American’s ground workers’ union is slamming the company’s management in newspaper ads running in three cities this morning, a sign that labor-management relations at the USA’s biggest carrier remain frayed. In the ads, the union says management’s actions are “tearing a once-proud airline apart,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram – one of the papers the union chose for the ad. The ads were also scheduled to run in the Tulsa World and the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Associated Press writes “the Transport Workers Union, the airline’s biggest labor group and the one seen as most friendly toward management, took out advertisements to blame company leaders for the lack of a new labor contract. And, picking open an old sore, the union criticized American for giving stock-based compensation to executives while thousands of rank-and-file workers face layoffs.” On that subject, AP notes that AA “says the payments totaling more than $250 million over the last three years to several hundred managers are part of their compensation and are not bonuses.”
According to the Star-Telegram, the union’s ad reads: “”These are difficult days for all airlines, there’s no denying it, but American Airlines’ unwillingness to come to even an interim agreement or agree to incentive pay for its ground workers while lining the pockets of executives is tearing a once-proud airline apart.” Jim Little, the union’s international president, tells the Star-Telegram that union members believe AA has not lived up to pledges to share in the gains made by luring outside maintenance contacts, the Star-Telegram writes. Little adds worker morale “is the lowest I’ve seen in a long time.”
As for the union’s ad, AA spokeswoman Tami McLallen responded by telling the Star-Telegram: “It is disappointing that the TWU has taken this approach to the current contract negotiations.”