The Value of a Strike Fund

As we vote on whether to create a Strike Fund specific to United Airlines Flight Attendants - with a $3.75 dues increase - some have asked for more details on why we need a strike fund at all, and what having one will mean for our negotiations.

Some of the reasons for the fund are obvious. In the event of a strike, strikers face a potential loss of wages. Even when we are all making personal preparations in advance of a strike - paying down credit cards, avoiding major purchases, etc. - a sudden loss of income can create hardships for some. A strike fund is meant to help our strikers survive such hardships, and it’s a show of support and Solidarity for their courage in going out on strike.

Nothing undermines strike Solidarity more than the accumulation of financial hardships, forcing members to make difficult financial choices. Just when everyone needs to stay focused on doing Whatever It Takes! we cannot afford to let financial concerns sidetrack us.

A strike fund also has great strategic value. Creating the fund will show management - in a way far more concrete than any picket sign - that we mean business and we’re preparing to strike. We’re preparing to back our strikers with our own hard earned money. Without a strike fund management can more easily speculate that we’re bluffing. They know what it means to have a financial punch behind our strike threat.

A strike fund is no small matter for those who strike. It’s a tangible way for all of us to demonstrate that “we’re with you, we’ve got your back.” No strike is risk free, but with a strong strike fund we can reduce the risk, and give everyone the confidence that our entire community of Flight Attendants stands as one with our strikers.

Even as we continue work with the mediator to get a Contract without having to resort to self help, we must be prepared to take all legal action necessary to get the Contract we have earned. The best way to avoid a strike in the end, is to be completely and utterly prepared for one so our negotiators will be bargaining from a position of strength. We prepare for a strike both as a means to execute a successful strike, should it become necessary, and as means to demonstrate to management that we are not only willing, we are ready to do Whatever It Takes!

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