Friday, September 17, 2004

Woes in the Queen City

Earlier today, Matt Compton posted an editorial from the Charlotte Observer about the economic distress that North Carolina is facing and how the President doesn't seem to care. The edit was right on the money. However, it left out one crucial detail: the USAirways bankruptcy. This story was reported on the front page a few days ago, but I think it bears repeating here.

A few days ago, USAirways declared bankruptcy. Again. As in they've done this before. You wanna know what happened the last time they did this? They laid off thousands of workers, hundreds of them in the Charlotte area, and many more in the Philly and Pittsburgh areas. They cut wages for all the workers that were left by about 20%. They jacked up health insurance premiums. They defanged the IAM and the ALPA, two of the biggest (only?) unions in the state. They twisted the Charlotte City Council's arm to get them to hold down the tax revenues on runway usage. How do I know this? I was there when they did it. My dad is a proud union machinist. And this time, USAirways is gonna finish the job they started the last time they went to bankruptcy court.

A lot of you know and worry about job losses in the abstract. I know first hand. When last I was home, I got an earful about the wonderful job "Uncle" Dave Siegel (the CEO of USAirways, not my friend) was doing for the company, and how he was driving the company into the ground like he did to Continental a decade ago. I heard how Siegel was taking his golden parachute and getting out while he left his workers out in the cold. I know how Dad worries about how he might not be able to hold Charlotte, which means that the best case scenario is having to commute to Pittsburgh every week. I worry about literally not being able to pay for school.

And what has President Bush done about it? Doodly. Bupkus. Pretended it ain't happening. Kerry can and will. He'll make sure labor gets a fair shake. He'll make sure America is stronger and safer, which will spur the tourist and business travel that the airlines depend on. He'll let America be America again.

If this ain't enough to turn Charlotte blue, I don't know what is

Read more at the Charlotte Observer


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