Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Airline to Employees: "Go Dive in a Dumpster": Employees of Northwest Airlines, a company with an ugly history when it comes to labor relations, are receiving some helpful advice from management after the nation’s fifth largest airline imposed massive pay cuts as it prepares to exit bankruptcy.

A booklet handed out to employees and posted on the company’s website (now sadly removed), called 101 Ways to Save Money, advised workers that one way to make ends meet was to fish through garbage to find things that are too expensive in the shops. So if you see a disheveled individual fishing through garbage cans in Minneapolis or Detroit, don’t assume he’s homeless; he could be one of the truly unfortunate.

The airline withdrew the booklet, and spokesman Roman Blahoski acknowledged that “some of these suggestions and tips… were a bit insensitive.”

Personally, I think there is a communications opportunity here. To reinforce the message of “shared sacrifice” that is de rigeur at times such as there, chief executive Doug Steenland could share with workers all the examples of useful items he has found while dumpster diving.

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