ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS AFL-CIO
United Airlines Cargo Centre,
Shoreham Road East,
Hounslow TW6 3RD United Kingdom.
As the elected union representative of 900 cabin crew working for United Air Lines at Heathrow, I would like to offer thanks to you and OutRage! for your actions concerning spousal benefits for the partners of gay employees at United.
It has been a long-standing objective of mine to achieve these benefits for all employees with partners. During 1992, we assisted a Heathrow-based gay member of United’s staff who was a Dutch national living in Holland with his partner. We attempted to secure partnership rights for him through both internal grievance procedures and a Dutch Tribunal: but the company resisted at every turn! Since 1992 we have tried to achieve gay spousal benefits through negotiations: but again the company continues to resist.
Your interpretation of United’s stance in San Francisco is spot on! The legal action by United in San Francisco is merely a ruse and a diversion to disguise United’s long-term opposition to gay partnership benefits. This opposition predates the current legal action by at least five years. Moreover, it is absolutely incredulous that United believes itself to be exempt from local laws. I dare say that some ‘local’ judge in San Francisco may think differently. Regardless, United’s rationale that it is not discriminatory against gay employees is shallow and deceptive. Unied correctly claims that its policy offers partnership benefits to married people only. This policy is, of course, inherently discriminatory since the entire community of gay employees are excluded, as only heterosexuals have the option of marriage. United refuses to recognise this truth.
While United claims to be reviewing its policy, this company does not traditionally make policy changes such as this willingly. Whether it is the pressure of adverse publicity of the economic impact of a boycott, United tends to respond to pressures involving loss of revenue or increased costs.
We shall all hope that pressures from many different angles will cause United to see the wisdom of amending its policy to be inclusive, rather than exclusive. I do hope that you are successful in convincing many of United’s potential customers to write to United’s CEO, Mr. Jerry Greenwald, to express their concern that United maintains this antiquated policy.
Kevin P. Creighan
Association of Flight Attendants
Council 07 — London Heathrow Airport
OutRage!, with the support of the Association of Flight Attendants, is continuing to urge everyone to alert their local gay press and and gay rights organisations about the Boycott United campaign, so we can exert pressure on the airline right across Europe. We are also requesting people to write a letter of protest to the Head of United, Worldwide:
South Perimeter Road,
or to his USA HQ:
1200, Algonquin Road,
P.O. Box 66100,
Update — 30-August-1997
Over 30 trade journals and magazines serving the U.K. travel industry and business community have now been alerted to the conflict at United Airlines.