Last year Delta Air Lines retired The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 that airline employees bought as a gift for their employer in 1982 to help the company through tough financial times. I can’t imagine a thing like that happening today.
I especially can’t imagine it happening at American Airlines, where the relationship between management and pilots appears to be reaching new depths.
"Enjoy your blood money and your union-busting," Lloyd Hill, the president of the Allied Pilots Association, wrote to American CEO Gerard Arpey. "We’ll see you in court, in the newspapers, and on the picket line."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the story, which points out that it may be as long as a year before the strike threat could legally be carried out. The Airline Biz blog at the Dallas morning news has the full text of the letter.
The main issue that has so enraged pilots at American, and many other employees of the Big Six legacy carriers, is the bonuses and pay increases that executives have received as the airlines have returned to profitability.
According to the Dallas Morning News:
… top executives and other key managers of American and parent AMR Corp. received about a quarter-billion dollars in AMR stock in 2006 and 2007 while employees have received only small pay raises since taking big cuts in pay and benefits in 2003.
The bitterness of rank-and-file employees is showing. Lloyd Hill, who sent the letter, was elected president of American’s pilots union on a promise to stop playing nice with management.
Looks like he keeps his promises.
(And it looks like I should have mentioned United Airlines, too. The Chicago Tribune suggests the pilots union there is heading down the same path, or at least in that general direction.)