TWU Launches National Advertising Campaign to Expose Outrageous Executive Bonuses at AMR

Dépèche transmise le 2 avril 2009 par Business Wire

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) today announced a national advertising campaign to raise awareness about outrageous bonuses to corporate executives and particularly those awards pending at AMR, the parent company for American Airlines and American Eagle.

The union will run advertisements beginning today in major news outlets such as CNN and in newspapers in Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Tulsa and other major American Airlines markets. The union also will reach out to the public through targeted advertisements delivered by Google as well as other Internet sites and search engines. Each message encourages frequent flyers and the general public to play a game called the “American Exec Check” and then to electronically contact AMR’s board of directors via email and an online petition. The AMR board is being asked to stop paying executive bonuses to company executives until frontline workers are included in bonus compensation.

“In many ways American has become the poster boy for outrageous executive bonuses,” said TWU International President James C. Little. Despite running a money-losing airline with declining share value, AMR executives have taken $300 million in bonuses in recent years with more awards expected in mid-April while the wages of frontline employees essentially have been frozen after 30 percent pay cuts in 2003.

“We’re not opposed to executives being well-paid; we oppose the executives taking seven-figure awards while other workers are laid off or have their wages frozen,” said Little. “This is about equity. Mechanics and other ground workers keep the planes flying. We’ve figured out how to make operations more productive and we have brought outside work into AMR facilities. We’re not asking for the Earth, moon and stars. We’ve shared the pain, shouldn’t we also share any bonuses or gains that the execs make? And, if the company is in truly bad shape, shouldn’t execs be barred from taking bonuses?”

In recent years, the Transport Workers Union, working with AMR, has found ways to reduce the cost of airplane maintenance including major overhauls. TWU also has worked with the airline to jointly market maintenance facilities to other airlines. AMR now generates hundreds of millions of dollars in outside revenue through these efforts. Despite these improvements and hundreds of millions of dollars saved through other efforts to boost productivity, workers at American and American Eagle have been unable to reach agreement with management on either long-term contracts or ones that would serve on an interim basis.

“Times have changed,” Little said. “There is no more divine right of kings. The public, shareholders and workers will no longer tolerate outrageous checks to American execs. We can’t stop the awarding of bonuses at AIG or Merrill Lynch but AMR’s board can do the right thing and stop this imbalance in AMR and our society.” Nationally, the average CEO makes 344 times the wages of the average worker. According to Vice President Joseph Biden, “the average CEO makes $10,000 more per day than the average worker.”

“The American Exec Check” online game can be found at www.americanexeccheck.com. The game challenges the public to click and drag a CEO to a desk marked with differing dollar figures corresponding to their published compensation. Viewers are later provided with information on how to protest the bonuses the American executives are taking home. Advertisements will begin appearing online beginning April 2 and are scheduled to run through the time of the AMR board announcement regarding executive compensation in mid-April.

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 200,000 workers and retirees, primarily in commercial aviation, public transportation and passenger railroads. The union represents the largest share of unionized workers at both American Airlines and American Eagle. TWU is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Business Wire

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