Posts Tagged ‘ALPA’
After lobbying from Alaska Air and other labour groups, it would appear that Congressman Oberstar (Democratic Congressman and Chairman of the House Transportation Committee) has requested that U. S. Transportation Secretary LaHood look into the “nationality” of Virgin America for potential violations of U.S. foreign ownership rules.
We find this ironic, given today’s news from the G20 summit in our own hometown. While protesters went about their business in the Square Mile, down in the Docklands something truly important was happening. In the final communiqué the G20 found common ground, in principle, against trade barriers. We predict that we will see implicit ripple effects onto Open Skies Mark II as a result. We also think that a US Congressman would be more concerned with American jobs being lost vs. the blatant protectionist politics and his obsession with HR 831.
Ironically, the Virgin issue has very little to do with HR831, as it is a stand-along player that Oberstar is righteously trying to protect against what his calls ‘whiny’ legacy airlines.
Perhaps we should all think this through to its logical conclusion? In our opinion both Oberstar is missing the point. We are talking about American jobs here, and it is my sincere hope that the legislators of both Houses from California and New York will be so kind as to remind the Congressman of that pertinent fact.
In addition, is it possible that while the investors may have indeed decided to extract some of their remaining investment from this venture, that perhaps they still retain critical voting rights as part of the contract’s structure? I am no lawyer, but what I do know is this: The Virgin Group and its CEO are both known quantities to me personally, and I would not underestimate how particularly adept they are at doing their jobs.
While we understand the position of Alaska Air, we are a bit more puzzled by the reaction of some of the labour unions who are exercising their muscle on this issue as well. While I appreciate that times are tough, but I have to wonder if ALPA be singing a different tune if Virgin America’s pilots were dues paying members?
Oberstar has missed the fundamentals. We live in a global economy now, and airlines are on the front line. They are our physical lifeline to the new global economy, a tangible manifestation of the reality of international commerce, trade, and leisure.
At TWC we will continue to use our resources to highlight what we interpret as the dangerous brand of political protectionism practiced by the Chairman of the US House Transportation Committee.
Disclaimer: The author holds no current positions or active contracts with any of the carriers mentioned in this blog.
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