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United Airlines Replaces Employee Bonus with Lottery System; Angers Employees

United Airlines Replaces Employee Bonus with Lottery System; Angers Employees”

Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you.

United President Scott Kirby wrote in a memo to employees that the carrier was "pressing the pause button" on unpopular changes to its merit bonus system that would scrap quarterly performance bonuses in favor of lottery drawings for cash prizes, luxury cars and vacation packages.

USA carrier United Airlines has suspended plans to implement a lottery bonus system.

While the bonuses were discretionary and not part of any contract, "it starts to become a counted-on piece of income, and now that income might not be there", said Mike Klemm, whose International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents around 28,000 United employees.

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That's because, as the Chicago Business Journal reports, the announcement came in a memo that also informed employees that quarterly performance bonuses were being done away with. Instead, it would pay $100,000 to one employee selected at random and smaller bonuses of $2,000 or $5,000 in cash, vacations, or prizes to about 1,300 or more. Of roughly 500 comments I read, four were positive (and three of those were from the company's vice president for human resources, responding to the negative comments).

One of the comments made by unhappy employees focused on the timeliness that United Airlines has been able to achieve over the last two years; as the most reliable airline operating in the United States, switching to a lottery system for the goal of rewarding employees who make this reliability possible does not make sense. Employees are said to be pretty displeased with the new approach.

"I can't imagine driving the Mercedes into the employee lot while everyone around me that worked just as hard, or harder got nothing". The video of the incident had sparked outrage on social media. United Continental has about 88,000 employees.

Prior to Friday's announcement, all eligible United employees could receive up to about $300 per quarter, or $1,500 per year, a United spokesperson said. The report did not break out bonuses for executives and other workers.

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"So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead", the message continued.

The lottery system, with about $18 million in rewards per year available for rank-and-file workers, may have cost the company far less.

Now United says it was a 'misjudgement'.

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