Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard
jmaynard

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What's wrong with union labor

Norm Coleman wrote what for him was a surprisingly even-handed column on the NWA strike in today's Star-Tribune. He says that it's basically a lose-lose situation, which it will be if the union succeeds in its attempt to shut down the airline. (I guess it's too much to ask that he consider the real possibility that the union will fail.)

Even so, he, probably inadvertently, highlighted one major problem with union labor:

Dodge was handing out strike leaflets in front of the Lindbergh terminal Saturday afternoon, taking a four-hour shift with Harold Rishel, a 55-year-old mechanic from Lakeville. Both repair radio and navigation gear.

Dodge pulls broken units from cockpits; Rishel fixes them in the shop. They never met until Saturday.


What's wrong with this picture? I'll give you a hint: look up the term "featherbedding". There's absolutely no reason that they need one guy to remove radios from the cockpit and another to actually fix them. Removing a radio from an aircraft is a matter of undoing some number of quarter-turn Dzus fasteners and sliding it out of the rack. Under FAA rules, it must be done by a licensed mechanic, but it's not at all unreasonable to ask the guy who's going to fix the radio to actually pull it out of the aircraft.

American labor, particularly union labor, has priced itself out of the world labor market. Featherbedding like this is one reason why.
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