United Pauses Lottery-Style Employee Bonus Rollout

United Pauses Lottery-Style Employee Bonus Rollout

United Airlines president has issued the following letter to employees addressing the company’s decision to hold off on changes to the airline’s employee bonus program:

Dear United colleagues,

Since announcing our planned changes to the quarterly operations incentive program, we have listened carefully to the feedback and concerns you’ve expressed.

Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you.

So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead. We will be reaching out to workgroups across the company and the changes we make will better reflect your feedback.


United recently announced changes to its employee bonus program which included the introduction of a lottery-style rewards system. Put mildly, the reaction from employees was not very enthusiastic.

Facebook chats exploded and online petitions started racking up hundreds of signatures within minutes of the announcement by United president Scott Kirby, who moved to United from American in 2016.

Unions representing United’s employees, which have seen a dramatically improved relationship with management following the arrival of CEO Oscar Munoz, took the opportunity to remind United executives of the high stakes involved in making such a drastic change and to share feedback from their members.

Ken Diaz, AFA president at United Airlines:

“These bonuses were created by management long ago as an extra incentive for operational performance. They are not contractually negotiated and this is not in any way related to the contractually required profit sharing payments. However, the new United has been built on the principle of ‘shared purpose’ and it only makes sense that the fruits of that united effort would mean shared reward. With this move, there’s no doubt management has succeeded in achieving a united voice with all employees, but that voice is entirely opposed to and offended by this new ‘select’ bonus program. Being ‘caring’ cannot be choosy.”

We look forward to United’s final decision.



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