My latest blog entry was all about the troubles at AS and B6 and the enormous pressures the frontline employees are under. Here's the jist of it:
Most of you who know me, or read my posts, know that I am a capitalist through and through. My thoughts and opinions on various topics usually side with management or Wall Street. In this case though, I'm departing from the norm.
By now, you have probably heard of the story from Friday, August 10, and the theft of a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 from a Cargo/Maintenance stand at Seattle/Tacoma Airport by a "disturbed and disgruntled" Horizon Air employee. I won't go into the story of the joyride around the skies of Puget Sound either, that's been covered. Nor will I paint the employee as disturbed, disgruntled, or suicidal. It is still FAR too early to to start guessing. What I will do in this post though, is go through the turmoil the front-line employees face at not only Alaska Air Group (AAG, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and it's regional subsidiary Horizon Air), but at other airlines as well. I'm also going to touch on the subject of suicide. It's more of an epidemic in this country than opioids, the Mexican cartels, or porn (yes, the Governor of Utah says porn is an epidemic).
As I stated above, normally I take the side of management in airline employee relations. In this case, especially against AAG (and JetBlue Airways, my friends there tell me the almost exact same horror stories), I am firmly on the side of the employees. Thanks to a management that is hyper-focused on its costs - perhaps at the expense of it's employees well-being - Alaska and Horizon employees work in a stressful environment. AAG has been battling with Delta Air Lines and it's massive new Seattle hub. Alaska Airlines, itself still integrating Virgin America, a merger which some industry watchers feel is a costly, badly-timed, and poorly-executed merger, went to the negotiating table with it's various unions in order to come up with a plan to cut costs further that would allow the merger to go through. Work rule changes were adopted, and the cost-cutting became so micromanaged that AAG's flight attendants were instructed to stop offering the popular Biscoff cookies as a snack. Passengers and Flight Attendants alike came close to a revolt, and the airline capitulated.
If you listen to AAG's earnings calls or read their SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filings, the company's Board of Director's and Executive Management will do ANYTHING to keep the stock price from falling. That is simply all they care about, employees and services be damned, as long as Wall Street is happy and the JD Power awards keep coming in.
BUT..the JD Powers awards reflect only what the passengers opinions are, not the airlines' employees.
AAG's employees (whose unions appear to be impotent in helping their members) bear the brunt of the cost-cutting actions. Several colleagues at AAG have come forward and told me of their woes at AAG.
"We get those shiny JD Powers awards, and instead of bonuses like at Delta, we are given Positive Space passes instead. How will positive space passes feed my kids?" - Alaska Customer Service Agent, Seattle.
The positive space passes might be great for the bright eyed interns who work for nothing and are gaining experience while in school, but it does not cut it for someone trying to feed their family to pay the bills (a stark contrast to Delta Air Lines, who in 2017 awarded it's employees $1.1 Billion in profit-sharing).
Theres more, I didnt want to over load my response here, but the link to the rest of the issues is: http://fl310travel.blogspot.com/2018/08 ... allet.html