D/FW AIRPORT — Union workers made their message loud and clear on Tuesday. Three-hundred of them picketed American Airlines parent company AMR Corporation outside Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
They don't want to be the target of 1,300 proposed furloughs and layoffs at the bankrupt airline.
"We're getting nothing, and we're the ones helping this company," said Sandra Minor, who has worked for American Airlines for 23 years.
Flight Attendants and Transport Workers say their struggle is a reflection of class warfare. Since their give-backs in 2003, they say American executives took $300 million in stock options. The company says that is standard compensation, and its executives are near averages for airline pay.
Through the unions' lens, the money is more like a bonus that amounts to one-quarter of the value of the bankruptcy payroll cuts.
"That might be the way corporate America works, but corporate America needs to change," said Dana Davis, an American flight attendant.
Fears of drastic pension and health care cuts have been calmed for retirees. The national agency that will pick up the plan says anyone making less than $54,000 per year will not see major changes. But retirees still want their say in a company where the CEOs used to shake their hands for a job well-done.
Tom Coker said he never met AMR CEOs Gerard Arpey or Tom Horton. He says the handshakes on the tarmac and in the hangars went a long way with previous leaders.
"You wonder if they really think about or care about the people that work for them that they are hurting with this deal," Coker said.
American pilots did not take part in Tuesday's protest. A union representative said it wanted to put the spotlight on the groups who organized the event, adding the pilots would be heard at the bargaining table.
All three unions return to the bargaining table this week. Their fate still rests with the final say of the bankruptcy court, but they wish executives would walk a mile in their shoes.