CHICAGO: An internal communications debacle looks to have been the
root cause of the resignation of James Goodwin, former CEO of United
Goodwin quit last week amid controversy surrounding an internal memo to
employees warning that the company was in danger of going under.
The International Association of Machinists and Aero-space Workers
reacted angrily to the letter, asking the company to fire Goodwin, and
accusing him of using scare tactics to force lower wages onto
"We are literally hemorrhaging money," Goodwin wrote in the letter,
which was obtained by the AP before it was distributed. "Clearly, this
bleeding has to be stopped - and soon - or United will perish sometime
The machinist union's president described the letter as "an alarmist
rant of a man who is clearly not up to the task of crisis
The Association of Flight Attendants called for Goodwin's
"It's just unthinkable that the press got hold of something like that
before it went to employees," said AFA spokesperson Dawn Deeks.
The memo was sent to senior managers before being sent out to the
employee population. Asked whether the memo had been leaked, Chris
Nardella, a United spokesperson said, "It's speculation."
Deeks said that not all employees, particularly aircraft crew, were able
to retrieve the letter from base airports while traveling. "It was very
poor communication. They all heard what Goodwin had written."
The new chairman and CEO, John Creighton, has already met with union
groups in an effort to ease tension. The Washington Post reported that
he has offered the unions access to the company's financial documents to
keep them informed about the continuing problems.
On Thursday, United announced a loss of $1.6 billion in the third
quarter, its worst in the company's history.