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Dishonest Tactics:  How Unions Lie a Lot

 

The www.Untied.com site has been on the web since about 1997.  Apparently, started by a disgruntled customer.  But, union malcontents have used it repeatedly to slander their own airline.  That is known as "Corporate Campaign" and/or "Industrial action" in union parlance----whenever they are trying to negotiate better terms for the union.  Publicly slandering their own airline, as a tactic to pressure management into capitulating to union extortion demands, is an age-old tactic of airline unions.  Somehow, they actually seem to think that driving away good and valuable customers (who are the ultimate source of all their wages and benefits), is a rational way to keep improving the living standards of their members.

Dan Rodriguez, of the Rocky Mountain News, lists some of the kinds of tactics used by unions of all kinds:

"Consumer boycotts. A recent example was when the Communications Workers of America spent $2 million on an advertising campaign asking consumers not to buy service from Verizon until the company agreed to the union's demands. The telecom industry has been one of the hardest-hit during the past few years, yet the CWA says, "Don't buy our service." How could this be in the employees' best interest"

"Sociopolitical pressure. Labor unions have never been shy about gathering politicians, religious leaders and minority figureheads to put pressure on companies during labor strife. These shows of solidarity rarely do anything but lower the public perception of the targeted company; reputations that in many cases take decades to build are ruined overnight by the unsubstantiated acts of a few. Labor union political action committees gave more than $90 million during the 2000 presidential campaign, and more than 94 percent of that money went to Democratic candidates.

"Financial relationships. Because banks are notoriously shy when it comes to even the hint of impropriety, unions will target a company's relationship with their lending institutions in order to cause harm. During labor disputes, unions shamelessly spread false rumors against the target company, then call on the banks to "take a higher road" and end the business relationship. Again, effective tactic, but helping the employee"

"Negative public relations. Unions inundate the airways and Internet with hate-filled messages aimed at a target company. One need only take a short walk through recent events to find numerous examples: Verizon, United, American Airlines, Pacific Maritime Association (California dockworkers). The intent is usually not economic, but to degrade (and oftentimes defame) the target company's reputation so badly that the company gives in to the union's demands. However, the effects of the negative and personal media messages often cause a lasting schism between the employee and management that is too deep to cross."

Roger Hall used such methods, during and after the 1985 pilots' strike against United Airlines.  He even went to the extreme of handing out a packet to every pilot, with forms for reporting to the union, unsafe situations that the pilots might observe in daily operations.  They were to keep handing in those forms so the unions could "document" how unsafe United was.  That occurred while Hall and F. Lee Bailey had a secret plan to drive down the stock price of UAL, so they could enact a hostile takeover of the company.  

The FAA has historically been flooded with complaints about improper maintenance and procedures, whenever there is a protracted contract dispute between an airline and its union members.  Those same union members also leak to the press, so that the FAA is forced to follow up and investigate those complaints, even though most turn out to be bogus.

The same thing happened at Eastern and Continental when both were staring bankruptcy in the face, and management said the only way to save their companies was for union members to accept significant cuts in wages and benefits.

At Eastern Airlines, the mechanics union was able to get ABC's 20/20 program to do a segment on how Eastern maintenance on an Airbus engine, and on a stretched DC-9, was deficient and endangered the flying public.  Both claims were bogus; there was no substandard maintenance in either case.  Yet, the leftist press was willing to act as a shill for the labor unions against Eastern.  In so doing, ABC and other media outlets helped the unions to destroy the jobs that used to exist at that airline.

Do you remember when the press was full of stories about how airlines were cutting back on decent cabin air, to save fuel?  Totally bogus issue.  It was started by the Flight Attendants union, when they were in contract negotiations with UAL.  Of course, Ralph Nader and his corporation-hating robots jumped right in and sung the chorus on that one.  For why I saw that as a totally bogus issue, go to:

http://airlinesafety.com/faq/CabinAir.htm

and:

http://airlinesafety.com/letters/CabinAirQlty.htm

The moral of the story, is to take with a grain of salt, the postings by union members of how unsafe their airline is.  Once the contracts have been settled, those kinds of allegations usually drift silently away. 

The problem I have with unions, under our current American Labor Laws, is that they are based on force; they are based on fraud; they are based on coercion, intimidation and outright violence.  I have asked this question many times, but no one who supports labor unions has ever been willing to give me a coherent answer:

If the unions have such a good product to sell, why cannot they sell it without the use of fraud, coercion and outright violence?

Unions lie a lot, and that is a major reason why over 400,000 private sector unions jobs were eliminated in the year 2002, alone.  Unions do not create and protect jobs.  To the contrary, they seem to be intent on destroying those jobs with their Kamikaze, kill the Golden Goose that lays our eggs, mentality.

 

February, 2005

Robert J. Boser    
Editor-in-Chief 
AirlineSafety.Com

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