Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Delta Is Doomed?

How's that for an outrageous headline?

Delta pilots have authorized a strike. It's not time to panic. Yet. Authorization of a strike in a nasty labor negotiation is a common tactic by a union to show they mean business.

Here is the depressing part. I spoke to a local union friend last night. He's not in the airline industry but he is pretty wired into the local labor scene. This is not a pessimistic man. Most of our discussions revolve around how he is working to fix issues and how the outcome is positive. That was not the case last night.

I asked if he had heard the union had voted to strike. His face lit up at the thought of wonderful solidarity. It fell when I mentioned I had been in Atlanta during the Eastern Airlines fiasco of the late 80s. I said that the two sides in Delta had to work to a resolution. My friend soberly responded that he believed there was no way the two sides could meet each other's demands. I said again, they have to work something out. He just shook his head and said no more.

When Eastern finally shut down in 91, it was a crushing blow to an Atlanta economy suffering from the malaise of a national recession. What was worse were the stories my friends at employment services told of workers accustomed to making 40 to 50 grand a year not being able to find $8.00 an hour jobs because their skill set was too specialized.

The old joke that Delta stands for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport may soon be all too real.


Sara said...

Perhaps the best option is for the arbitration panel to reject Delta's request to throw out the pilot's contract. The pilots would have no reason to strike then, though it is doubtful Delta would be able to emerge from bankruptcy soon, if ever, under the weight of that contract.

I will be so pissed if all of my frequent flier miles go to waste. I better take a vacation soon before Delta goes bye-bye!

griftdrift said...

The standoff is now at high noon. If the arbitrator throws out the contract, the pilot's immediately strike.