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American Airlines unions continue fighting for the best possible outcome in the bankruptcy of parent company AMR. Earlier this week, five out of seven work groups in the Transport Workers Union, the largest union at American, voted to accept contract offers:

Under the deal, according to TWU, workers would make make concessions on wages and benefits, and American would retain some of the 9,000 TWU member jobs it had originally proposed to eliminate. TWU and AMR said that ratifying the contracts saved those five bargaining units a total of 1,300 jobs,  and that had the maintenance and related positions bargaining unit voted to ratify, it would have saved an additional 1,960.  

An American Airlines spokesperson told the Associated Press following the vote that if the court approved its motion to override contracts, its maintenance hub in Tulsa could be cut from 7,000 workers down to 4,700. Historically, companies usually win such motions; this one is being heard by Judge Sean Lane in New York.

The unions are pushing for a merger between American Airlines and US Airways, with an expert for the flight attendants union testifying in bankruptcy court that a merger is "not an option. It's not an alternative. It's inevitable."

(Continued below the fold)

  • The National Association of Charter School Authorizers was a member of ALEC through at least 2009, and may still be a member today. That shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since ALEC embraces the corporate education reform model, but what's noteworthy is that the National Association of Charter School Authorizers gets funding from many school districts and state departments of education.
  • Another attempt to cut pensions, another lockout: Republic Services/Allied Waste locked out its Teamster workers in Evansville, Indiana, because they wouldn't accept a move from a traditional pension to a 401(k). Republic workers in four cities recently went on strike after the company tried to back out of a contract agreement.
  • The U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement was supposed to be contingent on Colombia cleaning up its record of murdered union activists, but since President Obama moved it forward a few weeks ago, another activist has been murdered. In April, another was kidnapped or disappeared and two more were threatened.
  • Ever wonder where the nearest union grocery store is? The United Food and Commercial Workers has a new smartphone app to help you shop union.
  • The Atlantic's Derek Thompson ends a thoughtful piece on unpaid internships with some questions for employers of interns to ask themselves:
    (1) Is there no overlap between paid and unpaid work at your company? (2) Can you deny that unpaid internships deny to low-income students an experience that many employers consider mandatory? (3) Would a minimum wage salary paid to a handful of students compromise your company's financial position? I cannot imagine an honest person with passing knowledge of unpaid internships in America answering any of those three questions "yes."
  • House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa has been busy busy busy. The California Republican has used his committee leadership for a series of campaigns against unions and union rights.
  • "Over 100 children a year die working on farms: Why do prominent right-wingers fight safety regulations?" Okay, the answer to that question isn't so tough (they don't care what happens to poor immigrant kids), but the details are worth knowing.
  • New York City may offer buyouts to idled teachers whose jobs have been cut but who can't be laid off under their union contract.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat May 19, 2012 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Will Be Installing That Smartphone App Now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, eztempo, Candide08

    Thanks for an informative post.  The attacks on labor always make me sad; but your posts always give us a glimmer of hope.  That smartphone app sounds like da bomb: I hope it finds some Unionized grocery stores near me. :)

  •  American Airlines execs need to work with unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or they well be ex-execs in my humble opinion. Although both sides are right on some things and wrong on some things if they don't come to an agreement both sides can work with then American will cease to be as we know it.

    Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Sat May 19, 2012 at 06:02:55 PM PDT

    •  The "problem" with Union-Management... (0+ / 0-)

      negotiations, IMO, is the same as with American politics today, one side has staked out a position, an unreasonable position, and does not want to compromise at all.

      All the old metrics about how to run a successful company (like CEO to lowest worker pay ratios) have been dumped.  Reinvesting in the company is a quaint memory - tossed in favor of huge executive bonuses.

      There is an epidemic of "short term" and "me first" thinking on corporate America.  This cannot be good for the future of the business or the future of the country.

      Funny, in a sad way, how the majority of these same execs are also Republicans.  

      "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Candide08 on Sun May 20, 2012 at 06:52:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "ex-execs" in the airline industry (0+ / 0-)

      are like the Easter bunny, existing only in imaginations. About the only way for an exec to permanently leave the industry is to show any willingness to work/compromise with unions. The CEOs and their senior managers who ran their companies into the ground in a race to the bottom after 9/11 all received huge bankruptcy court approved bonuses and continued to run the companies after bankruptcy or went to another airline. It is a very incestuous industry for senior management.

      American is no different. They ran the race to the bottom along with their peers in the mid 2000's but managed to put on enough bandaids to push bankruptcy ahead six years. Absent the Great Recession they may have been the only major airline to skate. Didn't happen and now the pain comes in spades.

      Not to worry, there will be no pain for the execs. Can't have that. Such talent is too important. They will take their millions in bonuses from the court and continue working for US Air-American or go somewhere else in the industry. Each now with his/her union smashing credentials freshly gained or renewed.

      The only ones left to filter through the pile of shit that is the aftermath of bankruptcy and merger will be the employees, the primary stakeholders in any company. Employees will have lost large parts of their pensions and will be working for significantly less than their peers at other major airlines. There is no way for employees to leave US Air-American without sacrificing seniority and the pay/benefits that go along with seniority.

      Of course the pain doesn't stop there. All of American's suppliers and vendors will have been squeezed too. They will be forced to take pennies on the dollar for goods and services they provided the airline before bankruptcy with the added pleasure of reduced revenue on future goods and services given in post-bankruptcy contracts. Or they can forgo the business with US Air-American which has a cost too. Who do you think will suffer the most at these companies? Management or their employees? This is all a feature of the airline industry, not a bug.

      Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

      by VTCC73 on Sun May 20, 2012 at 09:22:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As much as I support Union Rights... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I simply prefer the non-Union grocery here in town.  Of course, I used to work for them and know they treat their employees well.  Publix has been on the Forbes top 100 companies to work for in America list for every year it has been in existence.  They may be non-union, but their stores are cleaner and the employees are nicer than the union stores around here.  Better customer service.  Their wages and benefits are better as well.

    I go union in most instances I can, but not there. Personal preference.

    Not speaking ill of the unions...just the companies they currently work for in the Nashville area.  Kroger stores are just not as clean or customer friendly.

    •  perhaps a note to (3+ / 0-)

      the Union leadership at Kroger would be helpful.

    •  Arrogance and distain for customers (6+ / 0-)

      is a management attitude -- often an attitude they take to their own workers -- and it rolls downhill, in my experience.

      Back to the airlines, the historic amity and respect that Southwest Airlines has taken toward its employees reflects in helpful, professional and happy agents and flight attendants.  The hostile, antagonistic attitude that American Airlines, United and other managements (to my lights) have taken to theirs has, again in my experience, reflected in the condition of their cabins and attitudes of their customer contact people.

      At Kroger, as at the various airlines, I don't blame union workers for the conditions they find themselves working in.

      •  Thank You For Defending Unions, eztempo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This whole subthread was very annoying to read.  The poster should realize that such comments could be appropriated by sources like "Faux News" for the purposes of union-busting propaganda.  Thank you for standing up for unions, eztempo.  You are so right: union workers are not to blame for the conditions they find themselves working in.

        •  Yes, thanks eztempo.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Patrick is Lucky" is a bit of a dumb ass to assume that because he likes Publix better than some other unionized supermarket in his town that it must be the fault of the unions.

          This is Rush Limbaugh logic at its worst.

  •  Fault lies on both sides here (0+ / 0-)

    Let's look at this:

    New York City may offer buyouts to idled teachers whose jobs have been cut but who can't be laid off under their union contract

    "Can't be laid off under their union contract".  What management team would EVER accept this kind of clause in a union agreement?  I fault the union for not being able to see that a "no layoff clause could only devastate a situation when a severe downturn in the economy could cause necessary reductions in workforce and I fault the managers that negotiate the contract for the city/state because they would actually accept such a ludicrous clause.

    Labor contracts have to be pragmatic.  Without that, failure looms.

    •  It's a response to a dirty trick school admins had (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      been playing.  Hire a new teacher, and just before her or she is about to reach tenure and/or earn a higher salary, lay them off and replace with another brand new teacher at entry-level pay.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

      "Not me. I'm a spectator. I'd wish them luck but I can't do that. I don't [want to] wish them luck. I want them to go to hell." -Fishgrease

      by Orange Crush on Sun May 20, 2012 at 07:10:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unpaid Internships should be seen as violations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonsensically, eztempo

    of minimum wage laws regardless of the organization being for profit, non-profit or government.  The only exception should be for charities that qualify for 501 c treatment in the tax code.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat May 19, 2012 at 06:29:20 PM PDT

  •  Glad to see UFCW doing this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John FK

    but I wish they could also do this as a webpage for those without smart phones. Thankfully, my closet grocery store is a UFCW shop, and it's great.  

    The whole ALEC thing should be a warning about the larger problem. The corporate world is and continues to be pushing a radical right wing agenda. There are plenty of organizations with (undeserved) semi-progressive reputations that are also a part of this, as well as more than a few Democratic office holders. Republicans aren't the whole problem here.  And until the institutions that supposedly represent us actually do, we'll be operating as a terrible strategic disadvantage.  

    A nation founded in name of self-determination & popular government has no business supporting autocratic regimes.. @DavidKaib

    by David Kaib on Sat May 19, 2012 at 07:28:53 PM PDT

  •  AA Sure Screwed St. Louis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slouchsock, VTCC73

    American Airlines was brutal to the ex-TWA workers after thier ill advised takeover of TWA.  They followed up buy cutting flights something like 85% in St. Louis after the Gateway City spend billions on a new runway they had demanded.  I never fly american anymore because of thier overcrowded hubs in Chicago and Dallas where flights are always delayed.  American was once the best run airline but that is ancient history now.  Current management is the worst in the industry. Our work is not over! Giving back to the grassroots.

    by howardpark on Sat May 19, 2012 at 07:36:23 PM PDT

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