Employee Ownership and Unions: Lessons from the Airline Industry  - CLEO Skip to main content


The U.S. airline industry has, in recent years, offered some conspicuous examples of a phenomenon that has now become familiar, both in the U.S. and abroad, among firms that face economic difficulties: the granting to employees of a substantial ownership stake in return for wage and work rule concessions necessary to maintain the firm’s viability. Jeffrey Gordon has given us a close look at these transactions, which he refers to as ‘transitional’ uses of employee ownership. Although he is not the first to examine the potential virtues of employee ownership in economically troubled firms, his analysis is particularly comprehensive and his discussion of the specific developments in the airline industry is uniquely thoughtful and well informed.