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Airline Gossip: As the Carousel Turns

Airline Gossip: As the Carousel Turns
The Aluminum Lady has become the parodic face of corporate greed

American Airlines Passenger Service Agents Vote for Union

Admirals Club agents always go the extra mile. Now they want something to show for it.

Admirals Club agents (blurred) always go the extra mile. Now they want something to show for it.

Agents of the new American Airlines successfully voted to bring in unionization. Voting ended on September 16th, 2014. For years, the CWA has attempted to organize passengers service agents and reservationist at American, but to no avail. Now with US Airways agents already represented by CWA-International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the landscape has changed. Besides, employees at American have seen enough negative changes in benefits and work-rules to demonstrate the only course being to unionize. It’s the lesser of two evils — stay without a union and at the mercy of executives or at least have a united voice.

“I’ve been an Admirals Club “Angel” for over 20 years and never wanted a union, but we have no choice now. They’ve downgraded retiree healthcare and even the flight benefits; it’s gotten ridiculous” said an Admirals Club agent. Agents of the Admirals Club, although a relatively small group compared to ticket agents and reservationists, have been some of the most historically devoted to remaining union-free.

The Admirals Club’s past leader, Nancy Knipp, was a master of breaking efforts to organize but was let go from the company and now works as an outside consultant to companies wishing to enter the airline club business.

Drama at Virgin America

Crushed over her failed efforts to thwart unionization at Virgin America

Crushed over her failed efforts to thwart unionization at Virgin America

Old news but still worth mentioning was the recent vote by the flight attendants at Virgin America voted to become represented by the TWU. The airline is run by former American Airlines executive David Cush. Frances Fiorillo, Senior Vice President of People and In–Flight Services at Virgin America, who made close to $500K in 2013, broke into tears when the results where reported, according to an inside headquarters source. Her “people” are definitely not feeling warm and fuzzy towards her right now.

Is Alaska Airlines an Endangered Species?

Watch any business channel these days and you see Delta boasting about their push to grow their Seattle hub. Long an Alaska Airlines stronghold, the hub is officially under attack as Delta not only adds service to Asian destinations but to domestic feeder cites as well that cut into Alaska’s bread and butter. Alaska has not stood still; striking back by adding service to Delta’s fortress hubs such as Detroit for instance as well as expanded service to Delta hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Salt Lake City. But will it help? Alaska Airlines is known for its excellent service and tight operation, yet Delta is a mighty network carrier and it may just take a merger with American or United to save the hub that Alaska built in Seattle. If you remember, even American used to offer Asian flights out of Seattle in the 1990’s.

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