United Attendants Announce Legal Action

At a press conference at Chicago`s O`Hare airport today, United Airlines
flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight
Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, announced they are undertaking a major legal,
lobbying, advertising, passenger outreach and media campaign to stop
United Airlines from cheating its retirees out of promised health
insurance benefits.

“We intend to make sure that everyone knows that UniTED has cheaTED
thousands of workers out of retirement benefits earned after decades of
dedicated service to our airline,” United AFA Master Executive Council
President Greg Davidowitch said. “We will be lobbying on Capitol Hill,
we`ll be talking to passengers, advertising in newspapers, on billboards
and buses, flight attendants will be hounding United management at their
public events and leafleting and picketing at airports in cities around
the world.”

The flight attendants are also filing a motion requesting that the
bankruptcy court appoint an examiner to investigate United Airlines`
scheme to intentionally mislead thousands of flight attendants into ending
their careers and retiring early, defrauding them out of their retirement
The advertising and passenger outreach campaign`s concept “cheaTED” was
revealed at today`s press conference at O`Hare Airport in Chicago followed
by passenger leafleting, picketing and media events at nine of United`s
hub cities across the country, including: Denver, Los Angeles, Miami,
Newark, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.

“United has spent millions marketing Ted as a new, innovative, happy
airline—but it`s not,” Davidowitch said. “These contract violations and
double-cross tactics show that there is nothing new at United. Labor
management relations are back to historical lows and the promise of a new
United is gone. Through this attack on retirees, management has proven
that what Ted really stands for is cheated.”

Retired and active flight attendants are taking their fight to Capitol
Hill on Feb. 4 and 5 to inform legislators about United management`s
duplicitous attempt to hide behind the bankruptcy court to renege on their
promise to retirees. The proposed changes were not a part of United`s
restructuring agreement and are not necessary for the airline`s successful
reorganization, but they will devastate thousands of retirees.


United management signed a letter of agreement in May 2003 to ensure that
flight attendants retiring before July 1, 2003 would have access to health
care benefits that were less costly and more comprehensive than those that
would be in place for workers who retire after that date. Based on that
agreement, almost 2,500 flight attendants retired before the July 1
deadline, only to find out just six months later that United intends to
double-cross them by cutting their benefits and raising their costs.

Under United`s plan, retirees will have to pay up to $650 per month for
less health care—more than 10 times more than they pay now for better
health benefits—and there is no cap on contributions as health care
costs climb each year. For retirees on incomes that average about $1,200 a
month, these cuts will be devastating.

“Although not prepared emotionally or financially to retire, the risks of
my critical illness and not being able to afford my healthcare weighed
heavily on me and was ultimately THE deciding factor to take early
retirement,” said Eileen Bugbee, a recently retired flight attendant who
is battling colon cancer. “I am facing additional surgery and if United
Airlines is legally successful in reneging on its word and forcing flight
attendants who retired prior to July 1, 2003, to suffer additional
insurance costs, I cannot continue to live on my limited fixed income.”

Eileen`s story will be featured in an advertisement in the Washington, DC
newspaper Roll Call on Wednesday, Feb. 4, as United retirees and active
employees make visits to lawmakers. It will be the first in a series of
ads around the country that dramatically tell the personal stories of
United retirees who will suffer at the hands of United`s callousness.

Log on to http://www.unitedafa.org/ to read the hundreds of personal
stories retirees have submitted to the union`s website about the effects
the benefit changes will have on their lives.

More than 46,000 flight attendants, including the 21,000 flight attendants
at United, join together to form AFA, the world`s largest flight attendant
union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of
America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at http://www.unitedafa.org/.