Are American's Unions Blind?

Last week news started breaking out that US Airways has buy-in from the American Airlines (AA) unions to support a merger of the two airlines.  

So why would the American Airlines unions so agree to a merger?  And when someone comes out ahead, someone loses.   The answer?  Apparently Doug Parker has committed to the AA unions to just about anything they want and most important, seniority over the US Airways and America West unions.   Furthermore, since the American unions out number the US Airways and America West unions, the AA vote is all that matters.  So the real losers are the US Airways employees and America West employees as they will lose their senority to the AA employees.  

It's really sneaky to approach it this way, but it does force the issue of the split that US Airways still has with the 'East' and 'West' teams that operate seperately. But for anyone to think they could pull this up without any ramifcations shows how blind everyone is.  The reality is the folks who will pay for it are the customers as labor actions take place and the number of disgruntled employees increased drastically.

But what is amazing is that the AA unions have bought this lip service.  Doug Parker has a history of labor tension -- it's been seven years since the US Airways and America West merger, yet the labor groups are still not unified.  While some will blame the unions, the reality is that the management team is who is responsible in the end.  Without a unified work force, US Airways continues to run two airlines within an airline which minimizes the benefits they should have seen by executing the merger to begin with.  

Apparently I am not alone in my belief as to how ridiculous this is.  The Motley Fool has a great article called US AIrways: Hell Bent on Creating History's Worst Airline.

Make no mistake, the US Airways management team has no interest in employees, they are merely a pawn in their attempt to grow a substandard empire.   Given the past comments about US Airways being the ugly girl at the dance, I have to ask, are the unions at American blind?   If the unions really are so gullible, i've got a bridge to sell, maybe they need one of those too.


dougies brother April 23, 2012 at 08:42 pm

I have lurked on this site for a while and really do enjoy it. I do however, despise all the usairways bashing that seems to go on by those "in the know"....why shoudnt usairways merge? do the long term economics of this industry not point to it? and by all means, all you ual lovers....looked at what happened to your beloved airline, i see nothing but complaints after the merger from you primadonnas. Does anyone really believe more half solvent airlines is better than a few consolidated bunch? Just look what happened to the steel industry for your answer.

Fozz April 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

@dougies brother: My point wasn't that US Airways shouldn't merge, they can merge as much as they want. But they shouldn't me merging with an airline that is better than them. The original US Airways was a far superior airline to what it is today. Why? Simple. The America West culture prevailed and and brought down an airline which a lot of people used to love. If you look at the financials of US Airways, it is barely making money. Any money it's making is due to ancillary fees, without those fees the airline would be bleeding money.

As for UAL, i can't say I was a die hard United lover. Yes, I enjoyed their product and their service, but I was far more loyal to Continental then I ever was United. But, all in all, I don't think the new United is bad at all, quite frankly, i'm rather pleased with how it turned out given what happened to Northwest when Delta acquired them.

dougies brother April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

Perhaps you should compare net income of LCC and AMR and determine who is barley making money.

Fozz April 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

@dougie's brother: That really makes no sense. AMR is in Chapter 11, they realize they aren't making money. The point of my comment was that US is barely surviving, that is a free standing comment without comparison to anyone else.

dougies brother April 24, 2012 at 01:24 pm

The financials for 2011 are pre BK. Why woulndt US merge - they can force labors hand now in a sense, and AMR has the opportunity to reject aircraft leases and the ownership of other assets and contracts...going it on their own isnt going to work as the unions have a seat on their board and rather than shed 12K jobs, a merger would shed roughly half of that. This isn't about spoiled frequent flyer benefits, its as you point out, about survival. I will debate AW bringing down a carrier everyone loved....they had been thru BK court numerous times on their own and are now turning a proft, barely, but its in the balck vs the red. They are doing something right insofar as running a viable business.

UPGRDer April 24, 2012 at 04:42 pm

I'd take another look at how 'disgruntled' employees might be, with this merger. FOR ONCE, it seems like the majority of employees are really on the positive with this. Facebook groups between the two airlines are popping up..flight attendants are already starting to trade wings with each other! AA employee groups are picketing together with phrases like 'Merge, not Purge.' I wouldn't be so sure that you'd see such hatred toward the other airline's employees. We ALL realize our current situations aren't benefiting anyone.