A message from Oscar: Standing up for what's right, for each other
Dear United team,
Whether it's equal pay or access to education, parity with regard to leadership at the top of corporations or government, our society will only progress as far and fast as our sisters and daughters enjoy the same rights, respect and opportunities as our brothers and sons. At United, we know we can't be the company we want and need to be unless we make the best of all our colleagues' energy and skills by promoting diversity and equality throughout our ranks, from our officer corps to the front line. Achieving this goal is a journey, not a destination itself, and while we know we have further to go, this is something I am personally committed to and have prioritized for our officer team.
Treating one another with common decency and respect, especially in the workplace -- that's simply table stakes and should be the expectation everywhere. Unfortunately, as we know, in too many places it is the exception, not the expectation it ought to be. So, we must endeavor to make further progress.
And that progress has indeed been advanced, more powerfully recently as we've finally begun to have an honest and long overdue national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace. That we are only now beginning to come to terms with the full magnitude of this problem -- in this day and age -- is galling and should incite us all to raise our voices on behalf of our shared values.
I want to applaud one voice in particular that was raised yesterday. Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, released an op-ed in the Washington Post about sexual harassment in the airline industry. I want to add my voice to hers, along with a chorus of more than 90,000 United team members around the world, who adamantly believe that sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society -- including, and especially, in our industry and on our aircraft.
As Sara wrote in her piece yesterday, when it comes to our flight attendants, they have a special responsibility to serve all our customers while ensuring the highest levels of safety. Therefore, we have a special responsibility to them to ensure they can do their essential work in the most positive environment possible. We also need to understand that this obligation transcends gender. Indeed, this issue affects everyone; therefore, all of us have a role to play.
When you join the United team, or when you board a United flight, you can be sure that by doing so you are expressing your support of a company that backs up our words with our actions. There is no place for sexual harassment at United, and I am asking that you all join with me in making a commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment of any of our colleagues and customers.
But, again, this is only table stakes. The real question is how we cultivate an environment where all members of the United family can thrive and bring their whole selves to their work. This past week, I visited with leaders of uIMPACT, our women's business resource group, who have been doing great work to answer exactly that question. From refining the way we hire and promote talent to our family-centric policies, there are a lot of concrete ways that United can lead the way on these issues. More important than a change in policies is a change in mindset: one where we listen to one another, seek to understand rather than simply be understood ourselves, and realize the many ways - both subtle and overt - that each of us acts in ways that don't fully make us part of the solution.
This is not only a women's issue. It goes beyond distinctions of gender or class or race. It is an issue that affects all of us. And, therefore all of us need to be part of the conversation.
I, for one, am looking forward to participating in this conversation -- listening more than speaking -- in order to ensure that our policies reflect our values, that everyone feels empowered to report issues when they occur, and that we can live up to our principles and our potential.
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