Machinists Call for Bankruptcy Reform

Memphis Local 2763 Secretary-Treasurer John Kalkstein (left) and Vice President Kenneth Vicknair (right) met with Tennessee Democratic Representative Steve Cohen (center) to discuss issues facing workers at Northwest-Delta Air Lines.

Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. testified this week before the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and called for changes to existing bankruptcy laws that have been used to extract massive concessions from workers while restricting their right to employ the self help provisions in their agreements.

“If employees are called upon to sacrifice in order to resurrect their bankrupt employer, then bankruptcy law must require that everyone from the break room to the board room shares the pain,” said Roach at the hearing titled Protecting Employees in Airline Bankruptcies. “In recent airline bankruptcies, much of the financial sacrifices made by employees were diverted into the pockets of the people responsible for the company’s failure.”

The IAM’s complete testimony is available at

The Machinists union believes there is an immediate need for bankruptcy reform that should apply to all private sector workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.

“Recent court rulings should be overturned to allow airline workers the right to engage in self help if the bankruptcy court terminates their collective bargaining agreement,” said Roach. “The right to self help fosters good-faith bargaining by ensuring that the bargaining parties understand the consequences of failing to reach a negotiated agreement.”

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