22 December 2005

Getting your degree in Corporate B.S.

My sister spent 14 years working for NWA and just resigned. She went into an entirely different career. Kudos to you, sis!


The airline just sent her this letter as a fond farewell. There was no mention of "best wishes", "thank you for your service", or "you'll be missed."

She was a good employee. Only 2 sick calls during her career, 11 commendations for good service, and she was always on time - even the airline can't say that.

I'm sharing the letter with you as an example of how truly amoral and completely uncaring this corporation is. Its "front line" workforce gets the "you're nobody" treatment from Management. I know, I know - 90% of them are the same. They don't care, employees are just warm bodies put in place to do a job. Corporations are supposed to be uncaring, state created entities with no moral compass. But with Christmas around the corner and Dickens on my mind - I feel that maybe just a little "thanks" from them would have been in order. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

NWA has 10,000 flight attendants. These are the people who interact most intimately with its customers. For decades now NWA has been putting the screws to its employees and unions with paycuts, micro-managing, lowering insurance benefits while increasing the premiums, and eliminating amenities for both customers and employees. 10 years ago management got all of the employees to agree to take a 30% paycut. The company promised that within 3 years the salary levels would "snap back" to the previous levels. 1 month after agreeing to cuts, the board of directors voted to give themselves substantial salary increases. 3 months after that, a top level board executive was charged with possession of marijuana. Was he drug tested? No. The "us/them" dichotomy at NWA is palpable. The double standards are appalling.

You'd think that with all the talk about treating your people well so that your customers get treated well (ie the Southwest and Virgin Atlantic Corporate cultures), that NWA would wake up to how powerful and easy it is to be a good employer so that your employees are happier, your stockholders are happier, and finally, your customers are happier. It doesn't take much - people don't expect alot. Just some basic simple courtesies would go along way.

My sister's opinion is that she hopes this airline goes the way of the DoDo. They already have prehistoric creatures running the board and management. It would be one less company in the world who doesn't give a rat's ass about its people, nor its customers.

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