Friday, May 9, 2008

Mergers and Hope

After being spurned by Continental last month, United entered into serious talks to merge with U.S. Airways. Most people laughed, because U.S. Airways is a total mess; its pilots haven't yet figured out seniority from the company's merger with America West a few years ago, and it routinely comes up at or near the bottom on customer service rankings. But United was serious.

They're probably serious, but their plans were complicated with today's announcement by Steve Wallach, the head of United's pilots union:

"We are aware of continued speculation in the media of a possible merger between United Airlines and US Airways, and have serious concerns that the highly touted financial benefits to be derived from such a merger are unlikely to be achieved because these benefits are based on assumptions that have no basis in reality. We therefore believe that a merger with US Airways should be a last resort and not a first choice for United."

Now, for a moment of absolute seriousness. If you haven't read Tom Friedman's article "Who will tell the people?" from May 4 in the New York Times, you should. And once you've read it, please send it to everyone you know.

Here's an excerpt: "Who will tell the people? We are not who we think we are. We are living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. We still have all the potential for greatness, but only if we get back to work on our country."

There's more--a lot more--and it's a message that we all need to hear. Right away. Yesterday. In fact, thirty years ago would probably have been good. But now, for sure.

No comments: