I won’t pontificate on whether or not Gerard was right or wrong take the shares in light of everything that’s happened. The fact is that those shares were paid out as part of an agreed upon plan, and are based on the performance of AMR over the last three years ending 12/31/07, not last week. But I have to wonder if it was worth it given all the angst among AMR’s employees about the plan?
The metrics this plan is based on are flawed. Basically, you’ve got to be the least sucky of a bunch of sucky companies, and it pays. It’s always been that way, but it wasn’t an issue until last year because the stupid plan paid out…BIG. The unions have known about it all along, but didn’t say anything because no one thought the plan would pay out at the levels it did. But life goes on, and so does the saga of American’s seemingly always rocky relations with its unions.
Frankly, I’m a little sad about how rapidly things have fallen apart on the labor relations front at my old employer. I really thought they were on the verge of something good. Hell, they were on the verge of something good. A new paradigm, by AA labor relations standards. It didn’t have to be this way. And it still doesn’t. But I worry that the off the chart rhetoric from AA’s militant union heads coupled with management’s brain-dead handling of the situation has pushed things to a point of no return without some pain on the way. Fingers crossed that cooler heads eventually prevail.