RJDC Points and Counterpoints....

skydiverdriver

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Point and Counterpoints IV

March 3, 2002


Myth: The litigation prevents ALPA from addressing the problems at Delta.

Truth: Litigation (which is nothing more than an unadjudicated dispute) does not prevent solutions to the dispute.

At US Airways, ALPA is not "restrained" by ongoing litigation; while the number of furloughed pilots surpasses the 1000 mark, ALPA has chosen to "protect" the mainline by demanding that hundreds of new aircraft be sub-contracted and restricted. In addition, ALPA has demanded that its "regional" members agree to grant special seniority and employment rights to mainline pilots as a precondition to any future US Airways "small jet" code-sharing agreement. In other words, ALPA believes that it’s better to furlough 1000 pilots and ignore the rights of its "regional" members rather than allow the "wrong" airliner to fly at mainline.
The pending litigation should, actually, provide an impetus to ALPA to search for solutions to the ongoing problem, rather than impede solutions. The plaintiffs have repeatedly indicated they are ready, willing, and eager to participate in any process designed to search for solutions. This remains an open invitation. We hope that the invitation will be accepted. Ideally, the litigation may be seen as an opportunity, rather than a problem; it is not the litigation that caused the problem; the litigation merely spotlighted an existing, long-standing, and worsening problem.


Myth: The ASA and Comair pilots are opposed to scope.

Truth: All contracts need good scope.

The ASA and Comair pilots have informed ALPA in person and in writing that, "Scope is the glue that binds management to your labor agreement. No scope, no contract."
ASA and Comair pilots must face the challenge of both the vertical and horizontal whipsaw. Management can move routes and flying from Delta Connection to mainline, and, between the five airlines in its Delta Connection "Portfolio."


Myth: The RJ is "stealing" flying and causing the furloughs.

Truth: New more-efficient aircraft will always replace older less-efficient aircraft.

The "replacement" of old jets with newer, more efficient ones is the normal renewal process of the airline fleets. It is an essential process that must continue in good times, and in bad, if the airline is to survive. For example, no one at mainline feels that 727 flying has been "stolen" by the 737-800, nor do they question the need to replace the venerable L-1011's with new efficient 767's.
The loss of flying is occurring because the union falsely believes the "small jet" to be a threat to the traditional mainline pay structure. Consequently, the union has mistakenly "regionalized" the small jet and made deals with management to keep it off the mainline property in an effort to restrict its number and operation. Unfortunately for the mainline pilots, when the Delta MEC pushed the RJ off the property, the jobs it created went with it.


Myth: The Delta scope works, it's just that management is violating it.

Truth: The Delta scope is fundamentally flawed because it encourages the formation of alter-ego companies, relies on archaic and ill-defined concepts, and ignores ALPA’s legal obligations to the ASA and Comair pilots.

Long before Delta's new "industry leading" scope was negotiated, the ASA and Comair pilots warned ALPA's leadership that the Delta MEC's proposed scope would not work and would create an irreconcilable conflict of interest.
"Mainline" is a memory from a bygone era and "feeder" is little more than a function of the heading indicator. Such roles don’t really exist in the modern marketplace yet ALPA remains insistent on imposing these archaic terms as part of its unwise attempt to control the marketplace with a labor agreement.
Both ALPA and the Delta MEC refused to heed those warnings and the result was a scope clause that did not last 90 days, and, if enforced, would harm "mainline" and "regional" pilots alike.
While "mainline" pilots are indeed being harmed by current events, such harm does not justify abrogation of the union's legal obligations and imposition of ill-conceived and ill-gotten scope at the expense of the ASA and Comair pilots.


Myth: ALPA must protect itself from the RJ’s sub-standard pay rates.

Truth: Nearly all RJ’s fly at union pay scales and union work rules negotiated by ALPA

Since ALPA has negotiated nearly every RJ pay rate in existence, ALPA itself has "regionalized" the RJ and established an "industry rate" and "union" work rules. To say that predatory mainline scope is a necessary defense mechanism is disingenuous at best. As with ALPA’s failed "war" against the "new" two-man airliners in the 60’s, short-term politics, not legitimate economic factors drive much of ALPA’s domestic scope policy.


Myth: The "force majeure" grievance will bring back the lost jobs and the furloughed pilots.

Truth: A labor contract cannot force the company to fly empty aircraft or create jobs where none exist.

Many of the older 737-200’s and 727’s have left the property and cannot be brought back.
Pilot employment is inexorably linked to profitable flights. If there is insufficient passengers to fill a "mainline" aircraft, then all pilots will be harmed by creating artificial pressures to operate money-losing flights.
Even if the Delta MEC "wins" on a legal point, market realities will most likely compel the MEC to use the favorable ruling as bargaining capital to stave off other concessions.


Myth: Recent events caught ALPA by surprise.

Truth: ALPA was repeatedly warned in writing that the Delta MEC's scope plans would not work:

"Every industry forecast indicates that ASA and Comair combined will exceed 500 jet aircraft and 5,000 pilots. What problems await the 'mainline' pilots when 40% of Delta's pilots don't belong to 'their' union?"
"If ALPA would adopt inclusive scope language rather than exclusive or restrictive scope, then domestic scope clauses would become inherently simple and easier to enforce."
"By permitting 'wholly-owned' operations, ALPA has given management what they have always wanted, a divided list."
- ASA-Comair One-ALPA proposal, July 16, 2000

"Management will play one 'union' against the other."
"If ALPA allows separatist attitudes within its ranks to prevail, its collective strength at Delta, and the rest of the airline industry is in serious doubt. The pain borne by the Association in relearning these lessons will be entirely and inexplicably self-inflicted."
- ASA-Comair Presentation to ALPA’s Executive Board, August 16, 2000

"How can any pilot group bargain effectively when disuniting 'mainline' scope clauses encourage management to form 'regional' alter egos?"
"Good scope prevents the formation of alter-ego airlines, which are used by management to circumvent the contract's provisions and to undermine the collective bargaining power of the union."
"Disuniting scope undermines the collective bargaining power of all pilots."
"Management cannot be coerced into purchasing aircraft it cannot afford or doesn't need."
- Presentation to ALPA’s Bilateral Scope Impact Committee, August 14, 2001

"In the wake of Delta's announcement to reduce capacity by 15 percent and to furlough as many as 1700 mainline pilots, it is obvious, especially to those who will lose their jobs, that ALPA's current mainline scope clauses harm 'mainline' and 'regional' pilots alike."
- Letter to ALPA’s President, September 27, 2001



Myth: ALPA is simply acting in the best interests of mainline pilots.

Truth: Short term-politics, not a long-term vision, has driven ALPA’s decision making.

When the ASA and Comair MEC’s first asked about the Delta MEC’s scope plans, the answer was "We’ll give you enough advance notice to do damage control."
Despite overwhelming recent evidence that predatory scope does not work, the Delta MEC continues to pursue the same strategy as if different results could be expected.
Virtually every industry analyst has concluded that a competitive fleet mix including "small jets" is critical to the growth and success of major airlines, yet ALPA continues to insist they are not "real airliners" and that they should be sub-contracted and restricted.
There is no such thing as "approved aircraft types" as the Delta scope clause pretends; there are only "ALPA approved" alter ego airlines.
Absent mainline scope, Delta’s RJ flying will create more than 4,000 pilot jobs. Thanks to the new "industry leading" mainline scope, that job growth may never be realized and what new jobs are created
 

ifly4food

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