United CEO: Politics Had Nothing to Do With Decision to Dump the NRA

courtesy bloomberg.com

A parade of companies made high-profile announcements of terminating discount and other affinity program relationships with the National Rifle Association after the Parkland shooting. Enterprise Car Rental, Symantec, Allied Van Lines, MetLife and more. Among the group was United Airlines which ended a discount program for NRA members.

Yesterday, at United’s annual shareholder meeting, United CEO Oscar Munoz was confronted with questions about the decision by a shareholder, Justin Danhof, the director of the National Center for Public Policy Research (“the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism”).

As Bloomberg reports,

The shooter wasn’t affiliated with the NRA, the questioner said, “But hey, congratulations on your liberal virtue-signaling.”

“Sir, it wasn’t political,” Munoz responded. “It was personal with regard to my family at United.”

For Munoz, the tragedy hit home because one of the 17 people killed in the Florida massacre, Gina Rose Montalto, was the teenage daughter of a United captain. About a hundred pilots and other employees of United, JetBlue Airways Corp., American Airlines Group Inc. and FedEx Corp. attended her funeral, forming an honor guard at the entrance, according to news reports at the time.

“That’s why we made the decision,” Munoz said. “We aren’t here to make political conversation or strike political debate. We’re here to serve customers.”

Just not NRA member customers. Danhof’s questions were a little more detailed that the Bloomberg report describes.

I suppose you are ignoring the fact that the NRA had nothing to do with what happened in Parkland and that the perpetrator had zero affiliation with the NRA. But, hey, congratulations on your virtue signaling. What exactly did investors get out of that? The company is willfully giving up money. That’s an odd choice for an airline company in a hyper-competitive industry.

Danhof then quoted Warren Buffet’s advice about separating business and politics and says Munoz refused to address the issue of the decision’s effect on the bottom line. Here’s the NCPPR’s press release on the exchange:

After Parkland School Shooting, United Joined Liberal Mob Denouncing National Rifle Association And Ended Relationship With Group

United CEO Oscar Munoz Tells Shareholder Activist That the Obviously Political Decision Wasn’t Political

Chicago, IL / Washington, D.C. – United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was confronted today about the company’s decision to end the airline’s affiliation with the National Rifle Association (NRA) following the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) – the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism – challenged the company’s action in front its investors and leadership, calling the move overtly political.

“When I asked why United broke a business relationship with the NRA, Munoz dismissively answered me by suggesting I was making political commentary and that the company’s decision to essentially denounce the NRA wasn’t political,” said FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended United’s shareholder meeting and confronted Munoz. “Munoz claimed the decision was made only because a United employee’s daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. While that is indeed a tragedy, this explanation insults the intelligence of United’s investors and customers. United has 90,000 employees and has been around for nearly 100 years. In all that time, has no other United employee or a family member experienced gun violence? That’s hard to believe. It would seem the company, like so much of the mainstream media, regularly ignores shootings in areas such as the South Side of Chicago.”

Today’s annual shareholder meeting of United Continental Holdings – the parent company of United Airlines and United Express – took place at the Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois.

“Munoz’s decision to end the company’s discounts for NRA members came on the heels of a very politicized reaction to a tragedy. The mainstream media and anti-Second Amendment activists were pressuring corporations to join their cause. United fell in line with the liberal mob. Of course its decision was political,” said Danhof. “It’s also pretty rich for Munoz to grandstand and claim the company isn’t political when it just hired former Obama Administration mouthpiece Josh Earnest.”

At the meeting, Danhof told Munoz:

I suppose you are ignoring the fact that the NRA had nothing to do with what happened in Parkland and that the perpetrator had zero affiliation with the NRA. But, hey, congratulations on your virtue signaling. What exactly did investors get out of that? The company is willfully giving up money. That’s an odd choice for an airline company in a hyper-competitive industry.

Danhof then added:

CNBC asked Warren Buffett about corporations distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers and how Berkshire Hathaway would respond. Buffett replied: “I don’t believe in imposing my views on 370,000 employees and a million shareholders. I’m not their nanny on that… I don’t think that Berkshire should say we’re not going to do business with people who own guns. I think that would be ridiculous.”

Buffett went on to explain that corporations that make in-the-moment political decisions are subject to the fickle nature of politics and are constantly reacting to events rather than standing on consistent principles.

Can you tell us – your investors – how it makes sound business sense to alienate millions of potential customers who support the 2nd Amendment, and explain why you have this right while Warren Buffet has this wrong?

Danhof’s full question, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“By refusing to actually address the crux of my question, Munoz made it clear to me that he doesn’t really care that he offended so many gun supporters and NRA members,” noted Danhof. “Furthermore, he refused to address how this decision might affect United’s business. That should concern the company’s investors. That’s a leadership failure of epic proportions.”

Following the Parkland shooting and the subsequent corporate backlash, Danhof penned a commentary for The Federalistnoting just how predictable it was that big business aligned with the left. Danhof observed the common pattern following such tragedies, noting: “It’s an all too common pattern. Liberal politicians and the media take up a cause. Left-wing activist groups mobilize to pressure corporations. Corporate America joins the fray, and their support is used to bolster and justify the cause. It’s a circular echo chamber, but it’s effective.” Danhof’s full commentary is available here.

In April, Danhof confronted Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan over his decision to cancel lending to certain gun manufacturers. That confrontation was widely covered in the press, including the Charlotte Observer, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and many other major publications.

Following that meeting, Bank of America announced that it would indeed extend critical financing to Remington – a maker of military assault rifles. An article in Reuters discussed that decision in the context of Danhof’s question to Moynihan.

Counting today’s United meeting, FEP representatives have participated in 21 shareholder meetings in 2018.

 

comments

  1. No that everyone is leaving the NRA’s sinking ship and the Donations that came with it, are going to be passed-on to the rankandfile of the NRA members.

    1. avatar bobby b says:

      Proof-read before you post.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Nailed it!

  2. avatar binder says:

    OK I get it, a pilot’s kid. Any bets on what the response would have been if her dad was a baggage handler. Looks like more internal politics were involved.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DWhQvCgWAAARSES.jpg

    Say what you will, but when it comes to organizational politics, nothing trumps a dead kid.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      I think you are might be assigning way more value to the pilots than the company probably does.

      1. avatar binder says:

        You right, a pilot with a dead kid can’t hurt an airline at all. Well now I know why you are not a Fortune 100 CEO

        1. avatar Huntmaster says:

          I didn’t say that. But if you go back and read what I did say, you’ll possibly know at least more than you do now.

        2. avatar Huntmaster says:

          I didn’t say that. But if you go back and read what I did say you’ll know at least more than you do now.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    BULLSHITE!!!

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      It wasn’t a political act, it was a personal decision based on my personal political beliefs.
      In other words, I’m converting shareholder resources for my own personal political gain.

      And the shareholders can either sue me or STFU if they don’t like it.


      – United’s Chief Embezzling Officer.

    2. avatar Bob999 says:

      Exactly. He is a Liberal Fascist, and his action speaks volumes. Why he won’t come out like a man and admit his loyalties is beyond me.

      On another note, United has the worst customer service I have ever seen in a company. I have never had a good experience flying with them. Their employees are rude, condescending, and seem to do everything in their power to make flying a horrible experience. Should NRA associate themselves with United? I think not.

      1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

        “He is a Liberal Fascist”

        Redundant.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    How does the decision “serve customers?” Will it keep engines from exploding and pets from dying?

    1. avatar binder says:

      No, but look at that picture I linked. Why would you want to deal with employee activism fueled by a dead kid?

      Like he said, “family”. Now if daddy was a baggage handler.

      “Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the shooting, read a statement from victims’ families: “When it comes to preventing future acts of horrific school violence, this is the beginning of the journey. We have paid a terrible price for this progress.””
      Associated Press

  5. avatar Nanashi says:

    “Furthermore, he refused to address how this decision might affect United’s business. That should concern the company’s investors. That’s a leadership failure of epic proportions.”

    It’s publicly traded company. Isn’t that not just a leadership failure but outright illegal if he deliberately used the company resources to make a political point at the cost of long term profit for the shareholders?

    1. avatar binder says:

      Activist senior pilot with dead kid, vs NRA discount. Munoz made the right business decision. The fact that Tony Montalto spoke for the family’s outside the governor’s office AND had everyone wear uniforms at his daughter’s funeral send a message. Tony Montalto is the one to ask about the policy change, not Munoz.

  6. avatar John Boch says:

    United… Fly the friendly skies. Unless we drag you off a plane or kill your pet dog.

    American said it was going “neutral” in cancelling the NRA discount for those flying American to the NRAAM in Dallas. Yet they flew anti-gun protesters for free. Lies. All lies.

    1. avatar Gralnok says:

      Don’t forget, they killed a potential world record largest bunny, too. Also, sent another dog to Japan instead of Kentucky…

      1. avatar Gralnok says:

        Ack! I meant Kansas City. My bad.

  7. avatar Benny Hinn Laden says:

    Can we have more discussion about gun gunnies and porn stars?

    Jesus H Christ

  8. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    Companies whose leadership choose to alienate their customers make their choices. And of course I make choices about the companies I do business with.

    Frankly, I’m fine with virtue-signaling CEOs. They make it easier for me to make informed choices.

  9. avatar MIO says:

    The NRA is NOT the 2A so not everyone who drops them is bad

    1. avatar CBiscuit says:

      “The NRA is not the second amendment”,this is true.
      They are however the stalwart defenders of it and as such they are the scapegoat and go to bad guy for the gun haters.
      Most of their intended audience has no idea what the NRA is or does.
      They think they manufacture “assault”rifles and teach people how to shoot baby seals on a leash.
      The NRA is the foremost gun SAFETY organization,and promotes responsible gun ownership.
      They are as responsible for mass shootings as Ford is for drunk driving.
      But then again the truth is never really an issue that the left pays much heed to.
      I apologize if I spelled everything correctly.

      1. avatar Victor Chamoun says:

        Thank you for stating the obvious for the millions of liberal sheep. They can’t think for themselves and don’t understand why they have the freedom they do or how they got it!!

  10. avatar Al says:

    We saved United the trouble of collecting 5K from our account this summer. Had to make a slight effort. All is good. I will try to keep their accounting out of my wallet in the future as well.

  11. avatar Parnell says:

    My wife cut up her United credit card and told them what they could do with our frequent flyer miles. We just made reservations for two trips, one on Delta, the other on Alaska. United seen us for the last time.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Check her mileageplus account.
      If it’s still active, sell it to a points broker who will use it to sell tickets to passengers who would have otherwise given money to United for the tickets.
      You get money, United loses money.

      “I’m so mad at United, I’m going to give them $1000 worth of my wife’s FF miles for free. That’ll teach them. “

    2. avatar Lostinnm says:

      Same here, I’ve flown United and had their mileage card for over 16 years now. I used my miles on a Bass Pro gift card to buy more gun stuff then told them to close all my accounts because I’ll never give them my business again specifically for their actions after parkland.

      1. avatar This End ^ says:

        Just wait for your next Emergency Red Eye Flight, only to learn that United is the only ones flying.

      2. avatar binder says:

        So who are you flying, Delta is even worse.

        1. avatar Kyle says:

          As I’ve stated in other places, honoring a boycott of anti-gun companies is a losing proposition, they’re ALL anti-gun now.

          Only thing that the gun companies could do, would be to start their own bank, issue their own visa card.

  12. avatar ironicatbest says:

    What would my feelings be if one of my children or loved ones were killed with the use of a gun. Well if it was suicide, I’d hate “that” gun. If it was murder I’d hate the shooter.

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    How much did it cost United when Georgia determined not to renew the gas tax credit because of United’s dropping of the NRA program…what was it, $5 million?

    1. avatar Sasquatch says:

      That was Delta, not United.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        And I recall it being 35 million…

      2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        Yep, Delta not United, though I think United has a small presence in Atlanta. The total for all airlines was $40 million and 80% of that tax discount/rebate would have gone to Delta. The revoked fuel tax discount for Delta was about $32 million, or about $2.46 million each for each of the thirteen NRA discount tickets they sold in the last year. If I was a stock holder I would be demanding they fire which ever idiot decided to virtue signal by dumping NRA, cause that was the bone head decision of the decade. They might not even get it back next year if they continue down the same path.

  14. avatar Sam I Am says:

    When businesses decide to exit a line of business, most times there is a cold calculation made of how much revenue will be lost, how much can be made up from further plowing the remaining customer base, and how much can be recovered by spending the resources to develop new customers. Usually. And this is what makes virtue signalling so attractive.

    The number of customers businesses cut off by making politically correct decisions may be statistically, and revenue insignificant. We would like to think that virtue signalling eliminates millions and millions of customers (the conventional wisdom is that there are 100 million gun owners). If a company decides that millions and millions of their customers are not only gun owners, but staunch supporters of the second amendment, PC decisions would be more difficult (especially for publicly held corporations). No corporate officer or director can survive the stockholder revolt if 30-50% of customer base were staunch 2A supporters. So….we know that is not the case. Thus, millions and millions of gun owners will continue to purchase goods and services from the virtuous companies (talking about customers and companies in broad market businesses, such as transportation; not specialty retailers).

  15. avatar pieslapper says:

    The NRA refused to sign on as a sponsor of the in flight Fight Club, so United had to let them go.

  16. avatar 61north says:

    United is headquartered in Chicago. They don’t seem to care much about the thousands of deaths there from illegal guns, but now they want to punish law-abiding gun owners across the country?

  17. avatar Gralnok says:

    My friends and I have a game we play called “What Did United Do This Time?”
    It’s a lot of fun. First they beat a passenger and dragged him off, then they killed a massive rabbit, then they screwed over several other passengers, killed a dog, sent a dog to Japan, killed another dog, now this. I haven’t kept exact records of what they did and when, but it’s clear they shouldn’t be around much longer. They’ve tried to earn some good karma by donating to charities, helping with flood and hurricane relief, but every time they do something good, inevitably, they do something much worse later. United is pretty much the primary example of a PR disaster.

    1. avatar Sasquatch says:

      OK, airlines suck, we all know that. But do a wee bit of research. That was NOT a United crew, it was a United contract feeder airline, Republic Airlines, operating as United Express. It was not a United crew that pounded the doc, it was a thug from the Chicago Airport Police.

      Sheesh. We all get our panties twisted when someone says “clip” instead of “magazine”. Shouldn’t we be as precise as we expect others to be?

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        And who called the thugs to drag a paying passenger out of the seat he bought when they retroactively decided they wanted to keep that seat for themselves after they sold it to him and boarded him on the plane?

        1. avatar Sasquatch says:

          Not arguing the policy and decision were okee dokee. Just saying, whichever Republic Airline employee called the authorities, they probably didn’t speed-dial “1” for a customer beating.

          Seriously, I’m not defending airline policy. But if some cops show up at my seat and tell me to leave, I’m not going to refuse to leave, even though I’m right. That being said, don’t equate my assertion as saying the Dr. deserved a thumping. Just fault the right effing people, OVER.

        2. avatar Gralnok says:

          To Sasquatch
          It’s called shared responsibility. If United contracts with someone to work for them, they must take the blame when that someone screws up. If United’s logo is on the plane, on the uniforms, on the peanuts and pretzels, then their standards and reputation is too.

  18. avatar Rocketman says:

    Can’t wait to see if the next child is killed with a Ford automobile that he insists that automotive safety commission can’t get a discount either. His excuse is nothing but putting a fig leaf over his hatred of firearms in general.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    Munoz had a heart transplant in 2016. He should have had a brain transplant.

  20. avatar Bob999 says:

    So, if We The People enact a law banning his security detail for him and his family from carrying firearms, I assume he will be okay with that.

  21. avatar Victor Chamoun says:

    We the paying customers don’t care why you want to tell us a bold-faced lie. You’ve turned your back on the very principles this country was based on, “The Constitution of The United States of America” If one of the amendments gets tossed out by the liberal thugs, the rest won’t be far behind. Then you can kiss your overpaid self goodbye!!

  22. avatar Victoryman says:

    Just looks like an arrogant Putz in a nice suit to me….

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email