Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Northwest Airlines Mechanics strike

25. August 2005 • MarkDilley
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A tsunami of harsh words, misleading newspaper coverage (SHOCKING!) and arguments. In the center, a group of workers on the line. Friends of Labor have stepped forward again. We have an opportunity to hear the workers side and give them a financial hand.

Saturday, August 27, 5:30 pm
OX ROAST
IBEW Local 58 Hall, 1658 Abbott (at Trumbull)
(google map )

$10 at the door/$4 for striking workers

Short notice, but come on out.



  1. What does all this labor crap have to do with Ann Arbor?
       —Elizabeth    Aug. 25 '05 - 08:13PM    #
  2. To answer your question:

    The great majority of Ann Arbor, and the world, are laborers.

    An illustration:

    Let’s say everybody just stopped working in Ann Arbor, for 3 days.

    That happened in San Francisco, in 1934.

    It turned the country upside-down.

    It led to the creation of the whole U.S. union movement, pretty much.

    Almost up until 1934, everyone had thought the unions were dead and buried, and never coming back (like now.)

    This is pretty inspiring, if you’re in any kind of human rights movement.
       —-Blaine. (Palestine)    Aug. 25 '05 - 08:38PM    #
  3. This is inspiring!? To me it looks like a disaster for the union. The mechanics were unwilling to do their share in helping with the company’s finances. Northwest was incredibly well prepared, instituting new systems along with the replacement workers, thereby demonstrating much of the waste with the old system. Northwest is functioning well with reduced costs and can ride this out for the long term. So in other words, labor looks selfish, bound to silly rules and inefficencies, and outfoxed. You have a most generous view of the meaning of “inspiring”.
       —H.S.    Aug. 26 '05 - 12:53AM    #
  4. “The mechanics were unwilling to do their share in helping with the company’s finances.”

    There’s plenty of blame on both sides – the mechanics aren’t the ones that are running the company, are they?

    “Northwest has said it needs $1.1 billion in annual labor cost savings to restructure and avert bankruptcy. The carrier sought $176 million of that amount from mechanics.”

    So they have much bigger problems and the mechanics are just a small part of their financial problems.

    And from what I’ve read, the “offer” the Northworst made to the mechanics was so ruthless that I can’t see how they could have accepted it. From what I’ve read, Northworst wanted the union to accept cuts that would have laid off over half of the union members.

    “The union said the airline’s best proposal would have cut more than half the AMFA jobs and imposed hefty pay cuts for remaining workers.”
       —John Q    Aug. 26 '05 - 09:55AM    #
  5. I’m with John Q. here – from what I’ve seen, a strike in this case is useless and doomed, but not striking would have meant the union had no meaning (and would have subsequently been decimated in membership, even if its members hadn’t given up on it). So, it’s not doing much good, but they had to.

    It also sounds like the union made its bed years ago – hostile schisms from other unions require some reconciliation before you can expect them to risk themselves to help you out.
       —Murph.    Aug. 26 '05 - 11:11AM    #
  6. The strike is fucked, but I still won’t fly NW until it’s resolved.
    Time to go to the Toledo airport, I guess.
       —js    Aug. 26 '05 - 01:18PM    #
  7. Others on this list can tell you how airline mechanics’ union leaders (especially a radical-talking guy nicknamed “Wimpy”) wimped out when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers in 1981.

    By sitting with their hands folded, the big airline unions handed over the 1980’s and 1990’s to the strike-busters without a whimper.

    Now they’re at least whimpering for their rights.

    If you want inspiration, look at the Heathrow airport caterers, and the other unions who jumped to honor their little picket line in London.

    What a reminder about who really keeps the world flying!

    (Too bad if they impact your pocket-book by demanding to eat, and by demanding the right to go see the doctor on occasion.)

    A few largely foreign-born workers in London, who who seem to have no power whatsoever, reminded the world what labor solidairty is.

    They didn’t even want to strike—they were pretty much locked out.

    But look what an inspiration they are, even getting written up thousands of miles away, in ArborUpdate.
       —-Blaine. (Palestine)    Aug. 26 '05 - 02:43PM    #