American Airlines mechanics are threatening a strike – “the bloodiest, ugliest battle” – unless the Dallas-based carrier comes up with a new contract.
In an intense verbal confrontation captured on video and released by the Transit Workers Union, TWU John Samuelson lambasted American Airlines president Robert Isom in one of the airline’s regular town hall meetings with employees. This one took place at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
The mechanics have been without a contract for three years, and it’s getting increasingly bitter. The airline this week airlines/american-airlines-sues-mechanics-to-avoid-more-delays-cancellations.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>filed a lawsuit accusing the mechanics of conducting an illegal “slowdown” at work, to the point where more than 900 flights were canceled or delayed between February and mid-May.
The union is looking for a better contract after having given the airline concessions for years in the wake of the 9/11 fallout for airlines.
Samuelson said that was hogwash.
“I stand here to tell you that you’re not going to get what you want,” the TWU president told Isom. “If this erupts into the bloodiest, ugliest battle that the United States labor movement ever saw, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re already profitable enough.”
American made $3 billion in profit last year.
Isom quickly shot back at Samuelson and said: “I will tell you this, that anybody that seeks to destroy American Airlines, that is not going to be productive. It just won’t. I’ll tell you what, the rhetoric that says we’re going to battle, we can’t live this way.”
Samuelson said he is trying to avoid the airline imposing what is known as “self-help,” a situation where American could foist a new contract on the mechanics without their vote if the federal government allows it.
“If we ever get to a point where there’s self-help, we are going to engage in (an) absolutely vicious strike action against American Airlines to the likes of which you’ve never seen,” Samuelson said. “Not organized by airline people, but organized by a guy that came out of the New York City subway system that’s well inclined to strike power, and who understands that the only way to challenge power is to aggressively take it to them. We’re going to shut this place down.”
Comments & Discussion
IATA: Damage to Air Travel Will Extend Into 2023
Any comeback by the beleaguered airline industry will extend into 2023, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airlines’ main trade group.
Long-haul travel will continue to lag behind and passenger fears about flying in general will contribute to the delay, Lonely Planet reported.
IATA estimates that passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2023. It expects that global passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent below 2019 levels and 32 percent lower than the forecast the association made in October 2019.
The new data is based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders could return if the virus comes back strong in the fall and winter with a second wave, as some health officials have predicted.
In addition, another contributing factor is quarantine measures that have been instituted by various countries as well as individual states in the U.S. According to IATA, 69 percent of recent travelers that it surveyed said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period once they arrive at their destination. IATA is asking governments to find alternatives to the quarantine measures.
Of course, all of this is contingent upon the public’s willingness to fly—and instilling confidence in that will take time, said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for the economic recovery, we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures,” he said. “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers the confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle, and it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”
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