A few weeks after American Airlines has filed a lawsuit against their mechanics union the situation is reaching a boiling point and employees apparently feel emboldened to engage in hefty arguments using unkind language.
Three weeks ago I wrote about the lawsuit American filed against their mechanics union as they’re accusing them to slow down operations by making up maintenance issues, forcing planes out of service and creating unnecessary delays.
According to a report by CBS Chicago (access here) the video in question has been shot secretly by a maintenance employee of American Airlines.
A profanity-laced video has raised questions about safety on one of the biggest airlines at O’Hare International Airport, and about what is acceptable behavior in the workplace.
In a story you’ll see only on CBS 2, Mike Puccinelli sat down with the mechanic who recorded the video. The mechanic said what he caught on tape is just part of a much larger issue.
You can hear the anger in the voice of an American Airlines supervisor yelling at mechanic Jason Lopata at O’Hare last November.
“Every time you come down here, you write s*** up, and you f*****g leave,” the supervisor said.
Here you can watch the video for yourself:
This obviously looks very unfavorable for American. While they might be right in principle that the technicians (or at least some of them) are indeed up to no good, in the public eye however, it looks terrible if management talks to an employee in the manner displayed here.
The article also has a statement from the mechanic:
Lopata said, a week before the incident, the same supervisor lashed out at him over a three-minute delay for repairs to another plane.
“The aircraft took a delay. I had a bunch of work I had to do on the airplane. It took a three-minute delay,” he said.
Why is a three-minute delay that big of a deal?
“That’s what management says. This comes from high up. Any delay is a big deal to them,” Lopata said.
Lopata posted video of the supervisor’s outburst on YouTube last week. He filed a formal complaint with the airline and the Federal Aviation Administraiton in November, accusing the supervisor of using profanity, and telling him “my job was not to find items wrong.”
“Nothing was ever done about it,” Lopata said.
The mechanic said, because American Airlines and the FAA didn’t take action, he posted the video online and reached out to CBS 2.
Lopata said, right before the incident he recorded on video, he had discovered a potential problem with a plane – bubbling paint due to corrosion. He wrote up that corrosion right before he ended his shift, the apparent trigger for his supervisor’s tirade. …
The airline said the supervisor has been removed from duty while it investigates, adding the actions “captured here do not reflect caring and respect, core values we expect all team members to show each other.”
So this was a set up. The motives of the technician might have been to be a whistleblower or just to spread propaganda but either or, he provoked the actions of the manager knowing that he’d likely lash out at him again.
Hopefully American and the unions will come to a resolution sometime soon. This theater is becoming a joke and hurts the reputation of everybody involved. With the 737 Max disaster, can American really afford to cast doubt over the airworthiness of their other planes, even if it’s just a perception of irregularities?
It’s easy for maintenance staff to disable certain areas of flight operations and with airlines every human along the way is a piece of the puzzle without whom the carrier can’t operate. Pilots, Mechanics, Flight Attendants. If any group of them decide to throw a wrench in the motor then operations are immediately affected.