Dec 9, 2002
US Airways, having convinced its workers to give one round of concessions after it declared bankruptcy, has now come back for more.
The first time around, USAir used the pretext of September 11 to go into bankruptcy – holding the threat of the courts over the workers' heads. It got the unions to agree to 5.5 billion dollars in concessions. It was the only way to save jobs – or so said USAir. This time it says that the threat of a war with Iraq and higher fuel prices mean that it can't get out of bankruptcy unless the workers sacrifice another 300 million dollars. At the same time it announced further layoffs.
Accepting concessions didn't stop the loss of jobs. It just encouraged USAir to cut still more workers. As far as the bosses are concerned, any excuse will do – so long as the workers go along with it.
No one should ever believe what a company says when it comes asking for concessions. But even if USAir really is in bad shape, it has resources, including the deep pockets of its bankers, investors – and executives. But so long as the workers agree to make sacrifices, no one else will cough up a penny. What counts for the workers is whether they are determined not to be the ones to pay for the mess that management has made.
This time, let the ones who made money off of the mess pay for it.