for Airline Employees
before September 11, airlines were asking employee
groups to make wage and benefit concessions to
help "save" the faltering companies.
After September 11, things only got worse. Tens
of thousands of airline employees have faced layoffs,
outright job loss, or the insecurity of knowing
that their jobs are not secure. Airline executives,
desperate to avoid bankruptcy, have asked employees
to take cuts in benefits and pay to help "save"
the companies-and of course, their jobs. No company,
no job. While some of the executives offered to
forego their salaries, they didn't mention that
they would retain their bonuses and stock options.
Some employees agreed with the plan to make concessions,
while others pointed out that similar compromises
made previously by employees of Braniff, PanAm,
TWA and Eastern did not save those employees'
jobs. Nevertheless, concessions were made by those
who had not already lost their jobs. There really
was no choice.
Nitty-Gritty from the Top
In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science and Transportation, Mr. Edward Wytkind,
President of the Transportation Trades Department,
AFL-CIO, stated the problem this way:
industry workers, including employees of airlines,
Boeing and aerospace suppliers, and airports,
have suffered unprecedented job loss and economic
uncertainty. Some 100,000 airline employees
are out of work or facing imminent lay-off.
Another 30,000 Boeing workers are laid-off along
with 51,000 additional aerospace employees.
But it is the multiplier effect of airline lay-offs
that is most startling. Airline industry data
show a combined workforce exceeding 600,000.
However, the total workforce, if related job
sectors such as airports, aircraft manufacturing
and suppliers are included, totals 10.9 million.
In other words, one airline worker translates
into 18 additional jobs in our economy. And
with bankruptcies looming large, it is easy
to conclude that the staggering job losses will
the airlines themselves received huge bailouts
from the federal government after 9/11, Congress
seemed unconcerned about the fate of the tens
of thousands of airline workers Wytkind mentioned.
Many people who flew without a care before 9/11
are now hesitant to board a plane at all. While
the need for airport safety is obvious, new security
requirements have made the airport hassle three
times the ordeal that it was previously. Skyrocketing
fuel prices have translated to higher costs for
airlines and higher passenger fares. This means
fewer passengers, fewer planes, and fewer jobs
in the airline industry, with employees paying
the biggest price.
In June of 2005, US Airways terminated its pension
plan. Shortly thereafterUnited Airlines went to
bankruptcy court, and its petition to eliminate
its pension plan was approved by a Chicago bankruptcy
judge in May of 2005. That wiped out $9.8 billion
in future benefits United Airlines had promised
its employees. Since then, American, Delta and
Northwest have all fallen into financial trouble,
causing more layoffs.
all over the US have long been reassured by these
words: "If anything happens to the company,
the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
will pay your pension. It's like pension insurance.
We pay into it for you." It sounded like
a foolproof plan to laid-off airline workers,
as it would to most of us, until they found out
that the PBGC is underfunded and does not pay
retirees their full pension amounts. Once again,
though, airline executives receive everything
they were promised.
they have worked somewhere else? After all, the
unemployment rate is low. Jobs are plentiful.
Right? Not exactly. The US Department of Labor
reports that 7 of the 10 jobs expected to grow
most rapidly until 2012 pay less than $13.25 an
hour-some much less. The 7 top fields are
retail sales clerk, customer service representative,
food service worker, cashier, janitor, nurse's
aide, and hospital orderly. For
comparison, look at the example of an airline
mechanic. In Indianapolis, where mechanics checked
hundreds of planes for safety, mechanics averaged
$31 an hour. Family men in their 30s and 40s,
they bought houses and cars and other things in
line with that salary. While they were sent for
"re-education and training" so that
they could re-enter the workplace, they found
that the new jobs they were offered were far below
their skill levels and far below the wages they
needed to pay their bills. They were concerned
that they would have to file for personal bankruptcy-but
with no federal bailout to save them. Many laid-off
airline employees take lower-paying jobs simply
for the health insurance, hoping somehow to hold
on to their houses and cars and to hold off the
credit card companies until things improve.
you are still employed by an airline, but your
paycheck and benefits have shrunk, or you're a
retiree who got the "PBGC shock." Did
your mortgage shrink? Your car payment? Your insurance
or phone or grocery bill? Of course not. You are
left to make up the shortfall.
title of this article, we mentioned a bonus for
airline employees. That means former airline employees,
too. Whether you're still flying the not-so-friendly
skies, working at a low-wage job, or trying to
figure out how to survive on your reduced pension,
there is an easy way to make up the deficit in
your budget. You can do it wherever you are, whenever
you want. You will be in control of how much you
work and how much you make. Many call it a home
business, but the truth is that you can carry
on business from your hotel room, at the airport,
on your lunch break, or at home with your family.
you need is a computer and a phone. It's
an answer that has eased the minds of hundreds
of people in situations like yours.
For free, confidential information,
simply fill in the web form below.