DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) – Katie Jerzabek took a bit longer than she’d planned after dropping off her friend at DFW Airport, Wednesday. After all, how could she ignore hundreds of people marching in racetrack pattern, holding signs and chanting, “Its not fair! Its not fair!” in front of Terminal D?
“I was dropping my friend off at work and I saw the protest and was wondering what it was about,” Jarzabek said. “You just don’t see this every day.”
The Transportation Workers Union organized the protest to put pressure on American Airlines and its parent company the AMR Corporation as it threatens massive layoffs during its bankruptcy reorganization.
But pilots, flight attendants and communications workers joined in the march of more than 200 people as well to ask for the same thing: “A fair chance for everybody,” said flight attendant Amanda Miller. “Not just taking away everything everybody has worked so hard for.”
The TWU wants AMR to offer buyout offers for workers who leave voluntarily.
With 9,000 of the 13,000 proposed layoffs in their union, TWU workers say corporate management needs to suffer more so union workers suffer less.
“Now we’re bankrupt,” said Brian Parker, TWU Strike Coordinator. “They’re going to go into bankruptcy as millionaires. They’re going to come out as millionaires. We’ll come out with job loss, divorce, suicide.”
It was a message new to Jarzabek.
“It said, ‘Stop corporate greed,” she said as she read one of the picketer’s signs. “I knew they claimed bankruptcy but I never looked into the subject.”
American Airlines Spokesman Bruce Hicks released a statement:
“These are challenging times for everyone at American Airlines and we know change is difficult. It’s important to remember every employee group – labor, independent, support staff and management – is affected. These were not easy decisions to make, but they were made out of necessity. Our goal is to preserve as many jobs as possible and emerge from restructuring a successful, profitable company. Our focus right now is quickly reaching consensual agreements with each of our unions to help American Airlines reduce its costs and regain competitive footing in the industry.”