This story was first written on August 28 in response to a phone call we received in regard to how Midway Airlines "announced" their filing for bankruptcy to the their employees. Working together with Tim Jacobs, who was our contact, we developed a website for the employees to join forces, compile a database of displaced workers, and hopefully force Midway Airlines to be held accountable for their actions. On Thursday, October 4, 2001, weeks after the day that shook our world, Midway Airlines announced that they had decided to pay the employees their back wages. We are truly happy for the 700 employees who broke their backs each day to make Midway Airlines the airline of choice in The Triangle, North Carolina. A larger question still remains: Midway's intentions.
Tim Jacobs is happy to have been paid for the time he was owed as an employee of Midway Airlines, but is concerned that this company, who thought nothing of leaving hundreds of employees high and dry by filing for banruptcy, is merely trying to spruce up their image in order to get more money in light of the recent federal funding for airline companies. Midway's bed was already made at the time of the attacks. They had filed bankruptcy and told their employees they were out of luck on their last paycheck. Is it in anybody's best interest to throw more money at this company that for all intents and purposes was already in the grave before the terrorist attack? We think not.
The original story can be seen below.
August 28, 2001--
Tim Jacobs was working on the ramp at RDU on August 13th, the night Midway Airlines filed for bankruptcy. He loaded and unloaded luggage when jets arrived from various destinations. He and the rest of the workers parked jets, and pushed them out from the gates as they departed, oblivious to the devastation the rest of the night would hold.
There was a lot of interaction with the pilots on this night. They were getting off of the planes asking if there was any news about Midway. Rumors were rampant that something was happening. The scuttlebutt was that three flights were going to be terminated. Nobody on the tarmac had any clue of the series of events that was to follow.
Later that night, employees gathered in one of the break rooms, still completely ignorant of what was about to happen. Midway canceled flights to Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. Pilots started saying this would be the last flight they would fly with Midway. Another ramp agent, which was the position held by Tim Jacobs, entered the room, obviously shaken. He had just spoken to his wife on the phone. The Midway Corporate office called her and asked her to relay a message to her husband. He was to turn in all of his badges and Midway belongings to their RDU office. His job was terminated. It was 12:50 am.
Widespread panic ensued after this bomb was dropped. Nobody wanted to believe it. This couldn't be happening. There had been absolutely no indication that anything as drastic as this was about to occur.
Tim Jacobs returned to the tarmac, reeling from the news he had just received. He didn't know what to believe. He went to his gate and waited to service the incoming flight. When the pilot disembarked, he also had a story to tell. Midway had filed for bankruptcy he said. The pilot had been furloughed.
Upon entering the airport ramp area, there's a gate with a turnstile. In order to enter, one must first swipe their card and enter a code. With the correct code a green light comes on, the turnstile unlocks, and this individual is allowed to enter. The pilot alerted Jacobs that if his SIDA (secured identification display area) card didn't work, his job had been terminated.
A small group of employees cautiously moved toward the gate, not knowing if their cards would work. When Jacobs swiped his card alarms went off and red lights began to flash. This is how he discovered he was no longer employed by Midway Airlines. Security guards appeared to escort the now former employees off of the premises. The stunned group went quietly, still spinning from what had just occurred.
The next morning, Jacobs and hundreds of other Midway employees traveled to Midway Airlines offices to turn in their cards and Midway belongings, feeling bitter and betrayed over the way they had discovered their sudden unemployed status. In Tim's instance, supervisors and a security guard greeted him at the door. One of the supervisors became upset when a fellow employee began to cry. They said how sorry they were, shook hands, and wished one another the best.
The icing on the cake was when these same supervisors handed Jacobs a paper from Midway, informing him of the bankruptcy. The first line read, "What about my unpaid wages? Under federal bankruptcy laws any unpaid wages will not be paid to you. Any checks that have not cleared the bank will not be honored by the bank."
As an ultimate slap in the face, Jacobs discovered that while he was working the night before, he had been clocked out at 10:30 pm, even though he had worked until 2 am.
Tim Jacobs is not prepared to take all of this lying down. He has established a website for former and current employees of Midway Airlines. He believes there is strength in numbers, and encourages folks to go to the website at http://midwayemployees.com and send in their contact information to receive information concerning future meetings for Midway employees.
As corporate America once again attempts to screw the working class, this is one group that is determined to go out fighting.
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