As the oft-rumored joining of Delta Air Lines with Northwest
Airlines in the holy terms of merger mania appear to be coming
ever-closer to fruition, this weekend International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) General Vice President
Robert Roach, Jr. issued the following statement on current airline
industry maintenance and customer service concerns:
"The recent grounding of aircraft and stranding tens of
thousands of passengers due to maintenance compliance issues are
just symptoms of a much larger industry problem.
Airlines are increasingly outsourcing critical aspects of their
maintenance programs, replacing customer service representatives
with computers and failing to provide passengers with the service
they pay for.
The airline industry is providing the worst customer service in
its history after slashing jobs and cutting employee wages.
Consumer complaints were up 60 percent last year, and more than a
quarter of all flights experienced delays. This is all occurring
while executives at major airlines are considering mergers to
create even larger, more unmanageable carriers, producing bigger
headaches for passengers.
The Machinists Union is urging executives at all airlines to
refocus their efforts to provide superior safety and customer
service to passengers. This industry is in chaos and senseless
mergers will only make things worse."
The Machinists Union is the largest airline union in North
America, representing more than 170,000 Flight Attendants, Customer
Service Agents, Reservation Agents, Ramp Service Personnel,
Mechanics, and related transportation industry workers... whose
jobs would be threatened in the event of industry