With the events of Wisconsin still fresh in our minds, and the cost of public sector unions at the center of state budget debates, it's easy to overlook how devastating big labor can be on the American worker as well as the companies that employ them.
For an example, look no further than American Airlines (AA). AA remained a profitable company in an industry full of bankruptcies for decades, finally succumbing to the increasingly unsustainable union costs and being forced into bankruptcy in 2011. The situation is eerily similar to the auto industry woes as the bill came in on cushy pensions & mandatory wage increases in 2008.
Just as the unions looked to continue their dreamy compensation packages in spite of fiscal realities (which the government was happy to secure for them) so now the unions are working to push off these issues at the cost of company health.
US Air (who continues to struggle to keep the doors open) wants to save their own butts with a merger and they are working together with the pilot and flight attendant unions to force AA's hand.
As recently as this week, they've engaged in strong-arm tactics to force the issue:
American Airlines says it will reduce flights in July partly because of a shortage of pilots due to more of them calling in sick. … The 1 percent reduction in July's schedule follows a 1.5 percent cutback in June, which was also blamed partly on higher usage of sick leave by pilots.
And of course there is some good old fashioned smearing as well:
As part of its effort to pressure American Airlines into allowing a union election for its passenger service agents, the Communications Workers of America launched an online and print ad campaign today arguing that the airline is acting "unAmerican" by trying to prevent the election.
This video explains the issue better than I can:
Also, check out this infographic which lays out the ridiculous labor costs incurred as a result of union negotiation:
You read that right. Out of 100 filled seats on a flight, the airline profits off of just 1. And now the unions intend to sit in it.