On April 23, American Airlines management went into bankruptcy court for a week-long argument in favor of union busting against the Transport Workers, Flight Attendants, and Pilots unions. Since 1986, a number of corporations have developed this route around labor law and everything decent. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants picketed at Terminal D of the Dallas Ft-Worth Airport. As usual, Jobs with Justice was there, but we were joined by an increasing number of solidarity activists from other unions, from the community, and even from among the ranks of elected office holders!
I was amazed on April 21, at the 23rd Senate District meeting of the Democratic Party, when the most important office holder in the county, Judge Clay Jenkins, rose to speak. Instead of campaigning for some candidate or cause, he directly asked the assembly to join him on the picket line! I rushed to take his photo and put it on the "Gene Lantz" Facebook page along with the astounding news that a big-time public office holder was siding with the working people! That's news, it's even history! Later that day, I found that Jenkins had printed an invitation of his own on Facebook! Several union activists started picking it up for their own sites.
Jim McCasland, the main leader of the labor movement in Dallas, wrote: "n my considerable years as an activist in the labor community, I've never witnessed any other public official display, so publicly, their support of working men and women."
On the picket line, Judge Jenkins was kept busy with media interviews and requests for photos with various workers and groups. My State Rep, Roberto Alonzo, did some interviews, too, but then picked up a sign and started circling around in front of Terminal D at DFW Airport along with the rest of us. Also walking was candidate for Congress Don Jacquess, who has been at all 3 pickets. Dallas County Commissioner Candidate Daniel Clayton was there. Neither candidate was promoting himself. Both were promoting the cause of the American Airlines employees. Among other solidarity activists were big contingents of Communications Workers, Auto Workers, and United Food and Commercial Workers -- including folks from the Wal-Mart organizing drive! I had hoped to see a big bunch from the International Association of Machinists, but over 3,000 of them had just gone on strike against Lockheed that morning, and I guess they had their hands full. Nevertheless, there were Machinists on the picket line, as well as Postal Workers, AFL-CIO leaders, and the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.
The general upsurge of Occupy and MoveOn forces has helped union people see the great value of hitting the sidewalks together. And it's just in time, because the companies will all do what American Airlines is attempting if we don't.
--Gene Lantz, Organizer
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