Union calls for limited re-regulation of airline industry


Machinists Call for Airline Re-Regulation

Here’s an excerpt:

“Limited re-regulation is the only long-term solution for an industry
that is continually seeking government assistance,” said IAM General Vice
President Robert Roach, Jr., at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the state of the airline industry. “This industry is simply unable to turn away from pricing its product below the cost of providing it, further
perpetuating the chaotic spiral that brings us here today.”

This is absurd. Re-regulating the airlines economically is liking being a little pregnant. Once the government gets their dirty hands back in regulating the industry, they aren’t going to be happy with just a little bit of regulation. They’ll want the whole enchilada.

What needs to be done is to have executives and labor get together and start working as a team, not as enemies. Some of the salaries and benefits paid to labor are absurd. Executives, too, needs to have their salaries and perks reduced. It’s absurd for an airline to lose money year-after-year yet have its senior management makes hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, dollars a year in salary and stock.

But in no case should the government re-regulated the industry. Capitalism will take care of it - the weak will die off and the strong will survive.

Just my opinion - any other thoughts on this article?


Capitalism will definently take care of the industry. Welcome to America.


That is one of the most naive statements I’ve ever heard. When in the history of American labor unions has that ever happened?

Airlines are one of the most highly regulated industries in this country. Safety, pilots, landing slots, planes, fees, labor contracts, communications, crew medical qualifications, inspections, electronic device use, seat belts, fuel handling, waste disposal, carry-ons, baggage contents, certifications, training and a few thousand other items all have economic impact in todays highly regulated airline environment. About the only important thing that isn’t regulated is fares, and the airlines have done an amazingly poor job of self-regulating those. Not that I prefer the government to do it, but they would be hard pressed to do it any worse.


So… :confused:

If you’ve priced the cost of your labor at a point that a free market refuses to pay, you get the government to come in and force your customers to pay it?


My own company (Kaiser) has a pretty good labor/management relationship and, generally speaking, Southwest’s unions get along with its management. It is possible.

But, getting back to that statement I made. What I’m saying is that they NEED to have a good relationship. I didn’t say they HAD that relationship.


Which will make it interesting to see how the DAL/NWA merger will play out with their respective unions…


Not sure how you can say that Kaiser has good union relationships unless you don’t count the nurses strikes in 1992, 1997, 1998 and 2002 that I recall and others that I don’t recall.

World peace, clean water, healthy food and good health care for all also need to happen, but it would be naive to believe that it will happen, just as it is naive to believe that unions and management will cooperate.


Ahhh, but CAFlier, you missed the point!

The sun raises and sets around SWA so surely it is possible! Dami sez so below.


Yeah, the SWA relationship with the unions is just peachy-keen. Like, for example this love letter from the head of the flight attendent’s union in 2004:

In the story “Southwest CEO Lands In Hot Seat,” regarding Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Jim Parker’s low approval ratings on the Forbes.com poll, there are a few issues that should be clarified.

As president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents the Southwest Airlines flight attendants, I was quoted as saying that management had refused to meet with the union to negotiate further. The company’s eloquent response was, “Baloney, we gave them our best offer, and they barely looked at it.” Our union negotiating team has carefully considered and analyzed management’s “best offer” and has prepared a counteroffer.

While the federal mediator has not scheduled any further meetings, our union has offered to return to the bargaining table several times. Management has not taken us up on our request to continue negotiations, and has insisted that they would only return to the table to discuss releasing their “best” offer for a vote.

The company also stated, “They wouldn’t even let their members see it.” This statement is also false. Management released their “best” offer to our members a few days after the last mediated bargaining session in an attempt to bypass the union and bargain directly with our members–a blatant violation of the Railway Labor Act. The union responded by releasing a comparison of both the union and management offers for our members to consider. The response from our members to management’s offer and direct-bargaining attempts has been overwhelmingly negative, as evidenced by the Forbes.com poll. Management’s goal was to force a vote on their substandard “best” offer, and our members have overwhelmingly rejected their tactics.

It should be noted that airline analyst Glenn Engel, who freely offers his opinion of the flight attendant negotiations, refused to meet with members of the flight attendant negotiating team a few weeks ago when they traveled to Wall Street to update analysts on the current state of negotiations.

Southwest Airlines has taken the stand that a “small group of people” is trying to smear Jim Parker, when on Feb. 13, over 1,200 flight attendants protested nationwide after over two years of trying to negotiate the same fair work rules, benefits and compensation that all other work groups at Southwest Airlines have negotiated. While protests like these may not have moved negotiations forward, it would seem that Mr. Parker would notice that the airline’s largest and most visible work group has also become the angriest and most frustrated.

The union remains committed and available to meet with management at any time to settle this dispute, hopefully before labor relations and the legendary Southwest culture are damaged beyond repair. The contract will be resolved when we return to the negotiating table, not through public posturing and direct bargaining. The outstanding flight attendants of Southwest Airlines deserve to be treated as well as we treat our passengers. Mr. Parker, we are ready to bargain, but since our phone is not ringing, it must be you.

Thom McDaniel
President, TWU Local 556


Everyone knows that Machinists Union figureheads really know a lot about the airline industry. I mean, they have BA degrees in Political Science! What else would you possibly need to tell the airlines AND the federal government how to run one of its most important industries?