Forced into further pay and work-rule concessions, US airline labour is moving to a new campaign tactic: not to strike or take any other type of industrial action, but to highlight executive pay and perks in what it is calling the “Executive Compensation Watch”.

Led by flight attendants, the lowest paid group and therefore the most vulnerable to pay cuts, the unions are publicising bonuses paid to executives, their profits from stock options, and in general the stabilising financial situation of the carriers.

Northwest tail 

Unions at Northwest Airlines have changed tactics in their fight against pay and work-rule concessions

At Northwest Airlines, Professional Flight Attendants Association president Guy Meek launched “anti-greed” efforts “to expose any cash- and stock-looting at the corporation” after members rejected a contract that would have cut their benefits. Meek said industrial action would be ill-advised but that public sentiment was important. Union attorney Mark Richard urged members to look out for executives “skimming from the company”.

The independent union began its publicity efforts as Northwest prepared to ask the bankruptcy judge overseeing its Chapter 11 reorganisation to impose a contract without further negotiations.

Shortly after that, the Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America began similar efforts. It went on the attack against executives at Northwest and at US Airways, excluding chief executive Doug Parker, who had exercised stock options and made a collective profit of $8.8 million. All are former America West officers who arranged these options before the 2005 merger with US Airways. Union leader Mike Flores called the perks “just beyond obscene”. ■

Source: Airline Business