NWA/Delta merger: what about the workers?


Dawn Mikkelson knows a lot about the plight of Northwest Airlines workers. She’s been documenting their story since the airline’s mechanics went on strike in 2005. Her soon to be released film called “The Red Tail” documents the trail of broken dreams left by a powerful corporation. A few weeks before the Northwest/Delta merger was announced, she sat down with The UpTake’s Chuck Olsen to talk about what the merger would mean to the remaining Northwest workers.

Additional Coverage:
Employees cast wary eye on Northwest-Delta merger (Workday Minnesota)

Here’s what Dawn Mikkelson told The UpTake:

“The situation as you know is Northwest and Delta are talking about merging and becoming one company. It would be the largest airline in the world. There’s a lot of factors that make this merger quite questionable from the Minnesota perspective. The amount of money that has been given to Northwest to keep the jobs here…what happens to that, what happens to the jobs, what happens to the hub?

“It’s again the story of corporate management benefiting from the loss of jobs, the loss of power of their employees. They are benefiting financially and lining their wallets and then they get to leave. And leave it all behind. Leave it all for somebody else to deal with.

“It’s interesting reading an article recently where they were talking about how Northwest was not functioning as a company that was looking to survive long term. The decisions they were making, they were preparing themselves to be taken into Delta, which is rather disrespectful I think of all the workers who have dedicated their lives, well in some cases their lives, but at least their work lives to this company believing that they would have that 401K, they’d have that retirement, they’d have all of this. So it’s very frustrating to see workers being treated as a liability to the company rather than an asset. And I think that’s how these management are looking at the workers. They’re looking at them on a profit and loss statement. Workers are liabilities. And I think that we need to change how we look at the workforce.

“I think this Delta thing is just one more way for a couple of rich guys to get a little richer. I’m being blunt there.”