Sunday, November 25, 2012

US Airways flight attendants vote to strike

The headline says it all... flight attendants at US Airways have taken a vote and decided to strike.

That doesn't mean that a strike is going to happen soon (the holiday travel season is safe.)  Federal law makes it very hard for airline workers to actually strike.  But the vote does mean that their contract negotiations are going nowhere.  After seven years of nothing (starting with the America West merger) they are STILL working on separate contracts and operating as two airlines. To say nothing of not having recovered a cent from the concessions during the two US Air bankruptcies.

The point here is that Laura Glading wants to drag us into this mess:

NO contract
NO raises
NO movement

Laura and her cronies may get big pay raises because they'll be in charge of a much larger union.  But we're the ones working the flights... what do we get, other than a giant mess that US Air has been trying to solve for seven years?

Monday, November 19, 2012

US Airways Flight Attendants Say "What About Us?"

Last week US Airways flight attendants picketed to protest their slow moving contract negotiations.  For those not keeping score, their contract is now eight years old and getting more stale by the day.  And don't forget that they've never really merged America West with US Airways, at least where the flight attendants (and pilots) are concerned.

I loved this quote:

“Doug Parker has his eyes on (a contract) with American, but he needs to finish this one first,” said Cathy Campbell, president of the Charlotte chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, at the demonstration at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. “His employees have brought him record profits.”

Of course Parker should be finishing the contract with his own people first.  But for the last six months he's been hellbent on buying the support of our unions at American instead of taking care of his own.  That was a bad strategy, and is now coming back to haunt him.

What's most amazing to me is how the union leaders at AA have closed their eyes to reality.  If Parker is treating his own people so badly, and a merger means that we become "his" people, what does that say for our future?

Time to stop being shortsighted and tell our union leaders to stand up for our interests.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Merger Beware

File this in the category of "you never know what you're going to get into with airline merger."

Delta, which bought Northwest from bankruptcy about five years ago, is now going to shut down a subsidiary called Regional Elite Airline Services.  Many of the jobs that will be lost will be in Minneapolis, a former Northwest hub.

During their merger discussions, Northwest employees raised the question of Minneapolis getting downsized because of Delta's nearby hub at Detroit.  Their concerns were poo-poo'd at the time.  For years Minneapolis has been losing routes or seeing aircraft gauge downgrades, so the writing has been on the wall for a while.  But it goes to show that promises made during airline mergers are often tossed out the window, especially unrealistic promises like protecting jobs and hubs.

So where would that leave the flight attendants (and all employees) at a combined American Airlines-US Airways?  If US Airways bought us, would we have to sacrifice JFK in favor of Philadelphia?

Who do you trust?  Laura Glading?  Doug Parker?  Or your own good judgment?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Not everyone supports an AA-US merger

We all know how Laura has been outspoken in favor of merging with US Airways.  And it's not just her crush on Doug Parker, either.  Laura stands to gain hugely from a merger by becoming head of a huge flight attendants union.

But it looks like some of her would-be colleagues over at US Airways have a different perspective.  A recent article detailed how US Airways people are frustrated with their CEO has ignoring them and making deals with our unions here at AA:

"Discord at US Airways runs counter to the image of union- management unity that Parker has sought to project. He moved in April to win support of American labor groups, which failed to agree on cost-saving contract concessions in talks starting as long as five years before AMR’s Nov. 29 Chapter 11 filing. 

“Employees are a foundational issue,” said Deborah Volpe, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at the former America West. “If you don’t take care of the foundation, then everything else tends to crumble eventually."

It sounds like Parker has been totally ignoring his foundation over at US Airways.  By spending his time cosying up to Laura Glading and other union leaders at AA, he has angered the people whose support he needs to get a merger completed.

And to compound that, US Airways last merger (with America West) still hasn't been finalized.  The flight attendants work as if they were at two separate airlines, more than five years after the "merger".

Do we want to walk into that level of chaos and confusion in a merger?  We know why a merger would be good for Laura, but she has not explained why it would be good for the rest of us.  While she collects her fat union salary, we'll be fighting hub downsizing and base closures that Parker would insist on to save the "new" American Airlines money.