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United Airlines backs down on plan to replace employee bonuses with 'lottery'


United Airlines is "pressing the pause button" on a rewards system that would have disbursed bonuses via lottery.

"Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you", Kirby said in a memo to employees obtained by Reuters.

Now, United says it is "pressing the pause button" on the program as it reviews employee feedback. The grand prize would have been a $100,000 bonus payment while other prizes included new cars, vacations and cash payments starting at $2,000.

A United spokesperson told the Chicago Business Journal that the new prize program was meant to "build excitement and a sense of accomplishment".

In its place, the core4 Score Rewards would see one random staffer awarded a $100,000 cash prize each quarter.

"As we look to continue improving, we took a step back and made a decision to replace the quarterly operational bonus and flawless attendance programs with an exciting new rewards program called "core4 Score Rewards", Kirby reportedly wrote in the memo.

Kirby linked the lottery system to the so-called core4 Score initiative to provide better service to airline customers.




After working through a PR crisis caused by an incident last April in which a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight, United's public perception appeared to be moving in a positive direction after the company announced it would end a discount program for NRA members in February.

King said the company doesn't have a timeline for re-evaluating the bonus program.

The post also complained that employees did not receive a $1,000 bonus after the new tax law passed. For the full year, United paid out about $87 million in earned bonuses.

The backlash and reversal comes while United is negotiating a new union contract with its pilots. The airline would have to meet at least one of four performance goals before holding a quarterly giveaway. Because they care about their employees? Before the announcement about the lottery on Friday, a United spokesman told ABC News all eligible employees could receive up to $300 per quarter, or about $1500 a year.

The proposed lottery system - which offered prizes ranging from a Mercedes sedan to a one-person $100k payout - would've only affected 1,361 employees, and cost the company around $18m.

Apparently, luxury autos and deluxe vacations will be among the prizes being given away.

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