Emily, you may want to read your history. Eastern Airlines demise was at the hands of the "infamous" Frank Lorenzo and the flight attendants were not represented by IAM, but by TWU, Transport Workers Union. Lorenzo wanted to have deep cuts made to wages and benefits. The rampers and mechanics represented by IAM walked out, then the pilots represented by ALPA and the FA's represented by TWU all supported the rampers and mechanics in a sympathy strike. Lorenzo was named as one of Time Magazine's 10 "worst bosses of the century. Smisek I would say carries similar qualities to Lorenzo.
A myriad of factors caused the demise of Eastern. Here is brief excerpt of history. It is unfair to say IAM caused Easterns closure. The sinking ship started with Bakes and finished with Lorenzo. IAM was not the only union for Eastern since each group was represented by a different Union. It appears that the employees (rampers and mechanics) were standing up for themselves. The pilots and flight attendants supported them. The three groups in unison shut down the domestic operations. Lorenzo ran a shoddy operation and that is what caused the demise of Eastern. Ask any of the old Eastern employees their take on Lorenzo and the facts of that time period and you will hear an earful.
"Phil Bakes, the president of Eastern Airlines, announced plans to lay off 4,000 employees and eliminate and reduce service to airports in the Western United States. Although Eastern's employees saw Lorenzo at the time as a savior, he would prove to be anything but a hero to the employees by the end of the decade. This event is widely seen as the beginning of the unwinding of the company, and the beginning of a steep decline into a period that saw strikes, empty planes, mass layoffs, bankruptcy, and eventually a ceasing of operations.
During Lorenzo's tenure, Eastern was crippled by severe labor unrest. Asked to accept deep cuts in pay and benefits, Eastern's mechanics and ramp service employees, represented by the IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), walked out on March 4, 1989. A sympathy strike called by the pilots represented by ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) and flight attendants represented by TWU (Transport Workers Union) effectively shut down the airline's domestic operations. Non-contract employees, including airport gate and ticket counter agents and reservation sales agents, did not honor the strike. Due to the strike, flights were canceled, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue.
According to Jack E. Robinson's book "Free Fall" about Eastern and its bankruptcy, Lorenzo seriously considered a sale of Eastern to Peter Ueberroth immediately following the strike. Issues over interim management while the sale was being processed eventually caused the deal to fall through. Although other buyers, such as Jay Pritzker expressed interest in the airline, Lorenzo eventually declared Eastern as being "not for sale".
As a result of the strike, weakened airline structure, inability to compete after deregulation and other financial problems, Eastern filed for bankruptcy protection on March 9, 1989. This gave Lorenzo breathing room, and allowed him to continue operating the airline with non-union employees. When control of the airline was taken away from Lorenzo by the courts and given to Marty Shugrue, it continued operations in an attempt to correct its cash flow, but to no avail.
The management in the Miami-Dade county headquarters agreed to shut down Eastern; the airline stopped flying on midnight Saturday, January 19, 1991.
My Dearest Stephanie,
Please Calm down! I LIVED through the Eastern Debacle. This is not my first rodeo! My neighbors on both sides were involved so I know EXACTLY what happened. I merely mention that of all the unions in the universe, having IAM around the corner gives me the shivers! From the experience in the past and what I see now of IAM ..it's not to my liking! What we all discuss here means nothing as we have no control over the bigger picture. I am dreadfully sorry to upset you so. Have a wonderful evening!
I was not upset, just wanted to get the correct facts out there regarding the causes of Eastern's demise and IAM. IAM was only one of the unions at Eastern and it seems that at the time ALPA and TWU were supportive of the rampers and mechanics to strike. If you were a member of TWU-since it sounds like you went through it, did you not support then support TWU to back IAM in their strike. The strike was only one piece of the puzzle for Eastern. Lorenzo's mismanagement is what brought the whole thing down. He did not get "worst boss" in the USA from Time Magazine award for nothing. Just trying to set the record straight.
Cera, please allow me to make a few corrections. AFA is not in bankruptcy. It partnered with CWA to expand the representational coverage it could offer its FA's. The local reps do not "spend as they see fit", they are accountable to their members and the international office for their expenditures. Each local council votes on their representation and that president votes for international officers. And does so with the full cooperation of the local members. And yes, XJT FA's make more than ASA FA's (for now). But that may be part of why XJT was for sale. AFA has (in addition to education and technology) EAP, Safety, as well as a comprehensive grievance process. Not to mention, it does NOTHING but represent Flight Attendants. Sort of like making sure you see a cardiologist for your heart problem instead of a chiropractor.
The ASA and XJT FA's will have to choose between the unions by virtue of the merger between the 2 airlines. The two votes have nothing to do with each other. It is, however, my understanding that IAM represents both CAL and XJT without distinction between the two. They are part of the same lodge, as that is how the IAM is structured.
p.s. emily thanks for providing the AFA information. everyone deserves to see what the alternatives are.
Xjt fa never voted to have IAM. We were all Continental and when we spun off, they remained our union. As continental express we voted for them. I have been happy with the work rules, QOL etc. I work 8-11 days a month and still retain all my benefits and have lots of flexibility in trading. The union reps have been accessible and there is a reason they are the number one airline union out there.
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