Tom Brady’s Footballs; American Airlines Safety Practices – Can we Rely on People and Companies to Always Follow the Rules?


A union group is suing American Airlines, claiming supervisors are pressuring mechanics to release planes before they are safe to fly.
Local 591 of the Transport Workers Union says that union officials who raised objections were threatened with termination or even arrest.
American Airlines denies the allegations, saying that it complies with federal safety rules.
Union: American Airlines Pressuring Mechanics on Safety by David Keonig

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So, let’s think about this…

If we could rely on all companies and company owners to genuinely care for the safety and wellbeing of their workers, there would have never been unions.  Right?

If you don’t know your history, just read the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire for starters.  The answer to the question is nowe cannot rely on all companies and company leaders to always do the right thing.  The moral, ethical, treat-your-people-well right thing.

And, if we could rely on all companies and company leaders to treat all of their employees fairly in the compensation department, then there would have been fewer unions.

But, the reality is that not all companies are good about such matters.  Not at all.  Thus, there is a need for people to look after the safety and wellbeing and fair wages of workers.  Enter the unions.

Have unions ever over-reached, or misrepresented, or broken the law themselves?  Yep, they have.

Thus, the cheeks and balances, wherever we can install them, are probably needed.

"Nope -- it wasn't me..."
“Nope — it wasn’t me…”

So… consider this story.  A few years ago, a quarterback did not like the fact that for all of his “away” games, he had to use footballs provided by the home team.  They weren’t “prepared” the way that he liked the football to be prepared.  So he recruited other quarterbacks, like Peyton Manning, to write letters to the league in agreement with him, saying that each visiting team should be allowed to provide their own footballs.  The effort was successful, and the league changed the rules. That man was Tom Brady.  (Read about this here).  No one objects to the idea, the premise that each quarterback should be able to play with footballs prepared the way that he likes them.  That’s ok — a good idea…  But, what if one of those teams decides to go beyond the rules, and under-inflate the footballs.  Who will check the air pressure?  Should that quarterback, that team, which prepares its own footballs, always be counted on to follow the rules of the game.

(And, by the way, how does it look when the team that was apparently caught in the act was the very team, the very quarterback, that sought the rule change?  Makes you wonder just why he sought the rule change after all…)

By the way, I’ve got a hunch that someone not connected to the Patriots will be checking the air pressure of the footballs used by the Patriots from now on.  In fact — and this is the larger cost of people not abiding by the rules — the league will probably have to go to some extra expense to check all teams’ footballs; even the teams that would never cheat — just because of the bad actions of the one(s) that would/did cheat.

Do players, and teams, and companies, always play fair; always do the right thing?  If they did, it would be a better world.  But, they don’t do they?

A while back, I heard a guest on an NPR interview show (sorry; I don’t remember the guest’s name, or the date – it was on the Diane Rehm show, I think).  This person acknowledged that yes, there were probably too few regulations leading up to the 2008 crash.  But he was thoroughly convinced that the move now was toward too many regulations. (I have a hunch that if we went back to before 2008, he, and/or the folks he traveled with, were saying that “we don’t need any more regulations now.  You can trust us to do the right thing for the country, and the economy.”  How did that turn out?).

So, I do not know if the Union’s grievance against American Airlines is legitimate or not.  But I think I can say this with great certainly — there is some company, somewhere; there is some athlete, somewhere, right now — not following the rules for safety, and/or not providing fair wages to its workers, or breaking the rules for an unfair advantage.

I think I’m right about that.  I wish I wasn’t, but I am, in fact, certain about that.  I bet you think the same.

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