Under Review: ‘The Red Tail’


With today’s world-wide economical crisis, everyone has a story to tell. Look around — your neighbors, the people walking around you, the ones driving down the street — they are all struggling with the stress of debt, and with the worry of what lies ahead. No one’s job is secure anymore. No one is indispensable.

For instance, as of right now, I’m the only member of my family who has a job. My brother and his wife are unemployed, so is my mother. My dad just got laid off with only four months to retire. He was a machinist, with more than 40 years of experience. Very sad. Yet, it is happening all around. No one can be absolutely sure that they will be spared.

This is a good time to talk about the movie “The Red Tail.” It is a documentary, and a heartfelt real life story, but at the same time, it contains a resonance of truth that must not remain unheard. Corporate injustices like the ones detailed in this informative presentation are facts that must not be ignored. Yes, “The Red Tail” is a real eye opener in more ways than one.

The events: “On Aug. 19, 2005, Roy Koch, along with 4,400 airline mechanics, custodians and cleaners, went on strike against Northwest Airlines, the fourth largest airline in the world. Northwest, otherwise known as “The Red Tail” by its employees, wanted to lay off 53 percent of their union and outsource their jobs.”

When Koch went on strike in an attempt to keep his job from being outsourced overseas, little did he know he would embark on a journey that would change his life and everything he thought he knew. These are tough times, and getting let go from your job for no reason is something very hard for many to live with. Accepting dismisal when you are exceeding expectations and didn’t deserve it is not easy to digest.

“What followed was a 444-day strike that would end with 4,000 union members out of work, including Roy. Instead of being left in the wake of this ‘losing battle,’ Roy and his daughter Melissa (Koch, co-director of “The Red Tail” along with Dawn Mikkelson) decide to follow Roy’s outsourced job to China.” The Koch family then discovered that some people have it even worse than they do.

Their journery to a non-democratic country gave them further appreciation for other freedoms that we do enjoy here. Like freedom of speech. Mr. Koch was the head of the strike group for the mechanics. He often spoke openly about the bitter situation that was occuring, and stood up and represented his union. Yet, in that trip, they learned that other folks around the world do not enjoy these same liberties. Should they speak up, or complain, their very lives are in danger.

“The Red Tail” will bring you up to date with economic globalization issues that affected the Koch family and thousands more like them. It will give you intimate insight into globalization. As Mr. Koch says, “The Red Tail becomes increasingly relevant in the context of this economy as more and more U.S. workers lose jobs. The NWA mechanics story is powerful and cautionary, and begs the question, ‘What can the average person do in the face of globalization and outsourcing?'”

There are many families struggling with this worldwide issue. This a real story, told by a family that suffered its effects first hand. This movie will open your eyes.

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4 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    wow great article.. really thought provoking. Truthfully i don’t normally watch documentaries but this sounds like a really interesting and relevant one.

  2. bigge3021 #

    This documentary sounds interesting and important especially when it deals with job losses and how families are affected by it in United States and China. As always wonderful job on the article Josue.

  3. Bev #

    In 1975, when I was making 12k as a special education teacher (with a Masters degree) my sister-in-law, 2 years older without ed. past high school, was making 40k from Northwest. The unions had to be a factor in breaking that airline.

    HOWEVER,what concerns me more than NW is your family story related to the current economic crisis. Having a job is crucial in our identity, pride and survival. I am really hoping some miracles happen soon that will help them out.

  4. Josue Sanchez #

    just read your comment Bev. Thank you so much. Still everyone is out of work. My brother started his own website (3D architectural stuff)and has gotten a couple of projects to do. this is great, but not anywhere near to make a living, 🙁 Everyone else is desperately job hunting…to no avail. thanks again for your concern.

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