More Sabotage in the American Workplace

United Continental (which still operates as two separate companies at the moment) is experiencing a sickout right now due to what some would say is a labor dispute.  More power to those pilots.

Sickouts, work slowdowns, strikes, following orders exactly as written -- they are all things workers (mostly unionized since it's easier to get the word out) do to protest working conditions.  Some steal from their jobs, blackmail or destroy important paperwork.  There are thousands of ways one can disrupt work as usual, and each is unique to the job at hand.  Strikes and mass actions are usually a last resort, whereas individual activism is typically an ongoing process.

The sickout at the individual airlines of United Continental is disrupting a small number of flights, which makes me think it is more of a warning than a mass action ... for now.  It could be the sign of something bigger.  It should be taken seriously.  For those concerned with labor issues, pick another airline to use as long as this is in action, and let United Continental know why you are doing so.

These two airlines together have almost 10,000 pilots.  They do close to 6,000 flights a day.  If United does what it did two years ago, it will go to a judge to force these pilots to go back to work.  United won on appeal.  Imagine a judge forcing you to work.  How would you react?  If that were to happen again, staying away from United Continental would be even more important, though if you were forced to fly it for one reason or another, you could do your best to disrupt business as usual.

The vacation season is here, and I'm sure United Continental is well aware of how this could blossom into a widespread sickout at but a moment's notice.  The company shouldn't be heading to court, though.  It should be heading to the negotiation table.  If workers are willing to risk their income and defy a court, don't you think the prudent business person would hear them out?  They often don't, however, and that's why sabotage will continue to exist.  If you're a flyer who supports the company, I hope you feel safe flying in those planes.  At least the mechanics are happy with their jobs, right?

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