As part of Northwest’s bankruptcy, they’re trying to reduce labor costs. This creates strained relations with their unions. So far, so good. But to borrow Brad DeLong’s phrase, “why oh why can’t we have a better press corp?”
This Susan Carey piece (originally in the Wall Street Journal offers a rather odd definition of outsourcing:
- Those intra-Asia flights are mostly staffed by nearly 700 Asian attendants from bases in Japan, China, South Korea, the Philippines and other countries. They operate under different pay and work rules but have language skills for Asian destinations as well as English. The current union contract allows this limited but longstanding outsourcing.
According to Susan Carey (and the PR voice of the Northwest flight attendants union), staffing planes flying within Asia with flight attendants from Asia is outsourcing?
Northwest has significant operations in Asia, and operates a mini-hub at Tokyo’s Narita airport. The airline was formerly known as Northwest Orient Airlines. They maintain crew local crew bases for their Asian flights for several reasons, only one minor one is wages. They also save on per diem and hotel costs. But mostly American flight attendants union members don’t possess the language skills that local residents do.