IAM betrayal at united need not be repeated at U S Air


Aug 22, 2002
David Kesmodel, Rocky Mountain News
July 23, 2003
50% pay cut was too much to take
Aircraft cleaner says resignation was a matter of principle
In the wee hours of Wednesday, April 30, United Airlines employee Teresa Walter set a table with chocolate-covered strawberries and glasses of sparkling cider in the break room at Denver International Airport.
As Walter''s fellow airplane cleaners on the graveyard shift gathered in the room for their 2:30 a.m. lunch break, she rose to make an announcement.
I would like you to join me in celebration of my resignation, Walter, 45, declared.
A 14-year veteran of United, she said she could not on principle accept a revised wage-tier system that would drop her pay to about $9 an hour from nearly $20 - to $18,700 a year from $41,000.
A day earlier, a majority of United''s airplane cleaners and mechanics had approved the contract changes, part of $2.56 million in annual wage and benefit cuts the giant carrier said it needed to emerge from bankruptcy-court protection.
Today, Walter, a married mother of a 22-year-old college student, is collecting unemployment and trying to decide what to do. Although she quit her job, she qualified for unemployment because of the depth of the pay cut she faced, she said.
It''s difficult starting over at 45, especially with the uncertainty of the economy and with a son in college, but my husband and son and I will make it. It just won''t be with United, she said.
It''s unclear how many United workers have quit the company over the labor concessions, but a significant number have chosen to retire. And some employees say they wish they had been eligible to retire rather than cope with six years of lower wages. Some are circulating résumés, although the competition for jobs in the sluggish economy is fierce.
I hope that all members of 141M at U S Airways, especially the utility department, read this news article and think seriously about the IAM’s commitment to their group. It is obvious from this article that the cleaners at United were sold out by this corrupt union.
The IAM negotiated 50% wage cuts for the utility department in addition to farm out language that would have made Frank Lorenzo proud. The wage cuts were so deep that cleaners could quit their job with UAL and still be eligible for unemployment compensation.
I believe that all U S Airways 141m members will soon have the opportunity to eject this useless union in favor of “AMFAâ€￾. Take the time to find out all the facts; don’t allow your decision to be based on the lies and deceit of your local IAM lapdogs. Especially in Pittsburgh! You’ll know when they are lying,their lips will be moving.
I hope the aircraft cleaner in the article uses her unemployment money to get a degree if she does not have one already. She will be hard pressed finding cleaning jobs that pay over $41,000 a year. It must be nice to be able to act on principle. So many people I have run into at the unemployment office would literally give their firstborn child for an opportunity to earn over $18,000 a year doing anything. The cleaner at least allows someone else to remain on the payroll who cannot feed, house, or clothe their children on principle. In North Carolina, PillowTex Industries closed down yesterday and several thousand people who were employed there are out of jobs. Sadly, many are unable to do anything other than work in a mill.