We’ve found the culprit behind all those holiday airport snafus. The airline industry, of course, was humming along just fine – all systems go. Then, out of the blue, and right before Christmas, a rabble-rousing group of sniveling baggage handlers and malcontent flight attendants single handedly brought a thriving industry to its knees. What despicable conduct. Bad! Bad!
US Airways is planning to review the attendance records of those who called in sick during Christmas – some may be disciplined.
Pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and CEOs have all taken large reductions in pay and benefits in order to – oops, scratch that 4th one. CEOs and senior management have not taken any cuts to their salaries or their multi-jillion dollar bonus packages. Well, hey, lighten up – they have yacht payments to make.
US Airways CEO Bruce Wakefield said the “operational meltdown” was the result of the “irresponsible actions of a few.” He also said “let us not forget who pays our salaries and my obscenely bloated and totally unearned bonus package – our customers.” (OK, OK, the bold text wasn’t actually part of his speech.)
Pay cut taken by US Airways union workers: 21%. Pay cut taken by their CEO: 0.0%.
There’s even a question of whether this year’s “sickout” was any different from past holiday seasons. According to a union spokesperson, 238 flight attendants called in sick on Christmas Eve this year, as opposed to 261 on Christmas Eve of 2003. 306 called in sick this past Christmas day; 298 stayed out on Christmas of 2003. Oookay.
This is a common corporate PR tactic – blaming a current problem on something that occurs every year. During the winter of 1995-96 in northern California, there were massive power outages, stranding thousands of people for up to a week without electricity. The utility company blamed the entire fiasco on “these unprecedented winter storms.” Everyone who had lived in northern California for a year or longer could see through this line of S%*#@#%. Every winter, northern California has pounding rain and howling winds – 1995 and 1996 were no different. This particular utility company was very short-staffed because of major cost-cutting and downsizing (just like the airlines, come to think of it).
Instead of having the stones to admit that their corner-cutting and downsizing are the cause of their fiascos, these CEOs and senior executives would rather look for a scapegoat – the weather, unreliable employees, etc.
So, a few airline employees will be disciplined (after taking a 21% pay cut); CEOs and senior management will keep their gargantuan salaries and bonus packages (and somehow they’ll still be able to look at themselves in the mirror). And the beat goes on.