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Doug-n-Pat, BFF?

Nothing is ever simple. Since 2001, we have all made painful sacrifices to keep Delta flying. For those of us who rely solely on Delta for our income, these sacrifices have impacted our standard of living. Yes, impacted is a much nicer word than we actually want to use, but we are a family site so we will keep it clean.

Fast forward to 2007, we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Our sacrifices are paying off. Fuel prices are down. We are a leaner more competitive company, and we can see the end of bankruptcy.

What can we expect? Delta has promised to reward us for our sacrifices. While it may not be all that we want, it will be something, and it will be this year.

However, twin threats have stepped forward to threaten both our livelihoods and our regaining lost ground. Threats that could signify that the light at the end of the tunnel is the danger of an approaching train.

Who are the twin threats to our future? Doug Parker and Pat Friend. At first, it seems strange that a union demagogue from a second tier union and a Frank Lorenzo wannabe from a second tier carrier would have anything in common. However, their unwanted interest in Delta proves that they are cut from the same cloth.

How are they similar?

Itís the money

First, both Doug-n-Pat need Delta to grow their respective organizations. For Doug, he needs Delta in order to run a carrier that remains viable. US Airways has a route structure that is primarily short stage flying. In fact, it looks like most of the US Airways network is what we have simplified out of our network. Doug realizes that his network footprint dooms his company to compete with the real low cost carriers unless he can diversify his network. He knows he cannot play the low cost game and win.

As of January 1, 2007, US Airways had nineteen wide bodies. There is no way US Airways can obtain a sizable international footprint in the short term unless it merges or acquires a carrier with the equipment or the preexisting route structure. In sum, for US Airways to be long term viable and remain relevant in our industry, Doug needs Delta.

Pat Friendís obsessive quest to organize Delta broke the afaís piggy bank in 2001. Its finances were wracked by her spending money that the union could not afford on Delta organizing. As a result of this and other mismanagement, she was forced to change the status of the afa as an independent, stand alone union. After examining the afaís rather short list of unions with which to affiliate, the she crawled under the protective wings a much larger union that represents communications workers, the CWA.

Like Doug, she wants to organize Delta to increase the revenue of her own organization. She needs our strength to remain relevant. Assuming that we have 13,000 flight attendants, the afa-CWA would make $650,000 in initiation fees and an additional $507,000 every month. This is $6,084,000 per year for as long as they represent us. While we realize that due to furloughs we do not have 13,000 active flight attendants, the afa-CWA expects furloughed flight attendants to pay the $39.00 per month in order to stay in good standing.

Pat needs us because the additional $6,084,000 per year might allow the afa to crawl out from under the wings of the CWA and become a stand alone union once again. The $6,084,000 might allow more funds to be funneled into the CWA so it can organize more telephone repairmen or call center operators. The $6,084,000 might allow the afa-CWA to pay Pat, her staff, and her activists more. It may do all of this and more. We are not sure. She really does not ask us over for tea very often. However, this all boils down to money. It is about Pat taking it away from us and spending it however she wants so she can build her organization and try to make the afa relevant once again.

Itís the Ego

At forty-five, Doug Parker is a relatively young executive. He has been steadily climbing the ladder as he moves from airline to airline building his resume. He has had positions at American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West, and US Airways. Now, he wants take our name, and our brand and be able to claim that he built and runs the largest airline in the world. This is good for his ego. However, his ego seems to be blinding him to the fact that the airline that he already is running still has problems and that the Delta deal just will not work. This deal is about him, not about us.

Pat Friend once ran the largest independent union for flight attendants, quite the accomplishment. She could walk in the room, and everybody could say "Hey, there goes Pat Friend, president of the largest independent union for flight attendants." Definitely, this is good for the ego.

Under her leadership, the largest independent union for flight attendants became a small part of a union for communications workers. Under her leadership, the afa suffered the largest defeat ever in airline industry organizing. This does not look good on a resume. Now, when she walks into a room, people can say "Hey, there goes Pat Friend. Isnít it a shame what happened to the afa on her watch. Letís go over and talk to Tommie Hutto-Blake." Bummer.

If she is able to organize Delta this time, it may help rehabilitate her tarnished image, and allow her to move on to bigger and better things. Again, this is about her, not about us.

Itís they do not understand "No" means "No"

Both Doug-n-Pat canít take "no" for an answer. Delta has said no to Doug. We have said no to Pat, yet they still proceed spending other peopleís money on an adventure to acquire people who do not want to be associated with them. Maybe ignoring other peopleís wishes is how they climbed into their leadership positions and their six plus figure salaries. We think that it is just not right. Down here on the line, we do not want either of them.

Say no to Doug.

Keep Delta My Delta.

Say no to Pat.

Keep Delta My Delta


The threat of a union is better than having a union - Delta Flight Attendants, 2001




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Last modified: December 13, 2008