By Rachel Hawkins | DFW Newsflash | September 2017
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) protested at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, demonstrating their disapproval against American Airlines outsourcing American jobs.
With Terminal D as a backdrop, ground workers, union workers, veterans, pilots, engineers, and even young children showed their support by saying enough is enough. Protesters shouted, ‘Sign the contract’ in an effort to stop maintenance jobs from going overseas.
“We lost our sick time and so much more,” said Joseph Lynn, a Marine Corps veteran who has been a mechanic at American Airlines for the past 28 years. “The US Air Group and pilots received a contract two years ago and we’ve haven’t gotten anything yet.
“We’ve lost one week of vacation every year for the past 13 years. When we first went through bankruptcy, we lost at least 20 percent pay and our pension,” he said. “We also had to wait from January 1 to July 4 before we were able to get a paid holiday.
“They are also outsourcing work to other countries, so when third parties who are not licensed by the FAA start doing work on airplanes, we have to go back and fix it because they are not doing their job correctly.”
“We are protesting American Airlines’ unfair practices and the way they treat their union members and employees,” said Elaine Ackerson, a member of The Transport Workers Union of America. “We want them to realize their policies harm their employees. We want equal and fair treatment.”
Mary Hamm, another DFW protester, expressed her discontent.
“The contract is taking too long for the line workers, mechanics, and all of the others who have been waiting,” Hamm said. “We’re all here because we are tired. It’s been years since we have been waiting for the contract, and it shouldn’t be taking that long.
“They made a promise to us and they are going back on their promise. We were supposed to be industry leading, and so far nothing’s happened because they just keep stalling. It’s been years and we just want to move on. We’re not out here to ask for much. We just want them to make things right.”
Gene Lantz, the president of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans protested along with the crowd while shouting his support to the TWU.
“The TARA supports transport workers on this decision to protest because the unions are the core of democracy of America,” Lantz said. “I see more and more integration of the progressive movement. You’ll see different genders, races, and all types of people starting to pull together based on the circumstances.
“I would like a string of successes from the working people in the electoral arena and in the contract arena. But instead, what we’re seeing are vicious attacks on all working people. This is what’s making all of us pull together.”
“The Allied Pilot Association supports the TWU with the efforts to get a contract,” said Captain Tom Westbrook, the DFW chairman for the Allied Pilot Association. “We hope to bring attention to senior management. It’s time to stop stalling the TWU and resolve their contract issues so we can move on and move forward.”
Protestors were not the only ones who filled Terminal D. Police officers also walked the grounds while watching protesters and traffic to ensure everyone’s safety.
On duty, Sergeant Chris Rountree with the Special Operations Division stood guard watching the protest.
“As DPS, we are here to support any function that has a permit,” Rountree said. “Our job is to keep everyone safe and secure.
“They have worked really well with us by coordinating it in advance. We are more than happy to work with them as long as everybody is doing their job by being safe, which is one of the primary goals of the airport.”
“I represent Organized Labor for Dallas and we all stand together because an injustice to one is an injustice to all,” said Mark York, the secretary treasurer of the Dallas AFL-CIO. “I represent 50 different union affiliates and 55,000 numbers in Dallas County.
“The Transport Workers Union needs to know they do not stand alone. We are hoping the employees at American Airlines will get a fair and economical contract. Nothing more and nothing less.”