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Attempting to Justify Anti-Labor Practices Is a Disservice to the American Worker

March 20, 1988

James Flanigan's March 2 column, "Truth Suffers as Candidates Fire at Business," was itself suffering from some blatant errors.

Flanigan jumped all over Richard Gephardt for saying something that many of us have felt for a long time--that companies should not try to make profits at the expense of their employees. Failure of management is the No. 1 reason for a business failure. Why is it that a nation's leaders and politicians are accountable for a team's success or failure, yet employees, or their unions, are the scapegoats for a business not being profitable?

The following statement appeared in the column: "The airline was bought by Texas Air, whose chairman, Frank Lorenzo, has understood and prospered in deregulation."

Lorenzo definitely understands deregulation. Airline deregulation has come to mean: (1) break the unions; (2) provide a mediocre product to the public; (3) give minimal training to employees and minimum maintenance to aircraft, and (4) Expect the government to turn its back on most labor problems, training and maintenance irregularities in this Reagan-era climate of laissez faire.

Texas Air lost $466 million in 1987. While not a Harvard MBA, I feel safe in saying that, by losing nearly half a billion dollars, Texas Air has not prospered. In fact, it has been a miserable failure that should prove once and for all that low wages have nothing to do with profitability.

Texas Air simply cannot compete with American, Delta, Northwest and United in terms of service or the bottom line despite having the lowest wages in the industry. Companies that pay more than the market rate, such as Delta or Federal Express, will be successful operations. The benefits of higher morale and productivity will more than compensate for the increased wages.

Flanigan does the American worker a disservice by trying to justify the anti-labor practices that are prevalent in today's short-term, bottom-line, ruthless management mentality.


Palm Springs

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