Making the global economy personal

ROY KOCH was an Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association member and a worker at Northwest Airlines. He never expected to one day become a travelling detective, investigating where his job went.

In 2005, 4,400 mechanics, custodians, and cleaners at Northwest Airlines went on strike. The company wanted to lay off 53 per cent of its union and outsource their jobs.

What followed was a 444-day strike that would end with 4,000 union members out of work as the company merged with Delta and many of its jobs were moved to China.

Angered and intrigued by this, Roy Koch travelled to China to ‘find his job’. He wanted to see what were the connections between China and the fall of Northwest Airlines. In the process he discovers the reality of the business world in the age of corporate globalisation and multi-national corporations.

All this is captured in the US documentary The Red Tail, which will receive its European premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh when it is screened at the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday July 11 at 5pm.

Filmmakers Melissa Koch and Dawn Mikkelson followed the airline mechanics from the picket line to the bread line as they lost their jobs to outsourcing. Koch and Mikkelson received unprecedented access in Hong Kong and Xiamen, China, two of the cities to which Northwest Airlines mechanic jobs were outsourced.

“The Koch family refuse to be silent pawns in the chess game of corporate globalisation,” says Dawn Mikkelson. “The Kochs want to have a say in their own future and the future of the global working class. The Red Tail looks at our economic system, and how it encourages CEOs and upper management to line their own pockets instead of caring for the heart of a company. It also shows the common struggles workers experience worldwide.”

Dawn Mikkelson and Melissa Koch will attend the screening. They will also participate in Directors in Dialogue: International Documentary Special at the Galway Film Fair on Sunday July 12 at 2.30pm in the Town Hall. Tickets contact 091 569777

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