United Airlines hands out profit-sharing checks in Cleveland

Date: February 14, 2011
Type: Media Article

Source: Cleveland.com
Author: Alison Grant

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- United Continental Holdings, Inc. distributed $224 million in profit-sharing to employees Monday based on 2010 profits.

"The United and Continental teams did a great job in 2010," Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United Continental Holdings, said in a statement. "Profit-sharing shows that when we work together, we win together."

However, about 9,500 Continental flight attendant nationwide, including those based in Cleveland, did not. They will receive checks -- amounting to 3.9 percent of their 2010 earnings -- if they ratify a tentative agreement reached between the company and their union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Voting on that is under way, with results expected Feb. 25.

United had 2010 net profits of $1.6 billion, excluding $765 million in special items such as costs related to the Oct. 1 merger of United and Continental. Figuring in those costs, profits last year stood at $253 million.

Many Cleveland-based employees received their profit-sharing checks at a celebration at the Continental ticket counter at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

However, about 9,500 Continental flight attendant nationwide, including those based in Cleveland, did not. They will receive checks -- amounting to 3.9 percent of their 2010 earnings -- if they ratify a tentative agreement reached between the company and their union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Voting on that is under way, with results expected Feb. 25.

Smisek visited George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Chicago O'Hare International Airport to distribute profit-sharing checks Monday.

Robbie Anderson, the Cleveland hub's former top executive, was on hand at Hopkins. He's now vice president for cargo operations at the merged United's hub in Chicago. Rich Lisser, managing director of the Cleveland hub, also took part in the Hopkins event.

Besides profit-sharing, United employees get cash payments for reaching on-time performance goals. The program pays co-workers up to $100 monthly when the airline hits targets for domestic and international on-time arrivals.

United Continental Holdings is the holding company for the merged United and Continental airlines.

Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, the airlines operate about 5,675 flights a day to 372 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington.

Southwest Airlines, the second-busiest carrier at Hopkins, also announced profit-sharing. It totaled $157 million, equal to 5.7 percent of employees' eligible compensation in 2010. Southwest also announced a $150 employee bonus "just in time for Valentine's Day."

Delta Air Lines also distributed profit-sharing payments Monday -- a total of $313 million, based on a record $1.4 billion profit for 2010.

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