The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Airlines:
Government cuts pay, trashes pensions

Jan 10, 2005

On January 6, two different federal bankruptcy courts attacked airline workers. In Alexandria, Virginia, a judge cancelled the machinists union contract at USAir and told the company it could end its pension contributions. In Chicago, the judge ordered 11.5% pay cuts for United baggage handlers and agents covered by the machinists union.

Court orders aren't written in stone – and workers have sometimes forced them to be torn up. Are the USAir and United workers ready to do the same thing today? Maybe.

In any case, chaos recently broke out at USAir's Philadelphia operation, with 10,000 lost bags and thousands of angry customers. Part of the problem was weather and severe understaffing, but part was due to workers who called in sick. One USAir maintenance worker, Don Logan Jr. said to the press: "Back at Thanksgiving, we were short. Did they think it was going to go away come Christmas? I don't blame any employee who wants to spend the holidays with their family after what they have been put through this year."