Today’s blacklisting story is a further update in connection with the victory by former Southwest Airline flight attendant Charlene Carter, who was fired by the airline for having opinions neither the airline nor her union liked.
Carter sued, and was awarded by a jury $4.15 million from Southwest and $950,000 from Local 556 of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) for what the jury deemed an unjust firing.
As I noted at the link,
Carter had sent blunt Facebook messages to Audrey Stone, the head of the union, criticizing its pro-abortion stance and its apparent use of union funds to send flight attendants to a 2017 pro-abortion protest in Washington, D.C. Southwest decided expressing such opinions was unacceptable and fired her. The union agreed, doing nothing to support her as it is supposed to do.
Both Southwest and the union are appealing this jury decision, and that’s where this update comes in. A Texas news outlet has apparently obtained copies of emails used as evidence during the trial that were sent by TWU official Brian Talburt to one Southwest manager as well as his boss, union head Audrey Stone, discussing the actions the union and Southwest should take together against several non-union Southwest employees.
“I am all about targeted assassinations,” he stated, referring to using Facebook and social media as a way to attack the reputations of the non-union employees.
“Cancer is a dangerous thing and must b [sic] eradicated when ever [sic] possible or it spreads,” he wrote. “You cannot contain it, it needs to be eliminated. I would highly encourage targeting people and a one day detective with a video camera is a very cheap investment.” [emphasis mine]
Though Talburt was not discussing any action against Charlene Carter, and while he also in a subsequent email claimed that his use of the word “assassinations” was merely a “metaphor,” this and other correspondence between the union and Southwest was apparently used during her lawsuit to demonstrate the toxic work environment that she and other non-union employees were subjected to at Southwest. Apparently, the jury found this and other evidence compelling, which is why it unanimously decided in Carter’s favor.
Whether this evidence will be considered during appeal is unclear. Judges tend to look at appeals not from the perspective of evidence but from the perspective of legal interpretation. It might be the union and company could win on appeal, even though both clearly contemplated taking possibly illegal actions against non-union employees.
It is important however to reread the words of Brian Talburt. Here is a union rep literally advocating that Southwest gather damaging information against specific employees in order to force them out. Worse, it appears that Southwest’s manager, Sonya Lacore, had no objections at all to this approach.
These emails show starkly how our modern blacklist culture has now evolved. The idea of blackballing people has how become so routine that it is now acceptable for managers in corporations to nonchalantly discuss illicit methods in order to blackmail dissident employees.
It isn’t the blackmailing however that is horrifying. It is the lack of opposition or outrage from others when such ideas are proposed.
Be very afraid. If such things are now acceptable, much worse things will soon become acceptable as well.