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Midway Fires 42 Employees After Sickout

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RALEIGH — A sickout by some employees atMidway Airlinesmay be giving them reason to feel sick. Nearly 40 employees have been fired because Midway says they broke the rules.

Forty-two employees all called in sick the day before Thanksgiving -- a job action that frosted Midway CEO Bob Ferguson.

"On the busiest travel day of the year, a number of people called in sick or failed to show at all without providing advice," he says. "They're now being disciplined."

Jed Quaranta was one of the fired employees.

"They told me I had called in sick a couple of times and said I was abusing my sick time," he says. "They let me go."

Early in November, Midway caught word of the sickout. The company posted a letter to employees telling them that a job action was illegal during contract negotiations. Baggage handlers are hammering out their first-ever union contract, and employees close to the negotiations say it has been a bumpy ride.

"It's not really an easy job, it's a very physical job, and the main issue is that we feel we're really underpaid," Quaranta says. He thinks the firings were unwarranted, saying that it is company policy to notify employees before firing them.

Ferguson says he is just trying to run a tight ship.

"You're supposed to come to work," he says. "You're supposed to do your job."

Twelve ramp employees were fired Thursday, and 13 are scheduled to be fire next week.