Thursday, May 12, 2005

Flying the Friendly Skies
(Or why U.S. corporatism has a "job" to do, while you're losing yours.)

I used to fly for United Airlines
Then I got fired for reading 'High Times'
My license expired in almost no time
Now I'm retired and I think that's fine

~ Mexican Wine by Fountains of Wayne on their 'Welcome Interstate Managers' CD

Big headlines in the news concerns United Airlines drift toward Chapter 11 bankruptcy emergence--if only the "little people" (United Airline employees) will cooperate.

United's Chief Executive Glen Tilton, whose $366,000 bonus last year made him one of the airline industry's highest paid execs, is upset that employees have voted to strike if contracts UA negotiated with its union members are voided.

It just throws such a monkey wrench in United's well greased plans (ah, I should probably thank UA machinists for the inspiration of that one.)

Okay, let's review the events of the past couple days:

1.) Your retirement's been jeopardized. As one flight attendent with 20 years at the airline noted, her $1700/mo. pension has been reduced to $ as a result of this week's court decision allowing United Airlines to wash its hands of pension plan obligations. This effects 120,000 retired and active United employees.

2.) United has now petitioned the court to void its union contracts in hopes of lowering its labor costs.

To counter these actions, union members have voted to strike if their contracts are voided. (After all, what's left to lose?)

So, imagine UA has just cut your retirement. And now they want to void your union contract (read "wages") negotiated in good faith. And to ice the cake, they have the tenacity to call the worker's vote to strike "illegal."

Ah, the "Friendly Skies" of United, flying on the backs of employee concessions (and a shrinking middle class).

NOTE: Delta and the other airlines are watching (and drooling) over United's cost "slashings".