Jerry Butz; "Good Night, and Good Luck"
August 8, 2019
We are deeply saddened to report that we have learned of the passing of the voice of Dear AFA – Jerry Butz. Jerry passed away on July 16, 2019 after a long illness.
Jerry became a Flight Attendant in 1978 after many years in the company’s training department. He was based in Chicago. During the Strike of 1985, Jerry became the voice of DearAFA reporting to Flight Attendants the events of the day always encouraging Flight Attendants to be involved in determining their future while never missing the opportunity to point out where management had lost its way. Jerry faithfully bid trips to return to Chicago in time to meet with the MEC President for a briefing of the week’s latest events, then dutifully sat down to type out the script of Dear AFA with cigarette lit. Within a couple hours Jerry had a draft script that he’d read aloud to leadership and Legal, make any necessary last edits, and then close himself in an office to record some of the nation’s first podcasts - the favorite source of news for United Flight Attendants, aviation workers from all airlines, and journalists covering our industry. Management transcribed the hotline message every week and distributed it as required reading. Often it was the sting of accountability in those messages that led to breaking up stubborn positions of Inflight.
1-800-DEAR-AFA was a trusted and entertaining brand because of Jerry Butz. Over the years of his invaluable service to our union, Jerry refused even a single hour of Flight Pay Loss or expense reimbursement. It was his contribution to building power for Flight Attendants and that was enough for Jerry!
Jerry retired from United Airlines in July 1999 but remained always available to his Union. In more recent years, Jerry came out of retirement and returned to his Union and the airways to provide his weekly message that was full of his inimitable humor, sarcasm and wit all of which successfully engaged not only our Members but United management as well.
Jerry is survived by his two sisters, many nieces and nephews and his lifelong friends from United Airlines. Jerry will be deeply missed by all of us. Plans are in the works for a memorial service to celebrate Jerry’s life and contributions to our Union and our careers. Tentatively, we are looking at the early part of November for the scheduling of this service.
Jerry was a huge fan of Edward R. Murrow. In honor of Jerry we offer this, “Good night, and good luck.”