San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek) today expressed relief that United Airlines' CEO Glen Tilton has pledged to keep United's employees at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) if the United/Continental merger moves forward. Tilton made the commitment in response to a question asked by Congressman Garamendi at a House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on the merger held yesterday.
"San Francisco International Airport and United Airlines are major employers and economic drivers for the Bay Area and they will continue to be even after a United/Continental merger," said Mayor Newsom, who is in Shanghai this week, joined by United Airlines officials and many others, to mark the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister-City relationship. "Amidst a continuing recession, United's commitment not to move further jobs or facilities out of San Francisco is an important boost for the long-term growth of our regional economy and SFO."
"The history of airline mergers coincides with thousands of layoffs as companies find "synergies' in their merged workforces," said Congressman Garamendi. "It's good that United has pledged to keep their employees at SFO, and we'll be watching to make sure they keep their commitment."
"I am hopeful that this new era of corporate responsibility is real, and Mr. Tilton can be assured that we're going to hold his feet to the fire," said Congresswoman Speier, whose district includes SFO. "United's hard-working employees have punched in day and night for over two generations at the facility. They've kept us safe, and they've made the company and the airport what they are today."
At the hearing, Garamendi cited the off-shoring of maintenance work previously done in America to China, Singapore, and the Philippines as an example of jobs lost by past airline mergers. He asked CEO Tilton about United's Bay Area-based labor force specifically to put on record United's commitment to keep its jobs in the region.
United Airlines and United Express represent about 41 percent of all airport traffic at SFO. Continental represents about 3.5 percent of all Airport traffic at SFO. United employs 9,151 people at SFO