Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration | executive order | forcibly removed | munoz

On Immigration United Still Has a Second Chance

On Immigration United Still Has a Second Chance
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Monday, 25 June 2018 04:08 PM Current | Bio | Archive

If there was ever a company in need of a positive public relations story to break a string of bad moves and bad luck, it’s United Airlines. In recent years, the airline has been hammered with one image fiasco after another.

Bad situations  were made even worse by poorly-managed public relations responses.

Now, United is trying to get out ahead of a story that involves the major headlines these days. The issue is transportation of illegal immigrants caught and separated at the border. The subject is one that everyone holds a strong opinion about. This even after President Trump signed an executive order to end the separating of families.

United was one of a few U.S. based airlines choosing to jump into the center of that highly-contentious political scuffle to make a bold statement and draw a very definitive line in the sand. United CEO Oscar Munoz, who was harshly criticized for mishandling a previous United public relations disaster, delivered a clear statement on where his company stands on the matter of transporting members of families separated by immigration officials:

At United Airlines, we have been concerned about reports that commercial airlines have been used to transport immigrant children separated from their parents by a newly implemented immigration enforcement policy. Based on some research we have done internally and public reports, we have not seen evidence these children have been flown on United Aircraft… Based on our serious concerns about this policy and how it’s in deep conflict with our company’s values, we have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents… This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it . . . 

There is absolutely no mistaking or misunderstanding those words. Munoz is letting everyone who will listen know exactly where he and his company stand on immigration.

Additionally, Munoz made it clear that his company has not taken part in this situation, by saying they have not flown any children affected by the policy. He also took a moment to underscore what United Airlines is all about and what his company stands for.

This has been in question ever since a man was roughly and forcibly removed from a United Flight, triggering a major public relations crisis for the airline; a problem only made worse by Munoz’s own statements.

At that time, Munoz learned a harsh lesson: When you hold the power, don’t blame the victim.

The question, now, is, "did United make the right call?"

They were joined by other airlines that made similar decisions, but United has more at stake. This is a chance to do some reputation repair, and to also put a more human and compassionate face on the company.

We’ll see soon if these efforts bear fruit or if they backfire.

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent public relations Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.

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United is trying to get out ahead of a story that involves the major headlines these days. The issue is transportation of illegal immigrants caught and separated at the border. The subject is one that everyone holds a strong opinion about.
executive order, forcibly removed, munoz
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2018-08-25
Monday, 25 June 2018 04:08 PM
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