Sun Country finds people don’t want to work for low wages

Marty Moylan | MPR News file

In a small and rare victory for the working stiff, Sun Country Airlines, still in the process of becoming a cheap, no-frills operation, has found failure in its plan to get rid of its own employees in favor of outsourcing the jobs to people who’ll work for less pay and benefits.

The outsourcing company has found there aren’t enough people around here to work for peanuts, so it’s canceled its contract with the airline, the Star Tribune reports.

If there’s any justice in the world, it will beg the 350 ticketing agents, gate agents and wheelchair assistants to come back and save the airline that turned its back on them in May.

Alas, there is no justice. The company is going to find another outsourcing company.

Things got to be so bad that Sun Country asked its employees to volunteer at ticket counters and cleaning trash out of airplanes, the paper says.

“As you are aware, we are undergoing significant challenges with our airport operations at MSP,” Sun Country chief executive Jude Bricker wrote in an e-mail to employees. “Our vendor is experiencing staffing shortages and the resulting service issues are putting our brand and reputation at risk.”

That fault lies with Bricker, a former CEO of another no-frills airline, who has guided Sun Country from a hometown airline to one whose brand and reputation is increasingly in tatters in a trail of stranded customers, canceled flights, and lost luggage.

“There isn’t a lot of incentive for them to make sure people want to fly the airline again,” aviation consultant Michael Boyd tells the paper of the people hired for low wages to be the face of the airline.

Something’s going to have to give. There’s only so much rolling back of standards of living that people will take, especially in a good economy. And Sun Country still has to compete with other airlines who are stripping benefits and decent wages from workers. And who wants to pay more to fly an airline providing decent working conditions?

According to the company’s website, a seasonal ramp agent job and an airplane cleaning gig both pay $12.25 an hour. Experience preferred.