Saturday, August 20, 2005

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Union-Style

I've mentioned before that I'm no huge fans of unions, mostly because the things that union members "demand" seem to get in the way of their helping people, which is supposed to be a primary reason why people are in business in the first place (yeah yeah, making money, etc., but let me at least view the world through one rose-colored lens every once in a while). The last time we discussed this, it was the striking hockey players' union; this time, it's the striking mechanics at Northwest Airlines. My only personal dog in this hunt is that a good friend is booked on Northwest in a few days, but his flight looks to be less in jeopardy now that the airline has brought in replacement workers.

Anyway, it was a sentence in the article about the replacements that really jumped out at me:
After months of talks broke off in Washington just before midnight Friday, union spokesman Jim Young said the mechanics would rather see the airline go into bankruptcy than agree to Northwest's terms. The Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association represents about 11 percent of Northwest's 40,000 workers.
Wow. Can you say "selfish," boys and girls? These guys would prefer to see as many as forty thousand people lose their jobs rather than take a pay cut that might help the company stay afloat?

Incidentally, the mechanics are flying solo on this one, as it were:
The mechanics are striking alone. Pilots, flight attendants and other ground workers all said they would keep working, and a federal judge barred mechanics at Northwest regional carrier Mesaba Airlines from conducting a sympathy strike.
In all seriousness, I hope the replacement mechanics do a much better job than, say, the replacement NFL players of days gone by, since much more than a team's won-loss record is at stake. Yes, the airline industry is doing badly (save for a local carrier that's still legislatively hamstrung in its hometown...but that's a subject for later), and it will take some shared sacrifice to keep some of these companies in the air. It's too bad these union members can't see beyond their own bottom line, because they're cutting off their own nose to spite their face. I am still so glad that I live in a right-to-work state.

Would "Pleistocene Park" be a bad idea? You ain't lion! One of the big topics in the blogosphere this week has been the proposal to transplant African wildlife, such as lions, elephants and cheetahs (oh my!), to the Great Plains area of the American southwest. We were talking about this at dinner last night, and several of us figured out that, if this were to happen, a new rural teenage fad would emerge: Lion-tipping!
(I also posted this thought in the comments at Althouse, where other interesting theories abound.)


Gary P. said...

Semantic Point Ahead: The NHL players were not on strike. They were being locked out by ownership.

Kev said...

Heh, OK, duly noted. I used the strikethrough function to strike the word "strike" from the paragraph. ;-)