TWA: One Strike and You're Out

On the face of things, it seems that the company is offering reasonable raises (flight attendants, for example, would get boosts of 8.5, 6.36, 4.19 and 3.73 percent over the next four years), but when it beams that these would bring them up to 90 percent of the industry average, the union is offered a pretty easy counterpunch: What makes you think the rest of the industry will stay stagnant in pay during this period?

In turn, the company could fire back that in its far-below-average condition, its employees can't expect to be at industry norms. But those same employees then pick up the paper and read about how bright the airline's future now appears.

Worse yet, this is a company that can afford typically lavish executive pay and benefits, luxury boxes at all the sporting events, membership in Civic Progress and all the other trappings of a healthy giant corporation. Such items may be small on the balance sheet, but symbolically they're out there for anyone in St. Louis to see.

Is TWA healthy and rebounding, a civic cornerstone around which St. Louis should rally? Or is it struggling and strapped and vulnerable, in need of understanding "employee owners" who should be willing to work for far less than their industry counterparts?

The answer is probably in the middle. And so, uncharacteristically, is this:
TWA employees really shouldn't strike. But given their company's Neanderthal management history, you can't blame them for going for every dime, and every benefit, they can get.

Even if it takes until midnight on June 10.

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