United Airlines pilots, upset at the sluggish pace of union contract negotiations, have hired public-relations professionals and launched a social media campaign to communicate with with passengers.
According to the website Politico, pilots hired Mark Fabiani, Chris Lehane and lobbyist Jon Yarowsky “in anticipation of mounting a campaign against United Airlines.” The three worked together in the Clinton White House. “The campaign, which was discussed in a recent labor meeting in Chicago, is scheduled to be launched in conjunction with the summer travel season,” Politico reported. It “will focus on the company’s off-shoring of flights and out-sourcing of pilot jobs.”
Pilots said they have been in contract negotiations for more than two years. In an open letter to customers Thursday, pilots said they are committed to communicating with travelers about the status of contract negotiations “and any developments that could impact your travel plans.”
Jeff Smisek, United CEO, said Thursday in a public appearance in Chicago, that the airline has made progress with all its unions and that the complicated contracts take time to negotiate. He repeated that the company will not agree to a contract unless it is fair to the company and employees.