Lawmakers Outraged by United Attack

United flight attendants and retirees, represented by the Association of
Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, took to Capitol Hill on Wednesday and
Thursday to inform lawmakers about United Airlines` plan to renege on its
agreement to provide affordable healthcare for retirees who left the
company prior to July 1, 2003.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said, “United flight attendants,
who`ve sacrificed to keep the airline flying, can rest assured that many
of us in Congress will not stand idly by while United reneges on its
agreement. This is no way for an airline that has received billions of
taxpayer dollars from Congress to treat some of its most dedicated and
loyal employees who supported the airline during difficult financial
“This country must start honoring our retirees, and United`s attempt to
double-cross American workers is wrong and cannot be allowed,” Congressman
Joe Hoeffel (D-PA) said. “Allowing a big corporation like United to hurt
more retirees could spark an unjust and wrongheaded domino effect that
could impact retirees and workers across the entire airline industry.”

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 of what 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.

Over the past two days, flight attendants have gotten commitments from
several legislators to call or write letters to United CEO Glenn Tilton
and tell him to stop the company`s plan to violate the company`s agreement
with retirees.


“The positive response from legislators has been overwhelming,” United AFA
Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch said. “House leaders
have recognized that United has targeted their recent retirees in a scheme
to dupe thousands of workers into early retirement.”

Meetings with Senators will be rescheduled once the Senate office
buildings reopen.

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