United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are talking about the death of George Floyd without mentioning him by name. Both carriers, one more publicly than the other, are stressing general principles of equality rather than addressing the incident directly.
Delta Air Lines: Focus On Thoughtful Action
In a note from CEO Ed Bastian published on delta.com, Bastian talks about the the juxtaposition between humans coming together to fight COVID-19 and how the death of George Floyd drove humans apart. Floyd is not mentioned by name. Instead, his death is called “the tragedy in Minneapolis”. Bastian calls upon Delta to set an example for healing wounds and treating others with dignity.
“In the last 90 days, we’ve experienced the best of humanity, with people coming together to care for one another and reigniting the meaning of community. Sadly, the tragedy in Minneapolis reminds us of the ugly reality that we are still experiencing humanity’s worst.
While thousands of our Delta Air Lines family members across Minneapolis – a city we consider our second home – and the world grieve, understanding our critical role as an ally is the first step.
Being a values-led brand means we not only raise our voices when something goes against our beliefs, we help amplify those who have been silenced. We often think we need all the answers, but it’s important to remember that we don’t need answers to know that racism, violence, bigotry and hatred have no seat at our table.
What happened in Minneapolis is not an outlier. Neither is what occurred in Georgia, New York and across the world where injustice lives in plain sight. While our words alone will not solve these crimes, thoughtful action combined with a focus on championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and within our personal lives will play a healing role to help us keep climbing. The Delta family will use whatever means we have to move the world toward a better, more just tomorrow. #UntilWeAllCare”
United Airlines on George Floyd: Zero Tolerance For Racism
As a point of comparison, a note from United’s two most senior officers also does not mention Floyd bu name, instead talking only in general terms about race. This note was sent to employees and not made public, though shared with Live and Let’s Fly. It is signed by new United CEO Scott Kirby and United President Brett Hart.
“Dear United team,
The past few months have been incredibly challenging for the airline industry and our company as result of the impact of COVID-19. But the last week has been particularly painful for so many of us because we feel the anger, despair and grief that weighs on the hearts of so many in America and at United, especially our black employees. Diversity and inclusion is a cornerstone of our culture, and we have zero tolerance for racism in any shape or form. We’re proud to lead a company that strives to uphold core values around equality, inclusion and justice – and doesn’t shy away from talking about them.
Moving forward, we will, of course, continue to keep the safety and well-being of our employees our highest priority. Our United team has been through a lot this year and, as we persevere through the difficult days ahead, we’ll stand together against racism and in support of those from all walks of life working to promote reconciliation. We’re hosting a virtual leadership town hall on Wednesday, and we look forward to the opportunity to talk more about this with all of you then.
Scott and Brett”
I cover both notes because the airlines chose to address the issue, both chose to omit naming Floyd, and both offered similar platitudes of equality and understanding.
Do these note promote healing or are they just more lip service? Whatever the answer, both Delta and United felt they could not help but to address the difficult issue.
image: Bill Abbott / Flickr CC 2.0
Why are they even chiming in? Are we going to get statements from every single company on the planet that we’ve ever done business with over the last 20 years like we did the virus?
This sort of thing actually extends the misery and destroys any progress. Signed: Leslie Baker
UA posted this through an internal channel – this was not a public statement.
It might be best served to the readers when posting internal memos, to watermark them as such.
Matthew has a history of posting internal UA messages, or as typically indicated that by “a note was sent to employees and not made public, though shared with Live and Let’s Fly.”
I still take the stance that if UA wanted to release information like this publically, they would do it on their own. Not that its necessarily “trade secrets or insider info” but I’ve never like the idea of someone releasing information from internal websites that could potentially be misinterpreted.
Maybe if we got statements from all the businesses like Covid19, we’d see change in this country when it comes to racism. I’m not offended, in the least, that my company chose to address this important issue.
Yeah DL is full of shit. They do NOT encompass all employees. They claim to include everybody, but speaking as a former employee of 14 years, they treat their employees with disabilities like shit and do everything in their power to get them fired. DL doesn’t give a rats ass about any employees except stank to flight bitches and the glorified bus drivers. You have to take time off to recover from a car accident? Then you will be fired. You have cancer? Need time off? They fire you. They claim to care, but just like all of corporate America, the upper management do not give a damn about the frontline employees that make the money for the company with their ridiculous company rules.and regs. I know I am a victim of their all encompassing policy bullshit.
We should anticipate more statements such as these…it’s quite evident that there is a vacuum in genuine political leadership, culminating in the ludicrous ( and truly scary) picture of President Trump holding a bible ( reminiscent of the style of some Eastern European thug holding Marx)
In the absence of leadership, more business leaders can be expected to distance themselves from his brinkmanship.
Does anyone wanna address the issue of certain individuals using this opportunity to burn down and loot my city or that’ll just get swept under the rug cuz duh, racism.
I’m open to discussing the looting if you are open to discussing a murder that really shouldn’t have been an arrest. The issue is people want to discuss the destruction of property having more value than black lives.
False. I fully agree with u that theres was a heinous murder committed that shud be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But time and time again when this happens people forget the facts so easily. Dont claim there shudnt have been an arrest when he committed a crime. And when the response of people time and time again is to burn and loot cities, as well as attempt assault and murder on cops in other cities that are just there trying to protect the law, maybe theres a reason people will come out and and be fearful of them, has anyone ever thought of that?
It was just proven that the bill was not a fake so how do you feel now ?
Also, $20 for someone’s life? Amazing to me that anyone would think an arrest should have happened here. Jails are overcrowded as it is and with a non violent offense, in the middle of a pandemic? My god, this country is in trouble if we all can’t see the need for change.
They did not address sexism. Police brutality against men is common, not against women. Men get sent to prison. Women can cut off a penis and serve no jail time. It is sexist to say that men commit more crimes because would you dare say Blacks commit more crimes?
Another unsaid lesson is to don’t let things spiral out of control. Why smoke? Why pass an obviously fake $20 to buy cigarettes? Why refuse to give back cigarettes when confronted with the fake? This does not excuse Floyd’s death but shows bad things can occasionally turn to worse things.
Thank you, Jay, for the link to this video. I heard about this and now have watched it. I suggest a few people who posted today watch it too to possibly bring some clarity to their questions and comments. Today’s blog is whether or not companies, corporations, industries should address what is happening in our country and whether or not the letters to employees bring comfort. I think they do and I think all companies should do the same. We all got the message from companies about Covid19…maybe we’ll finally “get it” about racism in this country!