United Airlines Announces Lottery to Replace Bonuses

"Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program", United Airlines president Scott Kirby said in an internal memo Monday.

FBN's Tracee Carrasco on United Airlines' plans to replace its employee bonuses with a chance to win prizes.

When United first unveiled its plans for the program, called "core4 Score Rewards", the airline said it hoped offering meaningful rewards would "build excitement and a sense of accomplishment with more bang for the buck".

United spokesperson Maddie King told CBS News, "we announced the new program on Friday, and quickly responded to employee feedback the next business day".

Every quarter, that new program would offer a single grand prize of $100,000 to a single employee, along with 10 Mercedes C-Class sedans, big vacation packages and cash bonuses of between $2,000 and $5,000.

The dust-up over the bonus lottery showed that United is struggling to overcome a legacy of poor labor relations since its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines. Over 1,000 employees would win these prizes per quarter if certain operational criteria were met, according to the initial announcement sent to employees and obtained by ABC News.

Facebook ends test of two news feeds
Facebook has reversed a controversial change to its news feed, amid fears it was upsetting and misleading the site's users. A different version of the feed was available in the rest of the world, and it will also be discontinued this week.

The lottery would have caused a majority of the airline's 90,000 workers to lose bonuses that paid up to $1,500 over the course of the year. This time, however, they are in the news for replacing their employee bonus system with a lottery system, according to reports. "While we were surprised by some of the components of the program, there is no part of the reaction by flight attendants and other employees that surprises us".

The rewards program also drew ire in more public social-media forms, with some taking to Twitter to question the logic behind it.

The carrier employs about 88,000 people around the world.

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

So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead. "We're going to pause this and make sure we gather employee feedback to create a program that excites our employees to continue running a great operation".

Deb Garbor, chief executive of Sol Marketing, says United executives "clearly didn't think through their how employees might react, and they didn't hold their own corporate culture in high regard".

  • Ronnie Bowen