United Airlines bonus program on 'pause' after worker outcry

By Economic IndicatorsFOXBusiness

United Airlines replacing bonuses with employee lottery

FBN's Tracee Carrasco on United Airlines' plans to replace its employee bonuses with a chance to win prizes.

United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) said Monday it is reconsidering its bonus plan for employees after an overwhelming number of employees ripped it apart.

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In a letter to employees seen by FOX Business, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said the company has been listening to the feedback it received since it announced its planned changes to its bonus program. As a result, the company is pressing the “pause” button in order to give the company time to “review the feedback and consider the right way to move ahead.

“Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you,” Kirby said, adding that the company would be reaching out to work groups across United Airlines and that the changes made will better reflect employee feedback.

On Thursday, the Chicago Business Journal reported that United Airlines would forgo cash bonuses and instead reward employees by entering them into a lottery in which they have the opportunity to win cash, a car or a vacation, according to the Chicago Business Journal.

According to memo received by the Chicago Business Journal, Kirby announced that the cash bonus payouts were being replaced with a new program, "core4 Score Rewards," which would include quarterly cash prizes ranging from $2,000 to $40,000, a grand prize of $100,000 per quarter, cars and vacation packages.

After the new bonus program was met with outrage by employees, the company on Monday issued a statement on the proposed bonus plan changes.

Prior to the company’s statement, an article published by Inc., highlighted some of the comments of employees on Flying Together, UAL’s employee website.

Here are some of the comments that Inc. reported.

"I would be embarrassed and mortified to win this lottery. If it was possible I wouldn't allow my name to be released and I would give my 'winnings' to the Flight Attendant AFA Cause Charity. I win at the expense of tens of thousands of fellow employees? No thanks." -- Flight Attendant

"Awful idea. [Current] bonus program has everyone pulling in the same direction with a common goal. This is scratching a lottery ticket..." --Captain - B-737

"I can't imagine driving the Mercedes into the employee lot while everyone around me that worked just as hard, or harder got nothing. I would feel like such a jerk. It's quite telling about the people who thought this up. I bet they would be gloating happily if they won." --Flight Attendant – Domestic

"It felt like we had just gotten to a place where employee morale was up. It took so many years for people to feel good about what was happening. In one fell swoop, it is crushed again. ... Please rethink this decision." --Customer Service Representative

The company noted a requirement for ‘perfect attendance’ in order for employees to qualify for the bonus, which some employees took this to mean no sick days. “All our hard work to make this company a success if we never call in sick. I'll say sorry now to all the other employees I infect. ... This is a sad day at United."--Flight Attendant – Domestic

This is just United Airlines’ latest PR disaster. The company has been under fire for numerous missteps including dragging a passenger off the plane in April 2017.