Thursday, August 04, 2011

Blame Delta and Mica

I do. If you don’t know the whole story, you just think you’re mad about the FAA furlough situation. Wait until you fully understand what is going on. Then you’ll really be mad.

First, take a look at this short piece on FDL.

Congress Officially Leaves Town Without FAA Agreement

”While they work something out on the last 10%, they could pass an extension of the old authorization, the way they have 20 times since 2007. But House Republicans want to make it harder for Delta’s workers to unionize. They want to mandate that any absent voter in a union election is a vote against the union. They haven’t yet applied this to their own elections, but that’s how they want unions to operate. The NLRB passed regulations that would ban this practice, and Delta simply won’t allow votes for its workers under the new rules. And Republicans have hijacked the FAA on behalf of Delta.”


Now think on that a second. You hold an election to see if you want to unionize and any vote that isn’t cast... is counted as a “no” vote. As my fellow retired-controller Doug Wicker notes, we wouldn’t have a Congress if we applied that same rule to Congressional elections.

Can This Economy Take a 90,000-Job Hit?

”See the inherent unfairness of this situation?  If we counted as a “no” the vote of everyone in this country who chose not to participate in an election, probably no current member of Congress would have been elected . . . including Congressman John Mica.  But Congressman Mica objects to this new rule that only counts actual ballots, so he attempted to thwart the rights of workers by demanding that a vote not cast once again be counted as a “no” vote in a union election.  He inserted that language into the twenty-first FAA extension knowing full well that it would never pass the Senate.”

John Mica Portrait

You see, Mica intentionally set out to anger Senate Democrats over this issue. He did it by choosing an unrelated issue, one that is hard to understand and difficult to defend. You can understand it (people in rural places need access to air transportation too, just like roads) and it can be defended. It just takes more time than the average American’s attention span or your average news segment. Fortunately for me, my readers aren’t average.

Here’s the scoop I linked to last week from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

”Mica used the House version of the FAA bill to try to squeeze savings from the Essential Air Service program, where the feds help smaller airports stay open by subsidizing the ticket cost of each plane passenger.

"I put provisions in there to stop subsidies of over $1,000 a ticket," Mica said.

And it was notable that the provision affected small airports in some states with very powerful Democrats: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) among others.

And obviously, those three Democrats weren't just going to accept those changes.”

Mica, being the clever weasel that he is, gave himself an issue that is easy to “sound bite” and has nothing to do with the issue at hand. In other words, unless you have as much time to read as I do and some inside knowledge about the industry, you’ll never understand what is going on. If you wanted to be kind and reasonable, you might say Chairman Mica has obscured the issue. I don’t feel like being kind or reasonable with Chairman Mica so I’ll tell you flat out he is being deceitful.

See? You just thought you were outraged. But if I had an unlimited amount of your time, I could show you how this corporate power has corrupted more than just our politicians. It has corrupted our nation. How many of you remember that Delta and Northwest went into bankruptcy at the same time?


Delta, Northwest file for bankruptcy protection

”Both airlines likely will use bankruptcy to slash labor and pension costs, following in the footsteps of No. 2 carrier United Airlines, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for nearly three years. Together, Delta and Northwest employ nearly 100,000 people.

The latest bankruptcies, which had been widely anticipated, could put added pressure on other carriers including industry leader AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, by putting them at a competitive disadvantage as their bankrupt rivals shed costs and ditch pensions, analysts said.”

Don’t lose focus now. The initial issue is the right to form a union. ”...slash labor and pension costs...” You see how corporations are using more than just clever politicians to keep wages and benefits down? After all, that’s what unions are about -- wages and benefits. Otherwise we’d all still be working 10+ hour days, 6 days a week.

”Analysts said Northwest, which hired replacement workers to substitute for mechanics and cleaners who struck last month, could be using bankruptcy to get concessions that unions have been unwilling to grant at the bargaining table.”

Ya think?

(For those that would like to read more, here’s another good piece from the AJC).

I forgot who said it but I read it on Facebook a few days ago, “If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention.” I just remember it had nothing to do with this issue. These shenanigans are pervasive. Delta Airlines and John Mica are engaged in the same kind of tactics that are being used everywhere. They aren’t the only ones to blame. But they’re as good a place to start as anywhere else. Blame them. I bet it won’t even be hard to do.

Delta making extra $5M a day during FAA partial shutdown

”When the taxes were dropped, the airlines raised their prices the same amount. That's how they're making the extra money.”

That’s right, they’re taking your tax dollars -- the money that was supposed to pay your employees and pay for your infrastructure -- and putting it in their pocket. And you wonder why the rich keep getting richer and you get poorer.

In case it hasn’t hit you, it’s the same thing that’s been happening for the last 30 years.

[Reagan fires PATCO controllers]

Don Brown
August 4, 2011

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