Pan o Palo

The World Is Going Our Way
April 24, 2009, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last night, my wife, some friends of ours, and I attened a “sneak preview” of a new documentary, The Red Tail.  The film tells the story of a Northwest Airline mechanic of some 30 years and his daughter (one of the film’s co-creators) detailing the lengths to which Northwest (and many other global airlines) go in order to outsource maintence of their air fleet in the aftermath of the 2005 strike by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) and some 4000 of its members.

They travel to Hong Kong to try and meet with some of the workers that are now doing the aircraft maintence, only to be met with (predictable) resistance from management and security…then to find out that even those jobs are being outsourced to mainland China.  Why are these stories becoming more and more common?  [I ask rhetorically]

Also documented is a semi-history of NWA from mostly a financial perspective…pretty much everything from Al Checci on to the present day merger with Delta.  And with interviews with union officials, a labor historian (Peter Radcliffe), and Rep. Jim Oberstar provide the proverbial indictments of neo-liberal policies.

What this film did a little different than, say American Dream, was put the thrust of the focus on worker and his impact on global economics.  They speak with an organizer of one of the few independent unions in Hong Kong, who doesn’t mince words when talking about US big labor’s approach to a global issue (Andy Stern alligning himself with China’s state-run union, for example).

All being told, I enjoyed the film…but have seen the same story many times before.  Nothing terribly surprising, no twists, same heart-strings tugged at.  From a film-making perspective, I don’t watch nearly enough movies to make a judgement.  Certainly check it out, if that style of film strikes your fancy.


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