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Wed, May 09, 2007

AMFA Plans Joint Protest Of Airline Executive Bonuses

Unions Join Forces To Show Disdain For Massive Payouts

In 2005, the mechanics, flight attendants and pilots unions at Mesaba Airlines joined forces as the Mesaba Labor Coalition, and overcame what the unions termed "divide-and-conquer" management tactics during contract negotiations. The same employee groups, along with engineers and flight controllers, later formed the UAL Labor Coalition to defend the public and themselves against management excesses considered harmful to United Airlines' future.

Now, in the latest example of airline unions collaborating to curb out-of-control management self-interest, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) said its members will join up to 100,000 others at a May 17 "Enough Is Enough" rally on the Mall in Washington, DC to protest excessive executive compensation in the airline industry. AMFA is a member of both the Mesaba Labor Coalition and the UAL Labor Coalition.

One week before the DC event, AMFA union officials and members will show up at the May 10 UAL annual shareholders meeting in Chicago to protest against excessive executive compensation, according to AMFA National Director O.V. Delle-Femine.

Recent examples of generous executive payouts include $231 million in bonuses awarded to managers at American Airlines last month, as well as a recently-announced plan to award Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland a $26.6 million stock bonus.

As ANN reported, United Airlines' board bestowed $39.7 million in compensation on CEO Glenn Tilton in 2006... despite the airline's continued poor performance. AMFA recently used the UAL shares the union owns to give the UAL board a no-confidence vote.

"Most airline executives and their boards have entirely lost sight of their responsibilities to shareholders, the flying public and the rank-and-file employees who keep the airlines operating," said Delle-Femine. "The executives are being awarded tens of millions of dollars in pay and bonuses as their companies' financial performance languishes and employees receive severe pay cuts and terminations. Northwest Airlines executives did this right in the midst of bankruptcy."

The May 17 Washington rally will also show support for a bill (HR 1257) making its way through Congress that would require a non-binding shareholder vote on executive compensation and "golden parachute" packages. The bill, which has already moved through the House Financial Services Committee, responds to growing concern among shareholders and the American public about excessive executives pay.

AMFA is the largest US union representing aircraft mechanics and related employees, with over 12,000 members at Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, ATA, Horizon Air and Mesaba Airlines.



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