United Pilots Union Leader Quits After Two Days


The head of the largest chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association has resigned only two days after taking the job. According to Forbes, Neil Swindells quit as chairman of the United Airlines chapter over racist and sexist comments he’s made over the years as one of the most active contributors on the airline’s in-house pilotsforum.com. Swindells owned the controversy, saying, “I have had a spotless record of service to the association and the company for over 27 years, but errors in judgment on a pilot forum may have damaged that reputation,” in his resignation letter to 15,000 chapter members.

Swindells was elected to the post on Monday, even though his reputation on the online forum was well known. He often used vitriol and sexual and racial barbs to punctuate his opinions of others in the union. “There has been a significant negative response to things I posted on a pilot forum,” he said. “While many of these things have been taken completely out of context and publicly weaponized against me, I cannot ignore their existence and the damaging effect it has had on many of my fellow pilots.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. And because he “talked tough” about sticking it to management, a majority of “professional” airline pilots at United Airlines voted this genius into their highest union office to represent them.

    Some brilliant judgement there.

  2. In response to the first comment by Jack E. on Dec 29, that is a false and ignorant statement. United Pilots do not directly elect their Union Chairman. The MEC Chairman is elected by the Master Council and members of each Local Council from each pilot domicile. I believe the vote total which elected him was 9 in favor, 8 against, with two votes unable to be counted. Pilots are represented by their corresponding Captain or First Officer representatives in their domicile. It is similar to a Senator representing constituents.