Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Employee relations at airlines currently resemble those between a rabid buffalo and a jilted bison.

At Southwest Airlines, for example, management is accusing mechanics of sabotaging the airline's operations in ordert to get better pay.

Things don't seem too convivial at American Airlines either.

Employees regularly criticize what they see as the airline's indifference toward customer service.

Now, however, an employees' union has created a campaign and website with the marginally embittered name: AA Should Care.

The creators say this is "a public education effort that highlights potential concerns for air passengers and crews that employees believe could result from the current and proposed cost-cutting business practices at American Airlines."

The message offered by these employees is a touch frightening. Sample:

Wouldn't you want to know if the airline you fly is making decisions that could impact the safety and security of the next plane you board ... or the plane carrying your family?

That does sound portentous. What decisions is the airline allegedly making?

Well, the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO -- which represents some 17,000 American Airlines employees -- says the the airline is desperate to offshore more and more work.

It says: 

The processes and regulations of offshore providers often do not meet U.S. standards. While the Department of Transportation can address risks through its regulatory authority over domestic facilities, it cannot impose U.S. safety regulations on facilities outside the country.

The employees' union regards the impact of such moves as "potentially devastating" and could lead to, for example, a "lack of structural integrity in planes" and even the "use of inferior parts."

Surely American Airlines wouldn't contemplate such things, I hear you mutter nervously.

I contacted the airline and will update, should I receive a response.

The employees, though, also warn that more outsourcing could lead to more maintenance problems and more delays.

There's even more. More of not good, that is.

They say that American is looking to cheaper U.S. service providers too, including for baggage handling, cabin inspections and de-icing. 

Say the employees: 

The results of hiring minimum wage earners for critical jobs such as these include theft, mistakes and missed safety issues due to lack of training, accidents on the ramps and runways, and more.

Many will think this is typical union fearmongering, oddly coinciding with contract negotiations.

In an increasingly neurotic society, however, portents of fear can be powerful.

Yet, though airlines are desperately searching for new, more annoying ways to be profitable, they also know that compromising safety could easily destroy their whole business.

Lately, though, there has been uncomfortable news.

A recent CBS News investigation intimated that mechanics at both American and Southwest felt pressured by management to overlook certain mechanical issues in order to keep planes in service.

Of course, one way to ensure safety is to have good relations with your employees.

Some airlines seem to find that very hard right now.

Published on: Mar 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.