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US Airline Workers Join Railroaders In Fight Against Abusive Work Conditions

Growing militancy among US airline workers over intolerable work conditions and low pay is fusing with the rebellion by railroad workers, who are heading toward an historic confrontation with the Biden administration and the US Congress with the passage of legislation imposing a contract that workers have rejected. Airline workers are in virtually the same situation as railroaders, with flight crews facing short staffing leading to overwork and potentially catastrophic pilot fatigue. While airlines are raking in bumper profits, boosted by massive government subsidies, airline workers, whose pay has long been stagnant, are being ravaged by inflation. Like railroad workers, airline workers are confronting a ruthless corporate management.

‘I Get To Have A Life’: Pilots Speak Out On Contract Fights

Airline labor is at a breaking point. The country’s four largest airlines are facing pilot labor conflicts, all centering on a mismanaged pandemic recovery. The pilots, split among three unions, share grievances over grueling schedules. They say overwork has depleted their home lives while inflation eats into their paychecks. Delta pilots have voted by 99 percent to authorize a strike, with 96 percent turnout. United pilots voted by 94 percent to reject a tentative agreement, and the American pilots union leadership voted not to even send their deal out for a vote. Southwest pilots filed for mediation in September, signaling that contract negotiations are not going smoothly either. Any potential strikes are still a long way off.

Delta Airline Pilots Vote Near-Unanimously For Strike Action

On Monday, 15,000 Delta Airline pilots voted to go on strike by more than 99 percent, after contract talks have dragged on for three years between management and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Delta pilots have been working under the strictures of their 2016 contract. The contract became open for negotiations in 2019 before being put on hold during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiations resumed under the direction of a federal mediator. “Today, Delta’s nearly 15,000 pilots sent a clear message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a contract that reflects the value we bring to Delta Air Lines as frontline leaders and long-term stakeholders,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi of ALPA in a public statement.

Inside The Fight To Unionize Delta Air Lines

“Flight attendants at Delta are currently pushing to form a union at the only major airline in the US where flight attendants are not unionized,” journalist and friend of the show Michael Sainato recently wrote in The Guardian. ​“The aim is to allow the airline’s 23,000 flight attendants to vote on whether to unionize with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) and will face fierce opposition from an airline that has fought previous efforts.” Delta has fiercely fought off unionization efforts in the past, but workers and organizers are confident that this time they’ll get a victory. We talk with Jonnie Lane, who works at Delta and has been a flight attendant for the past 15 years, about her path to working in the airline industry, what it’s been like working as a flight attendant before and during COVID-19, and what a union would mean for Jonnie and her coworkers.

Lufthansa Workers Strike Over Wages

The ver.di union, one of the unions representing workers at the German airline Lufthansa, has called for a new strike on Wednesday, July 27, to demand a 9.5-percent wage increase to address inflation. The strike affects ground workers in maintenance and towing. “The situation at airports is degenerating and employees are increasingly under pressure and overworked due to severe understaffing, high inflation, and no raise for three years,” Christine Behl, a ver.di leader, told AFP. This flows from a shortfall of 7,000 employees in Germany’s aviation sector, the result of precarious jobs marked by low wages, along with the significant number of jobs lost during the pandemic. In a press release addressed to passengers, the union explains, “We want a functioning air traffic without stress and strain for our passengers and employees.

Southwest Airlines Pilots Rally: ‘Our Passengers And Pilots Deserve Better’

More than 1,300 Southwest Airlines pilots protested the carrier at Dallas Love Field on Tuesday amid tense contract negotiations, holding signs that read “Our passengers and pilots deserve better” and “Southwest’s operation: From first to worst.” The union representing 8,300 pilots at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said the company’s antiquated and inefficient scheduling practices are making life hard on aviators and creating more delays and cancellations. There were enough Southwest pilots to make a line of sign-holders in front of the entire terminal, with another group inside near ticketing, one on the road leading into the airport and another along Mockingbird Lane outside the airport. “Our point is that you have enough pilots today to operate the airline,” said Southwest Airlines Pilots Association president Casey Murray.

Flight Attendant Union Criticizes CDC For Decision

Flight Attendant union president and labor leader Sara Nelson is criticizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for changing its guidance on quarantining for COVID-19 after business leaders asked the agency to cut its recommendations by half, potentially at the cost of public health. Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International, accused the CDC in a statement of making its decision to benefit businesses that may be experiencing staffing issues, rather than stemming the spread of the virus. “We said we wanted to hear from medical professionals on the best guidance for quarantine, not from corporate America advocating for a shortened period due to staffing shortages,” Nelson said.

Flight Attendants Tell Airlines: Don’t Even Think About Concessions

The COVID-19 crisis hit airline workers with speed and devastation. Passenger flow through TSA checkpoints fell 97 percent in March compared to a year earlier. In the months since, travel demand has only barely recovered, to 20 percent of a year ago. Flight attendants know from hard experience the volatility of the airline industry and the harsh impact a crisis can have on airline workers. And this is a crisis like no other in the history of commercial aviation. We know cuts to our contracts at any one airline set up a downward spiral for our careers. Instead, we’re getting ahead of any attempts by management. Flight attendants across the industry are united against concessions. Together, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and the Transport Workers Union—representing 80 percent of all U.S. flight attendants—signed an open letter

250 Organisations Demand Red Lines For Aviation Bailouts

6th of April 2020 - Today, 250 organisations from 25 countries published an open letter directed to governments, urging them to resist any aviation lobby attempts to rush into unfair bailouts of the industry. Instead, governments are implored to use this moment to embed social and environmental conditions, with proper protection for workers and a planned transition towards climate-just mobility. From today onwards, individuals are expressing their support for these demands by signing a rapidly growing petition. “For decades, the aviation industry has avoided contributing meaningfully to global climate goals and resisted the merest suggestion of taxes on fuel or tickets. Now, airlines, airports and manufacturers are demanding huge and unconditional taxpayer-backed bailouts.

Unions Oppose Airline Bailout

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said Thursday that any federal aid package for the airline industry should focus on providing economic relief to employees instead of bailing out the companies. "Let's be really clear, there just can't be a bailout. We've done that before, it doesn't work," Nelson told Hill.TV. She said airline workers need to be able to keep their jobs so they can continue to have access to benefits like health insurance and paid sick leave. Nelson acknowledged that loans from the government would be needed to keep the industry from going under, but argued that assistance should come with caveats. "With those loans come strings attached," she said. "No more stock buybacks, no executive bonuses, no dividends. This is not going to be a bailout for Wall Street, this is going to be a relief package for workers."

Barred From Striking, Airline Food Workers Seek Other Ways To Protest

Melieni Cruz, who helps prepare the meals passengers eat on airplanes, went thousands of dollars into debt because she couldn’t pay her soaring medical bills. “When the doctor found cysts on my ovaries, I had to save for a year to afford the procedure, and my cysts got bigger and more painful the whole time,” she said as she picketed the terminal at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

The Lie Of JetBlue Going Carbon Neutral

The Washington Post recently published an article that “Jet Blue plans to go completely carbon neutral on all U.S. Flights.” While this sounds like a delightful and guilt-free way to keep on flying, this move by Jet Blue is nothing short of a ploy to manufacture a green veneer for their very UN-green activities.  For an excellent analysis of the language behind “green” schemes such as this that actually accelerate environmental destruction and human rights abuses, please listen to the Earth Minute above and then read this piece from the latest World Rainforest Movement Bulletin.

American Airlines Mechanics Are Threatening The “Bloodiest, Ugliest Battle” In Labor History

Mechanics at American Airlines are threatening to strike if a new contract isn’t negotiated, and the union president has declared that employees are prepared for the dispute to erupt into “the bloodiest, ugliest battle that the United States labor movement ever saw.” The statement comes just one day after the airline sued its union workers, claiming that they had engaged in an illegal work slowdown to strengthen their hand at the bargaining table. American Airlines merged with US Airways in 2013 to become the largest airline in the world.

Dear Delta Air Lines: Video Games And Beer Cannot Compete With Joining A Union

The airline is telling employees that unions take money they could spend on entertainment instead. Will anyone really fall for that anti-union tactic? In its latest offensive to beat back unionization, Delta Air Lines displays total contempt for labor unions and an astonishing ignorance about what unions have accomplished to lift American workers. Delta has a new anti-union poster that tells employees, “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.” Another Delta poster estimates that union dues cost $700 a year and says, “Nothing’s more enjoyable than a night out watching football with your buddies.

Financial Press: Boeing Should Charge Passengers Extra Not To Crash

CHICAGO — The Boeing Corporation is again under intense scrutiny, as news broke of a Southwest Airlines 737 Max 8 aircraft travelling, without passengers, from Orlando, FL to Victorville, CA that was forced into an emergency landing after an engine failure. All 376 of the aerospace giant’s 737 Max 8 aircraft are currently grounded after two crashes — Lion Air Flight 610 in October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March — killed all 346 souls on board, leading to a public outcry and an investigation expected to be released imminently. A contributing cause of the crashes is widely reported to be the lack of sensors and other safety features that Boeing sells as pricey optional upgrades...
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