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May 21, 2012

Schnurman: High employee moral keeps companies profitable

MITCH_SCHNURMAN_17761801Are happy employees a luxury that some companies simply cannot afford?

Or are they the most important asset, the difference between success and failure?

Two hometown favorites, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, couldn't offer a starker contrast in both approach and outcomes.

Dallas-based Southwest has put employees first for 40 years, refusing to impose layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs, even during the darkest times. Labor costs have risen to become the industry's highest, and the company is pushing for more productivity, not concessions. Southwest remains profitable, but margins have narrowed so much that it's slowing growth plans by delaying the delivery of new planes.

At Fort Worth-based American, management and labor have been clashing for decades in good times and bad. Now in bankruptcy court, the unions have repeatedly pushed for a merger with US Airways, and thousands of employees have signed petitions stating they have no confidence in current management. Last week, one union expert testified that a merger was inevitable, and the unions' full-throated support has given the US Airways bid real traction.

By losing employees, American executives may well lose the company.

Nearly every business talks about the importance of its people, and judging by these two examples, the lesson seems clear: Nurture your workers, no matter what the cost.

Click here to read the full column that appeared in Sunday's Star-Telegram.

-Mitchell Schnurman


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/18/3971197/keeping-employee-morale-high-helps.html#storylink=cpy

 

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Comments

Chuck

Am I reading too much into this piece or is Schnurman the Shill beginning to understand the root cause of AA's problems?

airlinerealist

AA has had horrible employee relations since shortly after 9/11. Considering all the bankruptcies and concessions, most airlines have.

At some point both sides have to let the past go and move forward. Management will have to stop blaming labor for the bankruptcy, and the unions are going to have to dial back - by a lot - the venom they constantly throw at the company.

In American's case, more of the same just isn't going to work going forward.

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