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.
I think this is pretty cool of her. She’s all like, “If you are gonna picket in uniform, you’d better be within regs!”
What you fail to realize is that she’s not in a pilot’s reporting structure. She has no more authority over how a pilot dresses than the man on the moon.
Pretty sexist. It could be sexual harassment. Can you imagine a guy doing this to a bunch of women?
Stop female hypocrisy. Equal rights for men. Make women pay their fair share. Down with female misogyny.
And yet, what comes to my mind is that scene from the movie “In the Army Now” with Pauly Shore when the Drill Sergeant was doing the barracks inspection and he purposefully disheveled his Gig Line. “How’s my gig line Drill Sergeant!”
Didn’t see it.
Or, maybe she is thanking each one for their service. The nod when she speaks to each suggest more than an inspection. Clearly manipulation by the pilot union, and this author, to frame this interaction in a negative light.
Of all the stupid “articles” you write, this has to be the dumbest. She clearly doesn’t even look at their uniforms. And since you have no idea what she’s saying, maybe you don’t need to comment. But if your “articles” needed a point, you’d have no blog. I don’t know why Google thinks I want to read your nonsense. ♂️
Don’t be mad. The guy is obviously right; no uniform inspection going on here, and anyone who actually watches the video will see that.
PS – Stop culturally appropriating Friday’s lines, Carlton Banks.
Sorry Weezy, but I watched the video and came to a very different conclusion, as did the pilot who shared it with me. Thanks for your comment, though.
She had enough respect to say something to every one of those standing in line. I don’t know what she said and I suspect if it was something smarmy we would have heard from those pilots. Another COO would have probably snuck around the line to avoid confrontation. Not sure who to support in this as I don’t have all the details but I sense I respect her Decision to have the guts to speak to each of them. .
She’s no Sgt. Hulka, that’s for sure.
“Now I cannot tell exactly what Constance Von Muehlen was doing…”
Truer words never written. You’re reading way too much into this. It looks like she’s simply walking along the picket line and greeting each pilot. Hardly a demanding military review. Sure maybe it was to make her presence known….but to assume it’s an act of intimidation/inspection is way unfounded speculation.
After years of working with the military, enlisted and officers, I can safely say some are excellent, some ok, and some are wacko nut jobs.
With a name like that it seems she was born 75 years too late.
She was straight up trying to intimidate these pilots based on her title and status. What a horrible look for Alaska air. She should be ashamed and slapped.
It’s a bad look. But some badly needed context could be had if we knew what she was saying.
No where in the article does it say that the author actually asked her what she was doing…so maybe instead of Bizarre, it should be called a Mystery.
Weird! Really Weird!
Alaska airlines is so cheap, they could not even get their pilots all the same uniform, now 5 years after the merger. They tried ,but did not include the union. It is in the pilots CBA though that they have to be included in discussions about a new outfit! They could have bought all the virgin pilots a new set, but as mentioned, too cheap! So all pilots wear different uniform pieces….
Labor versus management. The games go both ways and she’s playing the game. Rather silly of a COO to do this as it fully acknowledges their protest.
It’s respect. Look a person in the eye and move on. Most CEO’s ignore a picket line. She looked every man and woman in the eye. She’s also taking attendance. Alaskan Airlines is small enough to remember. Well done.
Without knowing if she said anything at all, It would be nice if she simply acknowledged their frustration! A company and union should work together for the common goal of beating the competition! Happy employees at every level will assure that “their company” succeeds!
Looked everyone in the eye. Dumb take on a noble thing. Union busting at it’s best, COO saying “I care” more likely than “you’re inspected”.
Foolish article, click bait. You’re turning into the Jerry Springer of travel blogs.
“Noble” thing? What an assumption!
I don’t know or care what she thinks she’s doing, but she clearly is NOT doing what a COO should be doing.
I will avoid Alaska Airlines until I hear that this kind of activity has been snuffed out.
Whether it was a uniform inspection or not is kind of irrelevant.
What is clear, though, is that it was a not a friendly moment. It certainly appeared similar to a senior officer inspecting their troops. I think that was Matthew’s real point here.
Try doing that with United Mine Workers, or Meat packers from early turn of the century. She wouldn’t be around anymore.
I honestly don’t see this as a uniform inspection. She glances at each of them, and even nods while (inaudibly) saying something to them. As if she was acknowledging them, an “I see you” kinda thing. Some nod back to acknowledge her, and others just stare straight ahead not wanting to engage, but it’s not her who gives any of them “the stare”. This is just how I perceive the video, not having a military background myself.
Did you reach out to her, and ask her what she said? Seems like this could be pretty damaging for her, and the airline, if this article is released, and isnt researched. If someone was angry enough, defamatory claims could be brought up.
Dont make up shit, like Alex Jones!
She was in the military, pilots were standing at attention in an open ranks inspection formation, what do you expect her to do. Bizarre really; who running the strike what is really bizarre, no military service for sure, should have all done a about face as she approached each pilot.