The day after United reported an eye-popping $609 million loss for the first quarter of 2014, members of Local Executive Council 5, the airline’s largest pilots union, distributed a strongly-worded letter questioning the competence of United’s top managers, including CEO Jeff Smisek, and calling for their dismissal.
Among the contents of the letter, as reported by The Street, which received a copy of the memo:
“It’s time to find a new CEO who understands how to run an airline, not just make excuses for his failures.”
“No one else has a greater financial stake in United Airlines than the collective stake of our pilots. Our careers should not be jeopardized by the worst senior management in the airline industry.”
“We have absolutely zero confidence in the ability of present management to lead a turnaround.”
“It is time to demand leadership that is actively engaged in employee morale, operational excellence, and service quality, which will always drive revenue far higher. United should be the industry leading airline. That will never happen under present management.”
Long term, the pilots’ call for a shake-up could help the airline regain its focus and realize its considerable potential as one of the country’s largest airlines.
But change isn’t likely to come about quickly, or painlessly. In the meantime, the escalating tensions between United’s managers and workers can only be a negative for the airline’s customers.
Reader Reality Check
Have you seen a falloff in the morale of United employees?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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