Monday, May 08, 2006

Jimmy Hoffa Lives!

Well, this has me just about mad enough to spit. The most recent issue of Teamster magazine has a proud article ("All Systems Go," May 2006, condensed version here) about GoJet pilots certifying the Teamsters as their union. Not only are the Teamsters willing to sacrifice every principle that unionism holds dear for some extra dues money, but they'll gleefully brag about it, too. I'm embarrassed to say I'm a Teamster.

For those who aren't familiar, GoJet was an alter-ego airline started by Trans States Airlines owner Hulas Kanodia to circumvent the contract in place at TSA, which is represented by ALPA. The Trans States pilots protested strongly and filed a grievance with the National Mediation Board. The NMB ended up siding with Kanodia, but the real surprise was one of the petitions filed in support of the company: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division. These are the same folks that represent pilots at my airline. Nevermind that GoJet and airlines like it are a direct threat to the security of regional pilots everywhere - the IBT saw an opportunity to poach some dues money. Jimmy Hoffa Sr. lives on through the culture of corruption that pervades the Teamsters. No wonder these scumbags left the AFL-CIO, they'd have been kicked out over this.

I'm writing this as someone who is generally pro-union and is actively involved in the union at my airline. You can imagine what this does to those pilots that're already ambivalent about union membership. I've had several fellow pilots tell me they'd like to stop paying dues over this. The IBT Airline Division has undermined unity at our pilot group at the time we need it the most: contract negotiations.

My beef is with the IBT Airline Division, not the union leadership at my airline. Our ExCo recognizes what a threat alter-ego airlines pose to us, and sent the airline division a strongly worded letter expressing our grave dissapointment. Unfortunately, that's about all we can do short of decertifying the crooks. I still support my local leadership 100% and will continue to help out. But in the meantime I've peeled the IBT sticker off my flight bag. I'm too embarassed to be publicly associated with that outfit.


Garrett said...

That is really disheartening when corruption takes hold like that and the members are basically powerless to shake it.

I'm a supporter (though not an ardent mindless one) of unions, and it seems to me that its an important thing indeed in a profession like yours.

I think the places where people stand to benefit the most from unions are outside of our borders. It seems to me that there are a lot of people in China, Mexico, etc. that stand to benefit from union representation. Unfortunately, looking to unionize here in the US can lose you your job, but in many parts of the world it is a serious risk to your life.

Anonymous said...

Your an idiot! There is no alter-ego and they didn't start GoJet to circumcise TSA, but rather to fly bigger jets due to American's airtight scope clause!

Sam said...

Uh oh, I think a GoJet pseudo-scab found his way onto the blog. They're always the most vehement in defending their little slimeball operation.

You're right that Hulas needed another certificate in order to comply with APA's scope clause. If his intentions were that pure, though, he would've had the TSA seniority list cover both airlines. No, Hulas saw an opportunity to whipsaw his pilots and jumped at it. Sure enough, there were enough scumbag pilots out there who jumped at the opportunity to knife the TSA pilots in the back for a quick upgrade.