Blacklists are back and the business community loves ’em: Though Charlene Carter, the Southwest flight attendant who was fired because she expressed opinions the company and her union did not like, had won her lawsuit against the company, federal district Judge Brantley Starr has reduced the jury award to her from $5.1 million to $810,000 in order “to comply with federal limits on punitive damages.”
The judge this week reduced that award to $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Southwest and $300,000 from the union, $150,000 in back pay and about $60,000 in interest.
In ordering Southwest to reinstate Carter this week, the judge made a reference to a line in Southwest advertising campaigns. “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case,” Starr wrote.
This story is an update on two previous blacklist columns, the second of which described the ugly email correspondence between company and union officials prior to Carter’s firing. Brian Talburt, an official with the Transit Workers Union (TWU), had written to both his boss, union head Audrey Stone, as well as one Southwest manager as follows about Carter:
“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]
Neither his union boss nor the Southwest officials had any problem with Talburt’s proposed actions, which indicates they were all for blacklisting, blackballing, and slander, if someone did something they didn’t like.
The company and union will now have to pay, and Carter has her job back.
Southwest however does not have my business, and likely never will again. When the company took the lead in mandating masks, thus making it easier for thug politicians and bureaucrats to expand those pointless mandates, I called the company and told it I would never fly with them again. I have so far kept that promise, and this story only reinforces my resolve to stick to it.
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