On August 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% of their union and outsource their jobs. 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 battle, Roy and his daughter Melissa (co-director of The Red Tail with Dawn Mikkelson) set on a journey to meet the worker to whom Roy’s job was outsourced in China. The journey provides a renewed sense of purpose for Roy, and while Melissa wants to get answers to his plight, her determination as a filmmaker is always tempered by her love as a daughter. The film interweaves Roy and Melissa’s search for connection in China with the premeditated downfall of Northwest Airlines. This downfall serves a vibrant example of the dangers of our current economic system, and casts a spotlight on the future of the working class.