WHINE AND CHEEZ
Guest Article by Alpha One
Do they ever learn?
29 November 2002
Many people have been trying to deflect blame from the IAM 141-M over their vote to reject the concessions package at UAL. Some try to blame the pilots by saying that they caused this mess in the first place.
I'm no fan of pilots, especially when it comes to their unions, but why blame them now? Because United turned every day into Christmas for those guys by raising the white flag in 2000? It wasn't the pilot's fault, that idiocy rests squarely with James Goodwin and his management team.
Others try to blame the current management for demanding drastic concessions right off the bat. What else could UAL be doing, specifically? They didn't reject this agreement, the IAM did. And UAL is virtually assured NOT to get the government money now without these concessions - not that UAL should have been getting it anyway.
Maybe, just maybe I can venture a unique thought here - maybe this is the BEST thing that could happen to UAL in the long run. It may force them to make the hard choices that will bring about fundamental, significant changes there that will lead to LONG-TERM, not short-term financial health. These concessions/Chapter 11/government bailout money will only deal with SHORT TERM problems. UAL-indeed the whole industry-needs to make hard, tough choices to stabilize the industry in the long term.
Others accuse UAL of "Crying Wolf" (pun intended) over 9/11 and its aftermath. If you're saying 9/11 had NOTHING to do with it, you're wrong. 9/11 isn't the sole reason for the problems, but it is a major reason. The other major reason is that the economy was slumping and business travel was already declining leading up to 9/11, and 9/11 flattened the business of high-yield travellers to the point that it almost didn't come back. So, it was the economy, 9/11, and the incessant volatility of industry, that, in unison, have laid the industry waste.
I was on the sidelines at CO when EA, thanks to two egomaniacs named Frank Lorenzo and Charlie Bryan destroyed that carrier. Management, under Lorenzo, played a significant part in that debacle, but so did the IAM, which, it seems, hasn't learned a God damned thing in the ensuing decade. If the IAM pushes it, or if the mechanics do believe the smoke that AMFA is blowing up their collective asses right now, UA could suffer the same fate.
Do they really understand the consequences of this "no" vote? I heard that from EA mechanics, and a year later, they were all looking for a job. I see this is the same old, typical IAM stupidity raising it's ugly head again. I don't think they have a CLUE as to the Pandora's Box they've just opened up at UAL.
Others say that its not the mechanics fault they are under utilized. If they're under-utilized because their contract says they can only be utilized so much, then, yes, it is their fault. They'll be putting up with deeper pay cuts and fewer jobs now, thanks to their intransigence.
The IAM mechanics use lines like "You can only kick a dog so much before it turns and bites your foot!" to justify their opposition. Yes, they're so abused, aren't they. Give me a break. That dog is about to be put out of it's misery permanently for constantly biting.
Alpha One is a 16-year veteran of Continental Airlines, based in Cleveland.
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