Jim Little & The Survey

Bob Owens

Sep 9, 2002

I recall an old ‘Star Trek' episode where 2 neighboring planets fight a
sanitized war with computer projections. This spared both sides the
famine & destruction associated with a traditional war. Citizens deemed
killed in simulations obediently strolled into suicide machines &
vaporized. Of course, Capt Kirk ends the computerized war. Kirk
explained to them that they made warfare far too sterile & this had
counteracted all the reasons for avoiding war.

Such is the imagination of science fiction. Well, not exactly . . . we
at AA lived out a similar script. During the 2003 concessions, company
ideologues & the TWU leadership swore the sacrifice would be mutual.
Virtually all negotiations were conducted by ATD Director Jim Little
behind closed doors. For all we know, Little & AA executives were
smoking Cuban cigars & watching videos. Communication from the TWU
looked as if it were penned in the AA boardroom. Jim Little then
marshaled workers into economic suicide machines with the assurance that
company executives were right behind us. The ratification was scarcely
completed when news came of extravagant executive perks. What was
Little's response??? . . . deny a re-vote. After all, AA needed the
benefits of bankruptcy without actually declaring bankruptcy. Does this
sound like a ‘Star Trek' episode???


With trumpets blaring, lightning crackling from the heavens, a
white-robed Jim Little emerges from the TWU Pantheon holding a survey.
Only a person just awoken from a 30-year coma believes this is anything
more than the window dressing of a decaying Union.

Jim Little is outwardly lying when he proclaims, "We made major
sacrifices to keep AA out of bankruptcy." How has Little sacrificed???
While we lost $20,000 in pay & benefits annually, Little's TWU salary
actually climbed 4.9%. That's right, he made money by ushering us into
the economic suicide machine!!!

The most revealing questions of the survey are those never asked.
Specifically, any references to accountability. Jim Little's political
fortunes ride on NOT being accountable. His swift rise from a tiny TWU
Local to ATD director was accomplished without a single vote being cast
by you or me. This was his prize for years of faithful service to the
TWU bureaucracy. Therefore, Little nor any Intl officer aren't inclined
to promote accountability.


The survey is preoccupied with improving communication. Although a valid
topic, all the multiple choice answers aren't applicable. The problem
with communication is that it's controlled by the same self-absorbed
officers pursuing their personal agendas. Imagine if the nation had 1
newspaper during the Watergate crisis & it was controlled by the White
House. President Nixon would never have been accountable to the American
electorate. Likewise, officers of the Intl Union have repeatedly
censored communication to shield themselves. For example, TWU Express or
more appropriately TWU Pravda has often alluded to Jim Little's courage
for promoting concessions. There's nothing courageous about condemning
workers to a life of destitute, when Little's own wealth wasn't
jeopardized nor was he accountable to the membership's wrath.

The 2003 negotiations showcased the TWU's intolerance for communication.
Not only were Union negotiators compelled to sign confidentiality
statements, but its own by-laws prohibited Local presidents from freely
discussing observations with their members. Such overtures were viewed
as "leaks" by the TWU. But wait, I hear those trumpets again . . . Jim
Little, the God of Communication, has promised to open the information
floodgate. Highly unlikely, especially when none of the unelected ATD
officers post their e-mail addresses.


The survey spends time examining contract negotiations. However, none of
the answers included meddling by the Intl Union. Our negotiating
committee doesn't have autonomy in collective bargaining. All the
proposals are hashed out by Little & the company in seclusion. In this
private venue the company rewards the TWU leadership for keeping the
Union weak. In 1995, the TWU was allowed to organize the American Eagle
group without a contest in exchange for concessions at AA.

In a quirk of TWU collective bargaining, the Intl Pres must approve the
agreement. A recent court decision ruled that members of the negotiating
committee are lowly witnesses to the contract, where Intl Pres Sonny
Hall & Jim Little are the active parties of the contract. Like Little,
Hall isolates himself from the very members he represents.

Why have a negotiating committee if they are not allowed to negotiate???
Simply, because they are cannon fodder. The presence of a negotiating
committee allows the cowardly Little to claim he had no involvement in
negotiations. Compare this to General Eisenhower, who was prepared to
accept full responsibility if the D-Day invasion failed. The TWU
structure of rewarding obedience & vanity cannot produce such
magnanimous leaders.


Requesting members pay the postage of the survey is sanctimonious. It
wasn't too long ago when the TWU squandered postage in an anti-AMFA
campaign. The weight of these pamphlets signed by Jim Little were less
than an ounce, which equated to $0.37 per parcel. Yet, each pamphlet had
$0.60 of postage. This means the TWU overpaid by roughly $2,300 for the
mailing. This doesn't include the savings if bulk mail had been
utilized. That raises the overpayment to approximately $4,000 per
mailing. Multiply this by the 3 incidents & the TWU wasted $12,000 of
our dues!!

I forwarded charges to John Kerrigan against Jim Little for
"misappropriation of Union funds" over this campaign. Kerrigan is a
breathing (although barely) example of a dysfunctional TWU. His advanced
age & impaired faculties keeps him home for the majority of the work
week. Nevertheless, Kerrigan was paid $219,662 last year to be propped
up as an Intl treasurer.

Kerrigan sent my charges to the Intl Executive Council (IEC), the senate
of the TWU. The IEC claimed the pamphlets were circulated by an
organization known as the Committee Fighting the AMFA Raid & not Little.
But this Committee didn't sign the pamphlets . . . Little did. The IEC
further stated that overcharging for postage was "a judgment decision."
My charges were rejected by the IEC unanimously. The US Congress
couldn't even vote unanimously to declare war following the bombing of
Pearl Harbor, but somehow IEC members are never entangled in such
ideological debates. Isn't this statistically impossible??? Not if you
remember that the TWU rewards obedience.

Now, 7 months later, postage strikes a sympathetic chord with the TWU .
. . truly amazing.


Jim Little doesn't have a revolutionary fire burning in his heart. He's
a meek man. A quality that forms the core of the TWU's bureaucracy. Each
level of the bureaucracy select weaklings to serve in lower capacities
as not to threaten the next step of the TWU pyramid. This system makes
Intl officers wealthy, but creates a timid bargaining unit. TWU founder,
Mike Quill, battled a city & told a judge to "drop dead." He would have
been sickened by the orgy that lowered wages & benefits at AA. The top
AA executives made out like bandits as did Little. We know who Jim
Little was emulating.

Jim Little had his opportunity to play the role of the heroic Capt Kirk
in this real life saga. Instead, he decided to be the cheerful doorman
of the economic suicide machines. In his defense, Little is a byproduct
of a structure incapable of developing militant leaders for collective
bargaining. This would have been a thought-provoking subject for a survey.

G Santos
Member-in-Good Standing
Air Transport Local 562
I can hear little now. "Come on now G thats not fair, AA and the twu have given me so much!!!" :ph34r: