(note: This speech was condensed and truncated from this full text due to time constraints applied by the meeting chair…)
HELLO. My name is Steve Nieman, and I work as a captain at Horizon Air.
We love you ALL! Couldn't exist here without each of these three pillars.
This is our third "wake-up" proxy contest at the AAG.
Could I get a show of hands:
To exist and survive in this tough business, we're going to have to investigate ways of doing things that have never been tried before on a multi-billion dollar scale.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?
Let me ask you all: Would any of you pay $3/gal milk when you could buy it nearby for $2?? Of course not--We all look for bargains, to make our incomes stretch farther. That applies to our customers, too. They look for bargains when they fly with us, just like we would.
That's why a free market is synonymous with human justice and liberty!
We want the freedom to buy or sell at prices we believe best further ours and our family's economic futures! And we'll take our chances in the free marketplace.
I flew with a flight attendant recently who blames our customers for our financial woes! She said they should be paying MORE! for our tickets! Ah--but you can't have it both ways, can we?--which she admitted…
What our customers want; what we want is--A GOOD DEAL! And guess what?--as stakeholders gathered here today--we can all help decide what the deal's going to be…
UNDENIABLE TRUTH: IF YOU DON'T STAY COMPETITIVE, THE MARKET WILL REPLACE YOU!!
How many schemes and schemers have you heard? that claim they can beat the market! From trying to corner silver to setting the airline pilot wage market? They have all failed!
I believe the corporation of the future, the 21st century corporation--is not going to look anything like what we have today.
Why? The chief reason being that technology is more and more replacing human labor--jobs. The robots! Are coming... Which is good news only if you OWN the robots--share in ownership of the technology that is replacing our labor. This reality immediately changes our thinking--and can be applied right here at the AAG--now!
We can't think pay-by-hourly-wages only!
We have to think CAPITAL!! And the ways wealth is earned from credit!!
Capital credit! Not consumer credit (credit cards)!! Capital credit creates wealth by buying income-producing assets with future profits of the assets. One way we all share in the wealth is by sharing in the distribution of additional stock shares as our asset pie enlarges, and our company's capital "tree" adds another ring.
Wage slavery disconnects our brains from the capital tools at our disposal.
I fly with guys all the time who trash our airliners! HEY! Don't you understand that these machines create billions of dollars? a portion of which shows up in your paycheck every two weeks? Show a little intelligence and respect!
BUT MOST DON'T CARE--BECAUSE THERE'S A DISCONNECT! WE'VE GOT TO FIX THAT!
One way we do that is move away from WAGESLAVEHOOD, and pay workers CAPITAL WAGES!
WHAT ARE CAPITAL WAGES?
There are many varieties (we can be as creative as we want) of securities instruments that are available to this wonderful invention of mankind--the corporation (or the many affording to own what a few could not):
Remember--issuing stock is like printing money. The cost is ink and paper (nothing). But currently our management has a monopoly on this money-creating mechanism--and our labor unions don't care to check-n-balance this tremendous power--or get involved in administering or applying it productively to hold down fixed costs. Negotiating only hourly-wage labor contracts is focusing on only one tool in the corporate toolbox.
The real wealth in a corporation is not created by workers being paid hourly wages. The Big Bucks wealth creation is the issuance of stock and what can be done with various features of this capital mechanism--which represents the timeless metaphysic of the whole being worth more than the sum of its parts.
And--no, the AAG's current "profit sharing" and "operational performance reward" programs don't do capital wages justice. They're capital patchwork. We need to tear our corporate house down and rebuild it!
And OUR HOUSE is our customers' house, too!!
You cannot separate production from consumption. That would be like trying to remove the north polarity of a magnet from the south--impossible. Don't fight it! Capitalize on it!
Remember--our original owners and their personal investments are all gone now--Mac McGee, Ron Cosgrave, Milt Kuolt; the only one remaining--Bruce Kennedy. But we can access "new" capital from "future savings" generated by buying new assets with the profit they create in the moment.
Over time, ownership builds a just structure of authority. When some workers (management) wield the power to give themselves shares (stock options or grants), while denying other workers the same right--authority breaks down. How can we build trust and confidence??
WHAT'S THE VALUE OF THE WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE HERE BY THESE
THREE PROXY CONTESTS OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS AT THE AAG?
We believe we have helped create wealth for the price of our stock. YOU CAN TOO!! Compare:
I talk to workers all the time who tell me they have sold their ALK shares. I had one tell me, "Steve, I sold at $30/share because I felt the price would never be there again." I told him--"perhaps--if workers and customers don't get enlightened to how securities work in a corporation--you may be right. But then we're all doomed because we won't utilize the numerous monetary resources that could justly hold down our fixed rates of hourly pay."
CAN WE SEE HOW HOURLY-WAGES ONLY HAS BLINDED US TO OTHER MONETARY ALTERNATIVES THAT CAN SAVE OUR COMPANIES AND CONTINUE TO PAY US A LIVING CLOSE TO ONE THAT WE ALL HAVE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO?
With all that has happened this year, these painful cuts for workers, as we transition to a capital-based income-and-benefit structure, the need for TRUST is so important:
"These are difficult times for all of us, but today’s hard decisions will enable us to achieve a brighter and more stable future. I value and respect your ongoing dedication to this company as we move forward"--AAG Chairman Bill Ayer--excerpt from the May 13, 2005 letter announcing management of Alaska Airline's decision to contract-out our Seattle ramp services to Menzies Aviation.
We're leaving a lot of workers behind as we "move" forward--but if they had capital wages, they would be earning some income for their sacrafice while they look for other hourly-wage jobs.
I believe that Alaska and Horizon management should permanently pledge NOT to take Annual Incentive Plan cash bonuses forever, until workers wages (which are currently being reduced to market-base hourly wages) are supplemented with Performance Based Pay just like what appears in management's compensation contracts. Capital wages should be shared by all--not just management. We should all partake in the increased profitability that will result because of cuts in fixed pay!
WE CAN'T BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT TRANSCENDING OURSELVES!
Let me begin my closing by communicating the critical importance of JUSTICE in our business and Life.
We all know that there are limits on freedom, one of the most important being the distance beyond the maximum reach of your fist…
But there can never be enough justice. What does justice entail?
(Tell LAX window-washing story…)
Working together also means opening our minds to new ideas. Stakeholder activists at the AAG plan to:
In closing, I'd like to thank all my fellow candidates--RICHARD FOLEY, fellow-worker TERRY DAYTON, DR. BOB OSBORNE, JOHN CHEVEDDEN and CARL OLSON.
I'd like to thank all the AAG workers shareholder proponents (Horizon Air employees all. It has been my pleasure to work with them): QX flight attendant Pat Brady; Q4 Captain Don Flinn; Q2 Captain Mark Woods; RJ Captain Jim Roberts; aircraft mechanic Bill Davidge; retired Q4 Captain John Furqueron.
I would also like to thank special counsels Julie Griffith and Nicholas Panos, of the Office of Mergers and Acquisitions of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Wash D.C. I know that the securities laws require that they be neutral, but they did proud the duty of civil servants--to empower citizens to carry out the daily business of governing this nation and operating its economy.
Prop--(Put on "OWN OR BE OWNED" tee shirt.)
WE CAN DO THIS!!
It's just a matter of all stakeholders opening our hearts and our minds to one another, to create the wealth that will enable us all to live life abundantly, while relating to one another in our business and all other dealings in the sacred way that life and justice requires.
~~end of speech~~