|Quoting JoePatroni707 (Reply 24):|
AA had nothing to do with the aquisition of TWA???? I would love to hear your explanation on this one!
I believe he was referring specifically to the SLI
(seniority list integration) of the flight attendants, not the overall merger in general.
Nonetheless, I don't know if I necessarily agree with his assessment. It is true that ultimate responsible for combining the lists rested with the union, which was of course looking out primarily for the interests of AA
FAs (i.e., its then-current voting/dues-paying members), but my understanding is that AA
essentially came to TWA's unions and gave them a take-it-or-leave-it choice - either accept what AA
(and really by extension what AA
's unions) were offering, or liquidate. There may not have been explicit cooperation between the company and the APFA on that, but the situation certainly aligned their interests. Indeed, that may have actually been the last time the company and APFA actually cooperated on anything (even if just implicitly).
And to be clear - I'm not saying this to place blame or criticize anyone. The situation in general was very difficult and complicated. What happened to the TWA FAs (and other employees) was unfortunate, but on the flip side AA
's FAs did work for the stronger company that wasn't liquidating. I also tend to subscribe to the argument that the TWA employees would likely have lost their jobs altogether sooner or later, anyway, as TWA was by that point on the verge of collapse. Some have speculated that the company may have literally had just weeks by that point. Given that, the AA
acquisition probably prolonged the inevitable for at least a year or two for many TWA employees.
As for the APFA - it's understandable, if perhaps not so admirable, why they behaved the way they did. The APFA (like any union) is an inherently political organization, and as such its responsibility is first and foremost to its constituents. Just as how no Senator or President will stick his neck out too far for blocs of voters they know will never vote for them, the APFA's primary concern back in 2001 was for their own current members at that time, who were of course all AA
. I realize that post-merger TWA's FAs were APFA, too, but they were overall a tiny group and there's strength in numbers. May not be pretty, but that's politics, and that's reality.
As for the implications of all of this on the current situation, I suspect that much of the drama of AA
-TWA union integration will likely get washed away if a merger occurs, dwarfed by the larger issues now at hand, just like the far larger and more complex (if somewhat more recent) drama of the USAirways-America West union integration. It is ironic, though, that the airlines unions (APA
, APFA, USAPA, etc.) that have arguably had the most painful experiences integrating their workforces through mergers in the last decades are now contemplating combining themselves. Amazing.