In one of the most bizarre videos I’ve seen, the Alaska Airlines Chief Operating Officer appears to be inspecting the uniforms of a group of picketing pilots. What was she doing?
Alaska Airlines COO Appears To Conduct Pilot Uniform Inspection
Back in my Air Force days, we’d have periodic uniform inspections. We’d stand at attention and have our dress and appearance closely scrutinized. If my hair was not neatly trimmed, I was dinged. If there was a lose string on my uniform, I was dinged. My shirt and pants had to be pressed and my gig line (the alignment of the seam of the uniform shirt, belt buckle, and uniform trouser fly-seam) had to be straight. Shoes had to be polished and ribbons and name tag aligned. Eyes had to remain directed forward with no movement, even if the inspector got into your face.
It appears that picketing pilots at Alaska Airlines received a similar uniform inspection by one of their own executives.
Now I cannot tell exactly what Constance Von Muehlen was doing, but it certainly looks like she is performing a uniform inspection of pilots. Von Muehlen is Alaksa’s Chief Operating Officer and was in New York City to speak at an event. Alaska Airlines pilots, who are negotiating for a new contract, decided to picket the event.
I don’t think it is fair to say she was just reading the signs. Instead, she appears to look the pilots in the eye, almost as if to stare them down.
Whether she was inspecting their dress or trying to intimidate the pilots is not clear, but it merits mentioning that Von Muhlen was Captain in the U.S. Army and a Black Hawk helicopter pilot earlier in her career.
It’s all starting to make sense.
Upon her appointment to COO, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci noted:
“Constance is a deeply trusted leader who brings out the best in people. She unlocks the potential of each individual to drive a solution-oriented team approach. Constance has an impressive ability to manage complexity, simplify systems and see around corners to meet the future demands of our business. As we welcome guests back to the skies following the COVID-19 crisis, I can’t think of a better person to oversee our recovery.”
But I’m not sure this bizarre spectacle is going to build much respect, let alone trust.
As discussion between Alaska Airlines and its pilots turns bitter, “General” Von Muehlen’s inspection certainly raises eyebrows. I’m not sure what she was trying to accomplish, but having spoken to some pilots about this, she will not win allies through such antics.