American Airlines Pilots Walk Picket Lines
As the spouse of a flight attendant employed by a profitable air carrier, I like to keep a watchful eye on the airline industry. Today, one of my twice-weekly trips to St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport afforded me the opportunity to get a firsthand look at some airline employees making news without leaving the ground.
American Airlines pilots walked a picket line at the airport known as “STL” as part of a nationwide effort organized by their collective bargaining agent (a.k.a., “union”), the Allied Pilots Association. Similar efforts are taking place in eight other U.S. cities and London, according to an APA news release today. Through the effort, APA officials hope to “voice concerns over the airline’s reliability” to some of the airline’s corporate clients and institutional investors as well as to travelers.
Maybe I’m too thick-headed to get it, but doesn’t a protest effort like this do more harm than good? Sure, you garnered some media attention, but your airline just finished what could possibly be measured as the worst week in its history (i.e., 3,000 canceled flights and hundreds of thousands of upset customers). Walking a picket line doesn’t convey the right message to the people within your key demographic areas.
If I’m responsible for arranging corporate travel for a company whose bottom line depends upon reliable options for its employees, I’m going to view this as a signal that I need to find a more-reliable carrier NOW!
If I’m an institutional investor, I might be inclined to move my investments to a carrier whose track record offers less risk.
Finally, if I’m a traveler without the big-picture interests outlined above, I’m not too worried about the bitter management-labor battle that seems to hover over most — but not all — of the players in the airline industry. Instead, I’m interested in other things, such as getting back to my hometown for my 30th high school reunion, making it on time to the city where I have to make a sales presentation or enjoying the majority of my week off at the beach instead of inside a terminal.
Here’s to hoping the folks at American Airlines get their management-labor squabbles resolved soon. St. Louis doesn’t want to go through another gloomy period like the one that followed TWA’s demise.
To see more photos of the picketing American Airlines pilots, click here.