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
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.