Employee stock ownership programs (ESOP) may become a source of competitive advantage but a threat to a firm’s survival as well. Strategic stakeholder negotiation, on the other hand, is a process through which an organization negotiates with multiple stakeholders in order to achieve a strategic goal. Such perspective helps to illustrate the importance of understanding, balancing, and managing stakeholder demands in ESOP-related negotiations. The airline industry provides an interesting arena in which to study this process. Specifically, this paper examines the various forms of stakeholder negotiations crucial to the competitive behavior of US airlines, focusing especially on employee ownership negotiations in United Airlines during 1985-2000.