In the world of airline union labor leaders, there is one guy who has stood out among all the others. Lee Moak of Delta Airlines.
Captain Moak, leader of the Delta Airlines’ pilots union when Delta merger with Northwest Airlines, has consistently shown that he understands the changing business model of the airline industry. He has embraced the idea that mergers don’t have to be anti-union and was critical in the peaceful integration of pilot’s seniority lists during the Delta/Northwest merger. An almost unheard of accomplishment.
Moak approaches his leadership as an obligation to engage with parties as opposed to the far more common tactic of confrontation. He allows his actions to speak for him rather than rhetoric and that has allowed him to succeed where many others have simply maintained a status quo that hasnt been working for years.
Now he’ll head the national leadership of ALPA and this is good for a lot of airlines. He’ll have the opportunity to set a different tone and, perhaps, mentor others into his engagement approach.
When I say it’s good for airlines, I mean that it is good for both labor and management. All too often, there is little engagement between those two parties and way too much conflict. Talking is good and moving off rhetoric and talking points towards real compromise and finding solutions to new problems will be good for everyone.
It should be very satisfying to see him lead ALPA and he’s a critical person to watch in this industry.