The class consciousness of the airline bosses

jonathan flanders jon_flanders at
Tue Mar 13 19:18:33 MST 2001

" But it was a union that was divisible, the report said, because it
bargained at once for so many unskilled trades along with the
professionally licensed mechanics who maintained and repaired airplanes.
"These are highly skilled workers,’’ the consultant’s report said,
‘‘usually pretty bright guys, rather conservative. They don’t like being
associated with the hot-headed bag-busters,........"

Indeed, and now we have Bush taking on AMFA, who split away from the
machinist's union precisely along those craft-minded lines.

Bush is calculating that AMFA could be his PATCO(the air traffic
controllers union that Reagan destroyed back in 1981.) Like PATCO,  a
conservative group who actually endorsed Reagan, AMFA is isolated from the
rest of labor. Bush hopes the hostility felt towards AMFA by the
Machinist's leadership will give him room to make an example out of them,
by bringing the full force of the Railroad Labor Act to bear,  resulting in
a pattern settlement that the rest of the unions will have to follow.

This has been done for decades in the rail industry, and now, according to
the NY Times, the airlines are considered too important to the economy to
let workers strike without government intervention. How this intervention
will go down, given the problem posed by the question of Bush's legitimacy,
will make for some interesting times ahead.

Jon Flanders

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