The USAir rep quoted in the article says they did not think this was an organized union action. We have to dilute that with the thought that if it was organized they would fear passengers would feel just what so many of you are saying.
This brings the next thought that if this was organized by a Company wide union why would they do it with a tentative agreement going on the table? If it was to protest the agreement why did they let it out for vote? A vote would have had the same result without the disruption and public ill will.
Following that logic we would have to ask this question. If it was a company wide union authorized/organized sick in then why did only 200 FAs do it?
The next assumption one could make from that was that this was a particular group that does not want this agreement to get voted on (see "insurgent"). A later study on the geographic home bases of where the majority of these particular FAs were will be made but probably never publicly released in a search for organizers.
One more idea should be explored but with the understanding that so many at this company are at their wits end with everything that's going on is this.
The weather is and has been terrible for the airlines. This dominoes like you would not believe within all the stations and all personnel. You would have to work there to even begin to understand this. The buildup of separated baggage off cancelled flights is mind boggling and takes days of dedicated and diligent effort to whittle down. That report above of the US bag reports is important and should give you a little view as it only from larger stations. Here is a clarification - The one number is the number of claims (sometimes that's Multiple bags) one passenger had filed with the carrier for a missing bag(s) and the other is the number of "Bags On Hand" that the station has been able to tally
into the system that do not have a passenger to claim them. It's massive. Add to that the security rules that must be followed on these, the logistics of organization necessary to file these bags SO the when a report is filed they can be processed, the paperwork, the loading/unloading from hundreds of mixed carts in frozen conditions, and a dozen other problems takes manpower, willingness, and lots of organization to rally troops to the effort AND
attend to the normal activity of day to day operations that they were "undermanned" for in the first place.
Now, add frustration, cold, long hours, to crews now illegal to fly due duty rigs and guess what - this happens.
Conclusion. This was not a system wide union authorized and organized action but, if anything, certainly could have been tipped by some hotheads that did call in sick.
It certainly is recognized that many a union threat of a strike has been made for a work action near the Holidays as a threat to management. Thats a well known and predictable tool. But it also must be known that a recent occurance that was noted here but as yet unproven of rampers just walking off the job at PHL
to watch football IF
if did occur and not the excuse of another class and craft union employee to a passenger could also have been either part of CHAOS or very local frustration and managment ineptitude to control it.
The report that this was being investigated by the government is extremly interesting due to its rarity. With USAirs rich abundance of high goverment official passenger roles it certainly would not be surprising however. Especially when you study who might be involved that has well know anti-union feelings from past airline experiance and the party in powers known attitide and measures against labor. Add that to what makes employees feel frustrated while your at it.
I for one will not pass judgement on anyone involved for awhile. More need to be known. What I want to have its a picture of all the possibilities before stones are used in slingshots aimed straight up.