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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains how Bankruptcy of American Airlines Shows Why Voting Matters!

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-12 08:21 PM
Original message
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains how Bankruptcy of American Airlines Shows Why Voting Matters!
Edited on Fri Feb-03-12 08:45 PM by KoKo
BACKGROUND ARTICLE:

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Director warns AA about abandoning employee pension programs

12/19/2011


With the Chapter 11 filing of American Airlines, the airline claims, for passengers, everything will be as it was, hunky-dory; not so for its workers. Now, the Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the government safety net for corporate pension programs, publicly states that AA should not look to the agency as a place to toss their commitments to their employees.

AA is attempting to put lipstick on this bankruptcy pig. the airline has followed a pattern of mistreating suppliers, distributors, passengers and its unions ever since its management decided to ride out the economic storm following 9/11 on the back of concessions from its workers. Wildly, workers who conceded salaries saw their sacrifices go the pockets of executives making six-figure salaries as bonuses. Now that the employees have been balking, the board of directors has opted for bankruptcy protection as a means to squeeze their unions a bit more. It hasnt been pretty.

Besides ratcheting up the pressure on its labor groups, AA, it seems, has tried to sue everyone in the world. They even have dragged the Consumer Travel Alliance into their nonsensical antitrust suit against a major part of its distribution system as a third-party witness forcing a consumer advocacy organization to spend thousands of dollars to comply with its demands for years of emails and letters between the organization and other industry associations and policy watchdogs.

AA still plans on moving forward with one of the largest aircraft purchases in recent memory, with money lent to them by bankers and investors who plan on the airline jettisoning their defined benefits plans, breaking leases for other uneconomic aircraft, dropping money-losing routes and breaking contract after contract.

It is in this light that the director of PBGC, Josh Gotbaum, issued a pointed press release warning AA that his agency will not make life easy for AA executives planning to trash the airlines benefits program.

MORE AT.......

http://consumertravelalliance.org/2011/12/19/pension-be... /



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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains how the bankruptcy of American Airlines shows us why voting for president is even more important than you think. (PLEASE Watch the video.)


http://thelastword.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/02/10294...

One of the COMMENTERS...on the thread who expresses well what I've heard from my family member who is an American Airlines Pilot (for Eagle Regional)

The other comments on the thread of LO'D's Comment are worth the read. No snark...just heartfelt responses from Airlines Employees who've been through this before and are well-informed.


---------

Ownie's Dad

Lawrence, Great show last night as always, and thank you for the PBGC piece. I am a US Airways flight attendant (27years) as was my wife (laid-off). It hurts every time to re-visit this topic but today I must. In the aftermath of 9/11 virtually the entire airline industry was thrown under the bankruptcy bus, with our company being the first. Ten's of thousands of layoffs, horrific pay and benefit cuts, and pensions terminated. The public sentiment at the time was "let them go bankrupt", perhaps as some sort of payback for running out of chicken on their flight, because it was irrational thinking. However, it was a notion quickly embraced by former President George W. Bush who had no interest in the long-term survival of the airlines and their "unionized" jobs. In fact he publicly declared the domino-like collapse of other airlines as a "marketplace shakeout" as if 300,000 layoffs and the termination of half a million (maybe more?) hard-earned pensions were mere shrub and brush in the path of American capitalism. As we saw with President Obama and the auto industry, the right choice was to offer financial support and a plan to prosper again, with conditions to protect the taxpayers too. Under this approach (opposed by Romney and others), the auto industry and their workers proved to the country that with time and re-structuring, properity for all is attainable. Nevertheless, the damage and carnage imposed on the airline insustry was unprecedented, and in the opinion of many, unneccessary.

In the days we were losing our jobs and pensions the flying public showed little knowledge or concern, other than the occasional grumble about "no peanuts?" Once in a blue moon I would speak with a passenger who did understand our situation and offered support but they were the exception. What you did last night with the platform you have is exactly what no one did from 2002-2008. Thank you.

Today I am flying 6-7 extra days a month (about 22-23 total) just to stay in our home. 23 days a month on the road can suck the life out of anyone. My wife has had to scramble from part-time job to part-time job. We have 2 in high school with college looming. We have no savings and our pensions were terminated. Meanwhile, my airline is making record profits again.

My counter-parts at American Airlines need to study what happened to us. If they and this brave gentleman at the PBGC can get the public's ear, perhaps the American dream can be restored for some of us. I pray that President Obama fully comprehends what is at stake.

Thanks Lawrence & crew,

Ownie's Dad

*

Reply#21 - Thu Feb 2, 2012 9:24 AM EST


http://thelastword.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/02/10294...
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-27-12 02:47 PM
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1. Thanks, Koko, but I thought Am. Airlines was unhappy with Democrats, too?
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