A Last Chance to Say Goodbye - United Hub

A last chance to say goodbye

By Gladys Roman

Customer Kelly Hoover was living her worst nightmare. She was traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada to Cleveland, Ohio to see her dying father on January 28.

"The night before, I was talking on the phone with him for about 15 minutes, and then my mom told me something was wrong with him, that he wasn't responding," remembered Mrs. Hoover. "So I told my mom to call 911, and she got him to the hospital really quick. The next morning I got a call from one of my brothers telling me that my dad had had a heart attack, and doctors were saying he wasn't going to make it."

Mrs. Hoover immediately booked a flight from Las Vegas, connecting in Chicago before arriving in Cleveland, but she was traveling at the same time the polar vortex was impacting the Midwest, disrupting many of our flights, including hers. Her flight was diverted to Indianapolis, and there was a big possibility she wasn't going to make it in time to see her father and say goodbye.

Customer Kelly Hoover and her father

Desperate to get to her destination, Mrs. Hoover shared her story with one of the flight attendants, who in response connected her with Cleveland-based Airport Communications Technician Gregg Wirth, who she knew was traveling with his wife Debbie after visiting their son and grandchildren in Las Vegas. The Wirths were contemplating driving to Cleveland, and once they learned about Mrs. Hoover's situation, they didn't hesitate to offer her a ride and take her straight to the hospital.

"I hadn't slept for 24 hours and was very stressed and in no condition to drive," said Mrs. Hoover. "Gregg and Debbie were like angels that God placed for me, because He knew I needed to get to my dad to get that final closure with him."

For Gregg and Debbie, helping Mrs. Hoover, even though they didn't know her, was simply the right thing to do. "It was just humane," said Gregg. "My wife is a nurse, and she was comforting her the entire way. We took her right up to the hospital where we arrived right after 2 a.m."

"Because of Gregg and Debbie, I was able to spend seven hours with my dad by myself," said Mrs. Hoover. "I was able to hold his hand until my brothers came and we decided to take him off life support after the doctors told us we didn't have a lot of options."

Although, Mrs. Hoover is still grieving her loss, she finds comfort in knowing that she found two great friends during what she will always remember as one of the saddest days of her life.

"I'll always treasure that time that I got with my dad thanks to Gregg and Debbie," Mrs. Hoover added. "Today, I'm happy to call them my friends, and, coincidentally, their son lives a few blocks from my house, which is one of the reasons why I think they're angels God sent me."

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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