United MEC Responds to Chicago Tribune

Response to "Why government bailouts for United and Boeing are a bad idea."


Chicago Tribune Editorial Board,

In your recent editorial “Why government bailouts for United and Boeing are a bad idea,” you claim that the recently enacted rescue package will play favorites, especially among major corporations. What you fail to realize is that this financial relief package overwhelmingly supports individuals, small businesses, and state/local government, which make up most of the recipients.

In 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent $49.5 billion to bail out bankrupt GM, a single company that currently employs 96,000 in the United States. Five years later, the net result from the government intervention was an $11.2 billion loss. The loss alone was nearly three times the total amount of funding United will receive. In your November 2018 editorial “What's good for GM, and its employees, is making steady profits,” you celebrated that outcome and now dismiss aid to an equally if not more important industry.

The CARES act received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in the House and Senate because aviation is the only true global transportation network. Airlines
are essential for worldwide business and tourism and also play a vital role in facilitating economic growth. United employees not only connect people, we connect economies. Our contributions strengthen the nation and America’s business sector by providing necessary access to global markets. While we normally focus on providing travel for both business and leisure, today our survival is vital to national security. Our airline is needed to not only ensure the safe transportation of healthcare and other essential workers but goods as well. With this support, United’s employees will once again be ready to answer the call to help rebuild our economy once COVID-19 is defeated.

In 2019, the airline industry contributed more than $1.7 trillion in economic activity and more than 10 million jobs. United is one of ten airlines receiving a lifeline to stay in business from the federal government. Without financial assistance, the entire U.S. air travel system will be grounded. In addition to further crippling global commerce and the economy, hundreds of thousands of airline employees will lose their jobs.

You made the right decision supporting GM (in your 2018 editorial) and you should likewise stand with United and America’s other airlines during this crisis.


Capt. Todd Insler

MEC Master Chairman

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The United Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Air Line Pilots Association, International is the governing body that represents over 13,000 United Airlines pilots. The MEC, related committee members, and professional staff work to protect and promote the careers of United pilots, concentrating on safety, pay, working conditions, benefits, and job security. The United MEC is composed of member-elected representatives from New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Guam, and the Training Center in Denver. Local pilot volunteers form the backbone of our committee structure, and full-time ALPA staff round out our team with legal, administrative, and communications support. As the formal collective bargaining agent for United pilots, the MEC is charged with negotiating pilot contracts and promoting airline safety and security. ALPA’s motto, “Schedule with Safety,” guides the work we do every day. The initiatives of United ALPA volunteers have directly resulted in many of the safety features found in today’s modern aircraft and airports. Our contract, the United Pilot Agreement, sets the industry standard for compensation and work rules that ensure the long-term viability of the airline piloting profession.


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