United Airlines To Reconsider Controversial Employee Bonus Lottery

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A few days ago United announced that they would be eliminating quarterly bonuses for their employees, which were up to $300 per quarter when United met their goals (which isn’t an insignificant amount of money, when you consider United has lots of employees making $10-15 per hour).

Instead they planned to replace this with a lottery system that includes quarterly prize drawings, ranging “from $2,000 to $40,000, luxury cars, vacation packages, and a grand of prize of $100,000 awarded to one eligible employee per quarter.” This drawing would happen each quarter as long as United reached at least one of their performance goals.

I think it goes without saying that this was a cost saving measure on United’s part, when you consider that they have 88,000 employees. Many companies seem to assume everyone is dumb, and United’s president spun this change as a positive, suggesting that this was an “exciting new rewards program,” and a United spokesperson said that they believed this “new program will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment as we continue to set all-time operational records that result in an experience that our customers value.”