The Airline Industry: A Few Kings and Millions of Peons
That loud noise you’ve been hearing is the sound of millions of people yelling “DUUUHHH!!!” after reading this news item. After years of record-setting salaries and bonus packages for airline CEOs combined with massive pay cuts and layoffs of pilots and flight attendants, tensions are rising in the airline industry. NO!!!
The article calls it “a workforce on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
An MIT management professor said “Labor is deeply demoralized, having taken deep cuts in pay.” Now that the industry is starting to make more money, “the money is not flowing to the people who took the cuts when these carriers were in bankruptcy or near bankruptcy."
As you’ve probably guessed, that money is flowing to the CEOs, rewarding them for their massive failures and screwups. Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland will be receiving a $26.6 million dollar bonus package this year. And what will Northwest pilots be getting in return for their millions of dollars worth of pay cuts and benefit reductions when the airline was “reorganizing”? Zip point shit.
United Airlines has reduced its workforce by 25%. Meanwhile their CEO, Glenn Tilton, “earned” $40 million last year.
If you think flying has been enjoyable lately, just wait. The fun hasn’t even started yet. Labor Lawyer Lowell Peterson says: “In any enterprise, especially one that is 24-7 high-stress like airlines, workers make accommodations to make things go smoothly … they are willing to go that extra mile. They’re not going to do it in the current climate.”
A lot of these labor contracts are coming up for renewal in two years. Food Fight! The article says: “If you think flight delays and cancellations are getting to you now, there’s a good chance contract talks will get ugly as workers finally get their voice at the bargaining table.”
Peterson said “People are overworked because of staff cuts, and they are fed up with getting lower pay and worse benefits while the executives get lush packages. When they come up for negotiations, the flying public should buy a lot of Greyhound Bus tickets.”
Sure makes you want to fly somewhere, doesn’t it?