Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Non-union "scab" workers' mistake blows hole in plane during flight

Yet once again big business has decided that the war against organized labor is more important that the safety of the consumer.

As you might remember, in the year 2000 Ford and the Firestone tire company came under fire due to a large number of fatal and injury accidents involving Explorer SUVs equipped with Firestone tires. Investigators learned that many of the tires which failed were made by non-union scabs brought in by Firestone to replace union workers who were involved in a labor dispute. Studies showed that the tires made by the non-union strike breakers failed 15 times as often as those made by the union employees that those scabs had replaced.

In the latest incident, scab workers at Sea-Tac airport in Seattle have been blamed for an incident which placed an airliner and all its passengers and crew at risk. According to NTSB investigators, the non-union replacement workers, who were responsible for " an increase in ground-damage incidents at Sea-Tac after (the airline) replaced 472 unionized workers in May" struck and creased the skin of the airliner with a piece of baggage handling equipment.

Twenty minutes into the flight the damage blew open, creating a 1 foot by half a foot hole, which depressurized the cabin of the aircraft. The pilot immediately took the plane into a steep dive, while passengers and crew scrambled to don oxygen masks.

From The Seattle Times

"Absolutely terrifying" flight after ground-crew mistake

By Jennifer Sullivan and Melissa Allison
Seattle Times staff reporters

Alaska Airlines Flight 536 was 20 minutes out of Seattle and heading for Burbank, Calif., Monday afternoon when a thunderous blast rocked the plane.

Passengers gasped for air and grabbed their oxygen masks as the plane dropped from about 26,000 feet, passenger Jeremy Hermanns said by phone Tuesday.

"This was absolutely terrifying for a few moments," said Hermanns, 28, of Los Angeles. "Basically your ears popped, there's a really loud bang and there was a lot of white noise. It was like somebody turned on a leaf blower in your ear."

Though the MD-80 plane was quickly stabilized, he said, passengers spent the next 25 minutes tearful and anxious. An "acrid" odor of burning plastic overwhelmed the cabin, Hermanns said.

"A lot of people were very stunned," said Hermanns, who had been visiting Seattle with his fiancée for Christmas. "It was surreal."

But hey, we saved a few bucks on labor costs.

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