Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Northwest adds insult to injury

It's not bad enough that some Northwest Airlines workers already have been told to hit the road, now the airline is insulting them further by offering them bizarre tips on how to cope with the loss of their jobs.

A Reuters article, published in the Houston Chronicle and elsewhere tells a story so unbelievable that it made us think we had passed through a momentary time warp: We had to look at our calendar to see if it was April Fool's day!
Bankrupt Northwest Airlines Corp. advised workers to fish in the trash for things they like or take their dates for a walk in the woods in a move to help workers facing the ax to save money.

The No. 5 U.S. carrier, which has slashed most employees' pay and is looking to cut jobs as it prepares to exit bankruptcy, put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site.

The section, entitled "101 ways to save money," does not feature in new versions of the booklet or the Web site.

Northwest spokesman Roman Blahoski said some employees who received the handbook had taken issue with a couple of the items. "We agree that some of these suggestions and tips ... were a bit insensitive," Blahoski told Reuters.
A bit insensitive?? That has to be the understatement of the year in the field of labor relations! How about despicable, demeaning, and absolutely insulting!

We'd love to know just who came up with the ideas for these "tips."
The four-page booklet, "Preparing for a Financial Setback" contained suggestions such as shopping in thrift stores, taking "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods" and not being "shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

The booklet was part of a 150-page packet to ground workers, such as baggage handlers, whose jobs will likely be cut after their union agreed to allow the airline to outsource some of their work, Blahoski said.

Prepared with the help of an outside company, the booklet encourages employees to manage their money better and prepare for financial emergencies.

"If you have saved some money, pat yourself on the back -- you deserve it," the booklet reads. "Take out only what you need and spend prudently."
We find this to be so outrageous, that we really, really, really want to believe it is a spoof. If it is a spoof, it's a mean-spirited one.

If it's true, this is a shameful new low in labor-management relations. Northwest employees deserve much better than this kind of condescending paternalism posing as concern.

Source: Employer advises Dumpster-diving for axed workers - Houston Chronicle

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,