Airstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 3479 posts, RR: 5 Posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 5258 times:
So, in anticimapation of my upcoming first CO flight, I bought "From Worst To First" by Gordon Bethune. Amazon told me I also ought to buy "Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines." I didn't buy it, but I read the customamer reviews and one of them lambasted the book as "Another labor bashing of Frank Lorenzo."
Never in my life have I ever heard anything positive said about Lorenzo; and in fairness the reviewer wasn't exactly lauding the guy, but he complains of bias as the author "paints an evil Frank Lorenzo and his henchmen cackling over a cauldron...thinking up ways to lie, cheat, and steal Eastern from the hearths of America" as well as how the "stalwart union defenders are given warm wonderful hearts and the purest of intentions."
I'm not an overall fan of modern unions either, but I am surprised to learn of the existence of a pro-Lorenzo side of the Eastern story. (I took EA a lot as a kid and we always got bumped because apparently EA had a policy of overbooking all of its flights by like 800 billion per cent, so I admit I cackled with schadenfreude when they went out of business. I was still a kid and I was sure that their demise was because they had caused me personal inconvenience.)
I thought the story was, Lorenzo was a |)!c|EA tanked; and CO had better luck.
DHR From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5189 times:
I'll be game enough to say that I'm a supporter of Lorenzo and what he achieved, maybe not everything but at least 75%. I've got a copy of "Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines" and I remember the US aviation industry in the 80's in which unions literally controlled everything at an airline and bad management did its best to mis-manage airlines. Lorenzo was the only guy who had the balls to take them on and say enough is enough.
Now I'm sure I'm going to be blasted for this post from everyone, but thats my thoughts on the subject.
Analog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4844 times:
Quoting MX757 (Reply 6):
I won't blast you; but Lorenzo did a lot more than just stand up to unions. You seem to think he is a stand up guy and if that is the case maybe you should do a little more research on the man.
He (and company) bought TI and turned it around (good).
He started NY Air. Non-union and hated by the ALPA (for being non-union?). Started to fail, and was acquired (saved?) by Lorenzo-owned CO.
Takeover of CO. Battled with unions over wages. Used bankruptcy to force concessions, but saved CO from total liquidation.
Tried to take over Frontier, but lost to PE.
Got Frontier and PE when they failed.
Merged the whole shebang into CO.
Took over a failing EA. Asks workers to take large pay cuts to save the airline. Fight!
Sells of pieces of EA to CO, etc.
Resulting conflict between labor and Lorenzo kills EA.
Sells CO to SAS after having trouble staying afloat. Debt from PE was a big problem.
Was his biggest sin trying to get large labor concessions to save EA, or was forcing the concessions using bankruptcy the bigger sin? The Wikipedia article (and EA, CO, etc. articles) are a bit weak on whether EA & CO would have been able to survive without Lorenzo (or other "savior").
I'm neither for or against Lorenzo, but it seems that a lot of what he is blamed for was really the effect of deregulation. He was just collecting victims of deregulation ("bargains") and milking them. The question I ask is, would EA, CO, etc. employees have been better off without him, or would they have lost their jobs in a Braniff-style bankruptcy & liquidation?
Flyingcat From United States of America, joined May 2007, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4730 times:
Quoting Analog (Reply 11): I'm neither for or against Lorenzo, but it seems that a lot of what he is blamed for was really the effect of deregulation. He was just collecting victims of deregulation ("bargains") and milking them. The question I ask is, would EA, CO, etc. employees have been better off without him, or would they have lost their jobs in a Braniff-style bankruptcy & liquidation?
What would CO be without Lorenzo. EWR certainly would be very different.
SEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 7472 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4706 times:
My observation from 56 years of life is that few people are totally evil, just as no people are completely good. Whenever anyone is as thoroughly and completely demonized as Frank Lorenzo has been I suspect that there must be more to the story. Certainly locking horns with unions is one of the best routes to demonization, and doing so successfully is absolutely guaranteed to do it. I have no first, second, or third-hand knowledge of what actually happened at his airlines, but I suspect that he did a lot of good for which he has not been credited, and probably did a lot of bad that is similarly unknown. The public image probably bears little resemblance to the real person.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
Dtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4676 times:
Quoting Analog (Reply 11): He started NY Air. Non-union and hated by the ALPA (for being non-union?). Started to fail, and was acquired (saved?) by Lorenzo-owned CO.
1. We were not acquired by Continental, but folded into the company as NY was always part of the Texas Air Family.
2. Yes, we were picketed by ALPA because they were insecure about NY using non-union employees and shifting TI assets to the east coast.
3. I'm not sure we were failing at any point.
Frank gave a lot of people work at NY. We didn't care or know the politics involved, but wanted to be a part of the industry, so much so, that 25 years later we came together to remember the good times we had. Frank has a lot of enemies in the industry, but he found a very friendly audience at the NY reunion.
Analog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4667 times:
I was thinking about my comment about using bankruptcy to force wage/contract concessions. I agree that it's a pretty low thing to do, but is the unions' refusal to come to terms with Lorenzo would be just as bad, assuming that concessions were necessary for the airline to survive.
Quoting Flyingcat (Reply 12):
What would CO be without Lorenzo. EWR certainly would be very different.
Quoting WestIndian425 (Reply 14): Well, he still travels on CO positive space. However, rumor has it he refuses any service for fear of what may be placed in his meals or drinks.
Except that CO would probably be worse off if not for Lorenzo. He may have killed EA, NY, TI , etc. to do it.
Quoting SEPilot (Reply 13): I suspect that he did a lot of good for which he has not been credited, and probably did a lot of bad that is similarly unknown.
I have a feeling that the bad does not go unnoticed. Lorenzo's detractors would probably do a good job of bringing any dirt to light. I don't see too many Lorenzo supporters around (I'm not one; I consider myself disinterested).
NIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4580 times:
Quoting DHR (Reply 5): Lorenzo was the only guy who had the balls to take them on and say enough is enough.
My dad was an EAL employee and though I am not a fan of Frank Lorenzo he was not alone in his tactics in trying to get airlines to run at a much lower cost. Especially beginning the low cost craze.
You have to remember that airline employees were making very good money before the Unions were broken and people that were making great salaries and had benefits and pensions were basically asked to work for 8 bucks an hour with no medical and no pension. In fact I think that anyone outside of being a pilot is nuts to go to work in this business. Unless you can raise a family on what they pay. It's sad. Frank Lorenzo was an in your face kind of person who made it clear he didn't want Unions and wanted to save the airline using huge pay and perk cuts. When you play with people's lives it's never nice but I don't feel he was alone in the change over to the LCC and huge cuts and treatment of employees.
I have read that book and I don't think the book gives any credit to the real killer of Eastern. The real killer of Eastern was the IAM. While other unions were willing to accept wage concessions, the IAM asked for a wage INCREASE. The heavy handed stance taken by the IAM forced the sale of Eastern to Texas Air.
Ptcflyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4528 times:
All I can say is that I flew Continental, People Express, Eastern Airlines, NY Air, and Frontier in various flavors around the US -- Australia -- Guam -- Bali -- New Zealand -- Tahiti -- Canada -- Alaska -- Europe -- Caribbean with very few dollars in my pocket. Even later used OnePass Miles earned during the Lorenzo years to fly on MAS to KL and South Africa a couple of times.
As a 20 something year old with a limited budget and a lot of patience willing to get bumped for free tickets, mine the cheap fares and take advantage of all of the crazy frequent flyer promotions...... Frank Lorenzo truly positively impacted my life in that I was able to see the world on a very tight budget. Could never replicate that experience today. I earned so may miles on PE, CO, EA during college that I was able to reward my parents with a trip to Australia for MY graduation!
Without Frank Lorenzo, and his aggressive efforts to create a low-fare extensive network -- I would not have experienced a fraction of the adventures in my life. These adventures -- enabled by TI and Frank Lorenzo -- defined many aspects of my life.
I recognize that my travels were heavily subsidized by the employees who worked for less than their desired wages and under less than ideal working conditions. While I took advantage of the travel opportunities, I was always thinking about how much appreciated the flight attendants, pilots, res agents, and all the support people who made my travel possible!
In many ways, Frank Lorenzo was a bold visionary. He was under tight timeframes to help very large, complex organizations improve their bottom lines for survival in an at the time -- hyper competitive industry -- and that absolutely conflicted with the employee's desires to maintain wages and work rules.
Slider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 7209 posts, RR: 33
Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4466 times:
I know this may sound like heresy, but is what Lorenzo did any worse than what Steenland, Grinstein, Tilton, Parker, or scores of others have done? Honestly. Some act as Lorenzo is public enemy #1 because he was simply more active in doing what others later did, and being bold in what others have done to far worse degrees.
Besides, if anyone thinks Frank Lorenzo is evil, then they’ve never met Carl Icahn.
Kanebear From United States of America, joined May 2002, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4391 times:
Regarding Frank Lorenzo... you have to pull some pretty grand stunts to have laws written A.) precluding an entire industry from utilizing tactics you invented/practiced and B.) precluding you from ever owning/running an airline again. I'm no union fan but Lorenzo basically abused bankruptcy protection to bust the unions, nothing more. He was not a negotiator. He wanted blood, and squeezed until he got the last drop. Modern day CEOs are nowhere NEAR as audacious as Lorenzo was. IMO they couldn't be... their boards would torpedo them long before they got that much done.
CO in 1991 was a very very very dark place to be/fly. Old broken planes, horrible dispatch reliability, disgruntled staff... at the time I was in school and shuttling between Texas and DCA.
I will note that unions can be pretty blinkered at times as well. Lorenzo made overtures at one point to TWA, but the unions preferred Carl Icahn and made special concessions to him to keep TW out of Lorenzo's hand. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire, in that way the unions did as much to kill TW as anyone else. Icahn definitely didn't help TW.
[Edited 2007-10-30 12:17:25]
: TI begat CO, which was no longer the airline of Bob Six in Los Angeles and Denver. Texas Air CO begat EA and PE, and the culture and focus of the air
: I couldn't agree more, the only difference is that Lorenzo did it in public, and all of the unions got use to being the guys who called the shots. If
: Sorry. I mangled reality when paraphrasing Wikipedia. If the tactic was so bad, and he caused a law to be written against it, he did a good thing. Ri
: Think he flies PS! at that. He was listed on a flight that I was going to take, but cancelled his listing before the flight left. Wasn't sure if I wa
: the old Frontier was also thrown into the mix, and alot of people in Denver i'm sure would like to reserve a special place in hell for Lorenzo for tak
: That sounds more like the real story I don't know that they were "heavily subsidised..." That would be alot like saying a $.99 order of fast food fri
: Shareholders do come first (after legal obligations, secured creditors, etc.). If it's obvious that the best ROI can be gained by liquidation (as opp
: Wasnt Frank Lorenzo deemed by the US DOT to be no longer fit to run an airline; he tried to be a part of a start up maybe 10 or so years back, and ALP
: Flew with a CA who did a stint as an FA just after 9/11 because of all the furloughs and one trip, Lorenzo was on one of his flights. He went to do a
: Add Carl Ichan to the the category of people for whom there's not much positive to say.
: I read it, and I agree. It was completely one-sided. However, Frank in the chair of the CEO was NOT a nice man, and he was as cut-throat as they came
: Well, I'll interject just briefly my thoughts on the subject, as others have seem to be much more knowledgeable, and passionate, than me. Let me begin
: If one is looking to read a book that I guess gives a preety good history of EAL and Lorenzo is Hard Landing. While he did have a gift for making mone
: Before sharing my 2 cents worth... If there's one thing we can all agree on.... Frank Lorenzo was a lightning rod for all sorts of things. You either
: I've read both "From Worst to First" and "Grounded" and while both great books and important reads for anyone who wants to know about Lorenzo's impact
: Dont mean to go OT, but Lorenzo flying on his old carrier (and being timid about receiving service) reminded me of this: I used to work at the Operati
: What exactly did Lorenzo do to Western? Now, New York Air is another story....what exactly is your problem with that?
: I think Lorenzo was a gent compared to the monster that is MOL.
: There is a difference in using post 9/11 tactics with unions for the airline and everyone's job to survive or doing what Lorenzo did just to win a war
: Who would you rather have Lorenzo or that foul mouthed MOL? Hard choice that.
: To my British friends, WHOM is MOL ? Not Freddie Laker, so who is the bum?
: " target=_blank>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_L...renzo Excellent place to start...not. Never looked at it like that. Like one time I got into th
: Michael O Leary the rather arrogant boss of Ryanair. He loves to be hated, apparently.
: The difference being is very simple. Valuejet and Airtran were to seperate companies. NY was from the start a part of the Texas Air Corp "family" and
: I have a vague recollection that Texas Air was trying to acquire Western at one point, before they went for CO. Roughly the same time, CO and WA were
: Is this any different from when NW dropped the gloves and busted AMFA? They went in with the absolute pure intent to break them and did so. No dancin
: Thanks Rampart for clarifying the Western aspect. Over the years I'll admit there's a bit of fog in my memory and somewhere in all that I thought tha
: Are you somwhow doubting that Texas Air Corp/Lorenzo started New York Air? http://www.nya-reunion.org/ProjectAlpha.htm
: I was there, you really don't know what you are talking about here. NY wasn't "gutted", were did you get that from! NY was a great little airline, bu
: My memory is that Texas Air went after National. Pan Am won that battle, but Texas Air was flush with cash after selling the National shares it had a
: Thanks for explaining the local dynamics of the New York market- and the fact that Lorenzo indeed did start NY. I have nothing bad to say about NY Ai
: If you think it's not accurate, fix it and add to it. It's really easy to do.
: I wondered when someone would mention National Airlines. Fading memory seems to remember that Lorenzo ended up with $20M for his shares in National a