Guam Pulls Together to Fight Cancer - United Hub
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Guam pulls together to fight cancer

By Pete Rapalus, June 26, 2017

As our 900 United employees based there can attest, Guam is a tight-knit community — just over 160,000 people on an island 30 miles long — and the community really pulls together to help one another.

"It seems as though everybody knows everybody on Guam, and unfortunately that also means we all know loved ones and friends and neighbors who are battling cancer or who passed away because of it," said International HR Manager Alethea Flores, co-captain of the volunteer effort behind the 12th annual United Plane Pull – "Towing the Line to Save Lives."

Alethea, her co-captain Micronesia Sales Senior Manager Paula Monk, and a cast of hundreds from all United departments and many business partners worked for months to prepare for June 24's event, which attracted 2,500 people to our maintenance hangar at Guam. A total of 43 teams took part, each getting two chances to pull a Boeing 737-800 12 feet down the ramp. United fielded four teams — one from Guam Ramp Service, another from Japan, one made up of employees from South China, and another from our United Express partner Cape Air.

United Team Japan

The quickest time, 4.61 seconds, was posted by men's division team FD (Fire Department) All Stars sponsored by Moylan's NetCare. The fastest co-ed team was the Department of Defense Team 1 sponsored by DZSP 21, with a time of 4.66 seconds. The real heavy lifting, however, took much longer than seconds.

"Planning has been going on for months, and as usual the final weeks and days were hectic," Paula noted. "But we've got a lot of experience arranging these large community events, and we're fortunate on Guam to have so many who are willing to volunteer and put in all that extra time for a good cause."

The Tech Ops team that services Boeing 737s and 777s and provides field services for charters and special flights such as those to remote Western Pacific islands handled most of the logistics.

Because the hangar is the primary venue for the event, including the elaborate Opening Ceremonies with a full-blown Parade of Teams, aircraft that would normally be worked on there are relocated outside for a couple of days.

"This weekend we have another 737 that needs some sheet metal work done, and it can't wait, so I have a team that's working on that airplane right now over there in the hot sun," said Guam Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano, pointing to where the aircraft was parked. "They really deserve credit for that, and for missing out on all the fun everyone else is having."

The week prior to the event was particularly challenging for Tech Ops as it made preparations. Planners usually adjust the schedule so that the hangar is not needed during the event, but days before the event the crews were dealing with more aircraft out of service than usual. Thanks to teamwork and extra effort, the team was able to clear all the aircraft with the exception of the one needing the sheet metal work.

Cape Air team pulling

Tech Ops also provided employees to stand by the plane taking part in the plane pull: They were in the cockpit riding brakes, driving the tractor that repositioned the plane after each two pulls, and hooking and unhooking the tow ropes. We also had employees standing by to monitor the safety and security of the event, and two from our on-site clinic to provide first aid. Others kept the teams on schedule with military precision, as each went from check-in through briefing and safety reminders, posed in front of the 737 for team photos, did the pulls, then went back to the hangar to cheers from supporters.

Clarissa Perez, senior manager of our Guam Inflight base, served again as emcee of the event, keeping the crowd updated and entertained while results were posted in real time on a giant LED screen behind the stage. Local musicians and dancers performed, there were jump houses and other attractions for children and a wide array of refreshments.

Towing the Line to Save Lives raised at least $25,800 from pull team registrations; that figure will grow once raffle ticket and other sales are added. Proceeds are split 50/50 between the American Cancer Society and Guam Cancer Care.

"This is yet another example of why I enjoy living and working here so much," said 737 Captain Trond Einemo, who was supplying each 20-person team with gloves to wear while tugging at the heavy tow ropes. "People from all departments come out on this hot Saturday to support the community and we're all having a great time doing it."

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

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