory mood as the new CEO and other company officials make the rounds to hubs across the system to mark the occasion.
"While the jovial mood of the new United management team is understandable, the pilots of the combined airline are not yet ready to celebrate. We will welcome the true closing of the merger, which will happen only after a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) with the pilots is achieved and the two pilot groups are combined. Then and only then will management be able to call this merger a success and realize the advertised synergies.
"It is too soon for celebration today over a corporate merger closing. We must remind the new United management that absent a pilot contract ratified by the pilots of both airlines, United will not achieve the touted synergies from this merger. Negotiations between the Joint Negotiating Committee and the Company continue and, to this point, are moving forward. But much work remains.
"No issue carries more weight than scope and the cessation of outsourcing. The pilots of Continental and United Airlines believe the time is right to correct the wrongs of the past with solutions that benefit our pilots. We believe it is our responsibility, to our pilots and to our passengers, to remind management that the business of an airline is to fly – not to outsource flying to the lowest bidder or to merely act as a ticket agent. When customers choose an airline, they rightly expect to receive service from that airline, with pilots employed and trained by that airline at the controls.
"Airline pilots throughout the world are taking notice of our stance and fight for job and scope protections. The industry is watching. The sooner management recognizes our determination and resilience regarding the protection of our jobs, the sooner they can enjoy the real fruits of this merger. It's time for a new beginning, a clean slate for United Airlines, for the pilots and for our passengers. We look forward to being able to join the new CEO and his management team in celebrating the new United Airlines. We will reserve our celebration for when the job is done and we have a JCBA in place that rewards the skill, training and responsibilities of our pilots and rightly returns flying to our airline. Until that time, management will be celebrating alone."
SOURCE United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association; Continental Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association