04/12/2017

Make America Great, Boycott United [Watch]

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

United Airlines has long been, forgive the rudeness, kind of a dumb company.

Remember it was United in the mid-1990s that got the bright idea, in a business that routinely yielded no profits or capital appreciation, of handing employees 55% of ownership as if this would improve employee incentives.

Employees were not dumb, though several other adjectives come to mind. Leading the buyout was a pilot’s union chief who told his members their approach in running the company would not be to kill the golden goose, but just to “choke it by the neck until it gives us every last egg.”

Though pilots were major shareholders in the company from 1994 until its 2002 bankruptcy, they never tired of trying to extort untimely pay increases by engaging in undeclared, illegal work slowdowns. Over eight days in 2008, one such action caused 329 flights to be canceled and left 36,000 travelers stranded when healthy pilots called in sick.

So much for changed incentives. The same tactics passengers may also remember for 2000’s “summer of hell,” and even from 1993, when United’s workers were still trying to buy the airline. Think about it: Employees hoped to take over a company by destroying its reputation with customers.

Usually we try to avoid anthropomorphizing a business corporation. Businesses have “cultures” but they are not immutable. Personnel change. Management changes. Market conditions change.

United had plenty of defenders when, in 2005, this column saw an overdue test case of whether the U.S. bankruptcy system still served the larger good of society or was merely a means to preserve zombie companies for the benefit of organized labor. United at the time was the latest of a series of carriers to use the bankruptcy court conveniently to shuck off debts and other “legacy costs” so they could return to the marketplace and make life difficult for competitors still struggling to honor their obligations.

Let United be liquidated rather than reorganized, we suggested at the time. Let United become a well-deserved sacrifice so the rest of the industry could have a chance at profitability.

The response was a flood of email from United employees suggesting a variety of unnatural acts with office supplies. United pilots in particular seemed to be under the impression that columnists still use typewriters, though their suggestions were impossible.

All this we offer as background for the latest seminal outrage, which has the feeling of an important national moment.

[Subscription required.]

Read full article



You May Also Like:

Reports: Kushner Had Multiple Undisclosed Conversations With Kislyak, Discussed "Back Channel" Comms Jennifer Van Laar, Townhall

The Real Reason Zuckerberg Supports A Universal Basic Income TDB, Zero Hedge

Obama Administration Transferred MS-13 Gang Members To Placement Centers Across The Country Warren Mass, New American

Poland Stands Up To EU On Forced Quotas: We’re Not Taking Your Migrants – Your Blackmail Won’t Work On Us Damien Cowley, The Gateway Pundit

Progressively Bankrupt Richard A. Epstein, Hoover Institution

Obama Attempts Government In Exile Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times

Report: Insurance Rates Could Skyrocket Under Border Adjustment Tax Americans For Prosperity

Memo To CBO: Obamacare Is Unsustainable Charles Hughes, Economics21

Paid Parental Leave Proposal Increases The Cost Of Employment And Burdens States Trey Kovacs, Competitive Enterprise Institute

LEFTISTS SILENT: CBO Confirms Repeal Of Obamacare SAVES BILLIONS Kelly Beasley, The BlackSphere

No, CEOs Don't Make 347 Times More Than American Workers Luka Ladan, Washington Examiner

Don’t Just Blame Sean Hannity For The Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Obama Lectures Trump Over Walls, Builds One Around D.C. Home Edmund Kozak, PoliZette

Confederate Monuments And Civil Discourse William Watkins, Independent Institute

For More go to the Home Page >>>

Search

Bookshelf

FreeMarket Central

Some titles recent, all recommended -

Special Video Feature

FreeMarket Central

Voices From The 2017 International Students For Liberty Conference

In Search Of History

Cambodia's Deadly Experiment

In the 1950s, students started gathering in Paris. They were reading Karl Marx. They were forming book clubs. They were trying to come up with a better version of society. One that moved away from the division of labor. One that moved away from the capitalism in the big cities that they so despised. ... One of those students would change his name to Pol Pot. He and his colleagues formed a new political party, a takeover in Cambodia. They called themsevles the Khmer Rouge. ... Under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, one out of four people in that country died in less than four years. 

-- Matt Kibbe,

Shadow Stats Snapshot


FreeMarket Central

ShadowStats alternate economic indicators are based on the methodology of noted economist John Williams, specialist in government economic reporting.

  • Unemployment:
    FreeMarket Central BLS: 4.4%
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 22.1%
  • Inflation:
    FreeMarket Central April Year-to-Year: 2.20% (CPI-U*)
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 10.0%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]