This has not been the best of times for United Airlines, and its merger with Continental has not proved much useful – something United CEO Oscar Munoz is willing and ready to change, most especially as it concerns disgruntled employees and disappointed flying customers.
Since CEO Munoz took over on September 8, he has embarked on a series of steps to win back the employees and improve customer relations. Munoz is not deceiving himself that it will be an easy task, but he disclosed the problems bedeviling the company did not start in a day and that the company is ready to do all it requires to win customer and employee respect in the industry.
Chronic delays, computer outages, dissatisfied workers, frustrated customers, and a host of other problems are confronting the company, and this among investigations into the public agency that operates its Newark airport hub led to the unceremonious disengagement of ex-CEO Jeff Smisek.
Munoz commenced his tenure by offering a public apology to all about the fact that United has not been taking proper care of both customers and employees; saying the management is set to improve things and win the approval of all again – to the point of exceeding the expectations of all.
Although the merger between United and Continental seemed to have worsened things and produced fuming employees, Munoz asks for more time to fix things and streamline the operations of the airline.
To this end, advertisements were published in 13 national publications across the country, including The Denver Post, not to mention the fact that a new website, UnitedAirtime.com, was unveiled to allow air passengers and employees offer feedback to the company.
56-year-old Munoz said he continues to hold talks with United’s 85,000 employees, and meeting with the 12-member board which includes two labor leaders representing the unionized workers to forge a way ahead for the airline. In fact, he said he is calling a meeting for October 15 to address issues faced by flight attendants and mechanics who still work under separate agreements reached by predecessors of the airline.
Considering the fact that United’s merger with Continental hasn’t been too rewarding, that of rival Delta Airlines which reached a merger two year earlier had been much better. And integration at American Airlines Group which occurred December 2015 made the merger create the world’s largest carrier.
United disclosed via an online message to staffers that it held a talk with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters over a two-week period and reached positive agreements on healthcare, sick time, and work hours. The message was made available on unitednegotiations.com, and it showed that United promised to raise incomes for employees.
Representing 9,000 maintenance technicians and other support workers, Teamster made a statement to reflect the position of things: “Delta and American are setting the pace, and United is dragging its feet,” Teamsters negotiator Clacy Griswold said. “We hoped to see a change in the airline’s attitude toward its workers under the new leadership of CEO Oscar Munoz, but that has yet to be seen.”