UAL-UAX Concerns

Boz

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I know guys are going to critisize this and it has been debated a million times, but I quite concerened how this is all going to play out in the next couple of years as we try to get back to profitability.

Now I realize they are here and they are not going to go away. My concern lies with how they are going to play a role in the coming months and beyond. We have almost 600 guys furloughed and they are not going to return it appears anytime soon. Meanwhile the Express carriers are going to be keep taking delivery in big numbers. So what is the chances of of losing more cities and routes to the RJ. I hope we are not going to see more reductions for our mainline flying and hand it over to the RJ and then take it back again when times are good again. Just thinking out loud and wanted to get some thoughts on this recent article I read today.


United, ALPA Agreement Postpones Scope Grievances ...

Dec 03, 2001 (Commuter/Regional Airline News/PBI Media via COMTEX) -- It appears that United Airlines has reached a temporary deal with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) concerning the level of flying United has turned over to its regional partners. ALPA has agreed to drop its two grievances until March.

One grievance argued that under the scope clause in United's pilot contract, it should not be able to use regional jets to fly any routes because mainline jet numbers had fallen below an agreed threshold. In the other greivance, ALPA said United did not follow the correct procedure when it turned over some Los Angeles routes to its regional partners.

A recent ALPA memo to its members states that: "Following two days of mediation last week, an agreement was reached ... with the company, which is intended to provide an opportunity between now and March 1, 2002, for the parties to jointly address the underlying issues confronting us. Specifically, ALPA has agreed to hold in abeyance until then its challenges to the reductions in flying already made, including the furloughs, which occurred in October, and the continued operation of RJs by United. Additionally, United has agreed to refrain from any further furloughs prior to that date."


Great for the guys about to be furloughed in JAN and FEB, but then what we just push it back to MAR 2002 and then furlough them, what kind of comprimise are we going to arrive at with the UAX carriers.........maybe get furloughed guys to fly them.....Doubt it!

-Boz
 

Andy

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I think that it's best to keep this discussion in-house. Go to UAL ALPA Compuserve forum.
You may want to read the contract in relation to BIRR.
 

Boz

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Andy,

That is great if I just wanted to hear UAL guys opion on this. But I would like to hear what UAX guys are thinking on the subject. The scope issue effects both UAL and UAX. Unfortunately they cannot respond on that site.

Boz
 

canyonblue

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Well as an Express pilot, I can tell you what I am thinking on the subject. Last year UAL signed a contract with you guys and I would expect them to do one of three things.

1) Honor it.

2) Ignore it.

3) Have the MEC sign a side letter in which I hope you guys would get something in return for scope language not being followed.

In case many pilots did not know, in December 2000 ACA signed a 10-year agreement with UAL. This new agreement was a fee-per-departure based contract that essentially gave TOTAL control of ACA flying to UAL. ACA furloughed 300 employees who worked in marketing (UAL now does it) and revenue accounting (we no longer sell tickets). After Dec '00 we started flying to places ACA would never have gone. But now that UAL owns ALL of the seats, they assume the risk. A preset fee is set for each route and if we have 1 pax or 50 we make the same amount of money. Of course if the flights are fuller UAL will reap a bigger payoff. I have spoken with many UAL pilots regarding Express flying and have seen many different views. Some do not like it at all and many just are worried about there not being a UAL to worry about. When thing turn around and some of the routes we fly with 15-30 pax start to fill up, I would expect the flying to go back to UAL. If the market bears more seats they would be foolish not to increase ASM's. The RJ cannot make the same seatmile cost as the 737 with more pax. The flying belongs to UAL and just as they give it to us, they can take it away. This has happened before in BDL,TPA,MKE. I support UAL pilots wanting to pressure scope language, it's in your contract and should be addressed now. And when I have told some UAL pilots this they sometimes say they are more concerned about UAL staying afloat. Good luck UAL this is a tough time in this business and decisions made now affect you in the future now more than ever. It was either the best choice, or the worst. Time will tell.
 

Marko Ramius

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Good post canyonblue. My thoughts are as follows. The whole shift of mainline flying to regionals was coming anyway pre-9/11. Our pilot group(UAL) as a whole simply does not understand the UAX system. When I saw the contract last year, I told anybody who would listen that there would be huge flying shifts in the coming years, but all I heard was that it's all tied to growth, BIRR tests, etc, etc. When that contract was signed, I would hazard a guess to say that there were between 30-40 RJ's in the Express system-nine at Air Wis and the rest at ACA. While that excludes the Bac jets, that's not a lot of RJ's compared to how many Contract 2000 allowed. The replacement turboprop portion of the contract alone, allowed the company to pull mainline flying down to a minimum and still get another 210 RJ's. Very few people seem to understand that loophole in the contract. The growth portion was never intended to be used on its own-that growth was to be built in with the UsAirways deal. That was part of the reason that for that convuluted deal to sell the UsAirways wholly-owneds to ACA. The fine print in that deal said that upon the closing of that sale, the wholly-owneds would sign United Express agreements(probably folded under ACA's umbrella). That would subject them to the terms of United's pilot agreement and not UsAirways allowing for more RJ's. I know the PPP put some limits on that, but there was nothing in it to stop United from transferring a wholly owned route to ACA and using one of their RJ's on it. Anyway, the bottom line is that United was intending to pull down flying to contractual mins prior to 9/11 and they are continuing with that plan, the difference is that they are violating the contract to do it and putting people on the street. That's a tougher pill to swallow. It's one thing to say that because of reduced growth, I'm going to be in this fleet/seat longer than I thought and quite another to be out of job while a route you flew is being flown by an affiliate carrier that won't even offer you an interview because you're a furloughee and if they did would make you resign your UAL seniority. I think there are solutions on both the managerial and union side of things that could get us through it, but am pretty convinced that they won't occur. Instead, we'll likely end up with some weak permutation of the current situation and division among us.
 

canyonblue

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Marko Ramius said:
The replacement turboprop portion of the contract alone, allowed the company to pull mainline flying down to a minimum and still get another 210 RJ's. Very few people seem to understand that loophole in the contract.
Yes a bad loophole and I don't care to see UAL management pulling a scam. The 1 for 1 replacement seems fine till you find out that replacing a turboprop that cruises at 290 kts with the range of a Daisy Air Rifle (yes I flew it so I can say it) with a Jet that cruises at .80 and can cruise at 41,000 with a range of 1,600 miles, its looks like a shell game that management wins. I support you guys wholeheartedly as a contract is a contract is a contract. UAL management only seems interested in the parts that work good for them.
 

AWACoff

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What about the mainline guys giving lectures and generally chewing out the UAX jumpseaters. We aren't the ones making the decisions about where to fly. Take your beef up with your management. So much for being in this together...
 

Blasted

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WOW! That's TOTALLY uncalled for it's true. That makes me mad just hearing about that. Guys on the mainline are actually CHEWING other UAX guys out when they jumpseat? Let me say this, I have flown with quite a few guys, and everytime that we had jumpseaters I recall that we were always more than friendly. It's been my view that this is one area where pretty much everyone agrees...the jumpseat is a fantastic privilege and I've never heard of anyone not respecting that. But that's not to say that it doesn't happen I guess, as you've apparently found out. The jumpseat code is always to be friendly and gracious when jumping, and be friendly and helpful when giving. I'm sorry that you've experienced something different. Better luck next time.
 

Marko Ramius

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canyonblue said:


Yes a bad loophole and I don't care to see UAL management pulling a scam. The 1 for 1 replacement seems fine till you find out that replacing a turboprop that cruises at 290 kts with the range of a Daisy Air Rifle (yes I flew it so I can say it) with a Jet that cruises at .80 and can cruise at 41,000 with a range of 1,600 miles, its looks like a shell game that management wins. I support you guys wholeheartedly as a contract is a contract is a contract. UAL management only seems interested in the parts that work good for them.
The real problem with this is that ALPA intended for this section to be used to allow the UAX carriers to upgrade their turboprops on their pre-contract 2000 routes(i.e FAT-PSP or IAD-ORF). Anything else was intended to be tied to mainline growth, but they failed to "freeze" the UAX carrier routes. In other words, those replacement aircraft should have been limited solely to previous turboprop routes. In the absence of such langauge, the company has allowed UAX carriers to reduce frequency or in some case drop previous turboprop routes and introduce "replacement" RJ/SJ/CJ's on routes like LAX-SJC or LAX-PHX. Additionally, UAL ALPA didn't specify that an individual company had to replace a turboprop with an RJ, the contract said that they could replace turboprops in the UAX FLEET with RJ's. This was the cherry, since Great Lakes' 48 1900's and Brasillia's were included in the UAX "fleet" when Contract 2000 was signed. Therefore, UAL could dump Lakes, replace those 48 aircraft with RJ's and allow another carrier(mostly likely a combination of Air Wis and Skywest) to keep up to 48 extra turboprops around. I wonder how long before any one in UAL ALPA figures that one out. I'm not holding my breath, I told one MEC officer about it, and he barely understood what the contract said, let alone who Great Lakes and what their aircraft had to do with this snow job.
 

Marko Ramius

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AWACoff said:
What about the mainline guys giving lectures and generally chewing out the UAX jumpseaters. We aren't the ones making the decisions about where to fly. Take your beef up with your management. So much for being in this together...
The lectures about doing your job are uncalled for, I'm sorry if any of people gave you one. It mostly likely originates in a lack of understanding of the UAX carriers and our contract, but it's still uncalled for. I have no beef with those carriers for doing their job. The only beef I have is with ALPA carriers who are hiring and their MEC's haven't stepped to the plate to try and help their furloughed bretheren get jobs. In particular, after all of ALPA stepped up with strike assesments for Comair, how can their MEC sit there and say nothing when their management has said that they won't even interview major airline furloughees? I'm not saying that they or any other regional MEC could change management's mind, but at this point it doesn't even look like tried to help or even send out a letter of support. I know UAL hasn't recieved even that-perhaps someone should send Comair's MEC a copy of their "thanks for the support" letter that they sent us after their strike, and a copy of our letter to stating that they would get preferential slots if we started interviewing again. This is a principle thing, it has nothing to do with whether or not we would actually resign, it's just the right thing to do. The UAX carriers haven't begun hiring again so I don't include them in my commentary above, but if they follow suit whenever they do hire again(after furloughees or course) I will have the same opinion of their local unions as well. Skywest excluded since they aren't ALPA, and therefore have no precedent
 

Andy

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AWACoff said:
What about the mainline guys giving lectures and generally chewing out the UAX jumpseaters. We aren't the ones making the decisions about where to fly. Take your beef up with your management. So much for being in this together...

AWACoff, you're using the exception as the rule. I've had a ton of jumpseaters from just about every carrier out there pre and post-911, and I have NEVER seen one get any type of lecture from pilots or FAs. And that includes USAirways pilots jumpseating during the acrimonious proposed buyout days.
Come to think of it, I can't recall a single time where we've touched on sensitive subjects, except for when an AAL pilot was on the jumpseat (pre 911), discussing the AAL/TWA seniority merge. We allowed him to vent without engaging him in confrontational debate.
AWACoff, please give specifics of incidents. Not to say that they don't occur, but there are a LOT of pilots who jumpseat on UAL without any problem. And believe me, I fully understand that we have more than a couple of jackarses here at UAL. I've had the pleasure of flying with more than one of them, as I'm sure that you've had the pleasure of flying with one or two at AWAC.
 

AWACoff

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The instances occured when we picked up a bunch of flying out of LAX. I certainly see both sides of the coin. United is furloughing and suddenly giving LAX flying to UAX. Yes, that seems wrong but there isn't anything the line guys can do about it. I apologize if I have stirred up a hornets nest.
 

JetLee

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Marko Ramius

On the Comair issue. Message received. please,wait....out!
 

JetLee

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Marko,

The very subject you mention about Comair pilots including a direct quote from you is posted on the Comair ALPA messageboard. It lead into a rather lengthy discussion. The general consensus seems to be that Comair pilots want to be as loyal to UAL pilots as they were to us during the strike. No one has heard anything about intentionally not hiring furloughed UAL pilots. On the other hand rumor has it that Comair won’t hire furloughed Delta pilots because that has what has been dictated down from Delta mainline management. Apparently Delta doesn’t want to absorb the cost of training DAL mainline pilots into the RJ, just to have to re-train them in their previous mainline equipment 6 months down the road. They want to hire folks that come with plans on sticking around a while instead. The “virtual” Comair management has very little to do with running this airline. If you don’t believe me do a stock symbol lookup for Comair. Doesn’t exist anymore. Guess who calls all the shots now.

Now I’ll insert my personal opinion. My guess is if a UAL furloughee decided to interview with Comair, they would fair quite well upon forfeiting their UAL seniority. Not much chance of that happening anyway. Unfortunately, a DAL pilot wouldn’t even get an interview. Believe me, if the pilots were doing the hiring that would be a very different story.

Now I send you all my personal “thanks for your support” letter. Yes, I do remember the burden all the other ALPA pilots had to bare in the form of strike assessment checks. It kept my family fed. I wish I had the power to change things. You guys are my hero’s. I don’t have much to offer you in return for all that you’ve done for us, but a fuloughee is at least welcome to some of my “friends and family passes” (=UAL Companion passes) on Delta if they need them at the very least. I’m sure most other Comair pilots would as well. If I didn’t live in a closet right now, I would welcome them in my home too.

JetLee
Comair/FO/CVG
(also son of a UAL retiree)
 

Boz

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United may seek RJ deferrals at codeshare partners
Tuesday December 18, 2001

United Airlines may ask its United Express codeshare partners, including Atlantic Coast Airlines and SkyWest, to defer deliveries of regional jets intended for UA codeshare operations, according to UBS Warburg analyst Jamie Baker.

United previously approached its Regional partners about achieving rate reductions under their fee-for-departure contracts and a second round of negotiations is underway, according to Baker. SkyWest and Atlantic Coast did not return calls seeking comment in time to be included in this report.
According to Baker, the thinking is that United's pilots are unlikely to agree to contract concessions unless RJ flying by codeshare partners is reduced in 2002. Earlier the Air Line Pilots Assn. demanded that United drastically cut RJ flying in line with its 26% reduction in mainline capacity after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Boz
 

1900laker

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Sorry,

But I have to echo what AWACoff said in previous posts.

I jumpseated for a year back and forth to Denver on United. Now I greatly appreciate getting that free ride and for the most part, the pilots I rode with were great. But on more than one occassion, I was spoken to about how the mainline jobs were suffering because of regional and commuter guys like great lakes pilots. Granted, GLA was much less of a target in these rants as AWAC, ACA, and Skywest, but nonetheless, we were still mentioned. I think it is sad when you are jumpseating, and introduce yourself to the crew, and they ask who you work for, to follow your response up with something like "sorry to hear that"
or "Great Mistakes, huh!". It is unprofessional and discourteous as hell.

While I worked at Great Lakes, I remember carrying vast amounts of jumpseaters from small cities where we were the only carrier serving that airport/area. And yes that included United Pilots as well. The point is that while I appreciated the lift when I was riding, it was a reciprocal agreement. And I never made poor comments to any of my jumpseaters.

If it had happened only once, I would not be posting this. It happened several times over the course of a year. But as I said before, the vast majority were friendly crews who I enjoyed jumpseating with. I just felt that AWACoff needed a little backing since I and others have seen this happen also.
 

flyermon

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UAL guys will get what they want. RJ deferals at UAX and any job openings there too.
 

Boz

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1900Laker,

Your post is an everyday story! Major's carry jumpseaters of all airlines in a reciprocal agreement. What I am trying to figure out is why you are posting this issue here other than your support for AWAC.

You stated:
I think it is sad when you are jumpseating, and introduce yourself to the crew, and they ask who you work for, to follow your response up with something like "sorry to hear that"
or "Great Mistakes, huh!". It is unprofessional and discourteous as hell.

Yes this is unprofessional, and I agree with you. But as a current jumpseater you should realize that the crew is required to ask who you work for and verify your identity. As far as the GLA comment that is quite rude. I can tell you I know and work with many wonderful pilots from GLA and others. The "GREAT MISTAKES" comment comes from many Lakers who have made it to the major and share there horror stories of working there. It is this preception that formulates this type of comment.

I realize that many commuters treat there employees with very little respect as they see them as a stepping stone to someplace better. But I can also share many stories of these pilots that appear to be no better then UAL crew in making inappropriate comments of there carrier. Obviously they have a terrible story to share and it comes up in the course of the flight. In fact, many times I will steer the conversation to another subject since they have such hatefull comments to share. As far as UAL guys I can tell you we have pilots that are no different than any other airline and make the mistakes of saying unprofessional comments.

Good for you that you do not folow this practice, but I still can't see what this has to do with the UAL - UAX post. I can tell you I have jumpseated on GLA and these comments are unfortunate, but they are a fact. It is going to happen. While riding on Eagle not to long ago, this came up while riding in an EMB RJ and the Captain was visibly upset at AA. So again, there is no perfect cockpit, and you will have to just tough it out during the course of your ride.

So maybe share a more positive experience/story with a crew like the one you encounterd at UAL that would make them realize that GLA wasn't all that bad. I am sure they are not all bad stories and you could educate an ignorant crew. But the fact is that GLA pilots have done this to themselves and this comment will cease if we hear that they are GLA the "greatest little airline" remember that one. I have said that to GLA pilots and they laugh at me. I do see there service and commitment to the the transportation industry as quite important. Plus, they are the only carrier that might serve grandma's farm or rural town.

All in all they are a great group of professionals and I look forward to flying with many more of them.

Boz
 

Marko Ramius

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flyermon said:
UAL guys will get what they want. RJ deferals at UAX and any job openings there too.
It's by no means guaranteed what will happen on either side of the coin in this situation. If RJ deferals occur, it's because United's management decide to completely ignore its pilot contract when reducing its fleet. Other carriers have reduced and furloughed, but they haven't violated their minimum fleet or ASM minimums, so while it's uncomfortable for all involved, it's still legal so far. UAL chose to ignore the contract, and it's looks like they will have pay some sort of consequence down the line. Those RJ's were agreed to based on a minimum mainline fleet, so it's only fair that some adjustments occur now that the fleet size has been changed. As far as hiring goes, I don't think any of the carriers are hiring right now, and even if they were I don't think they will be interviewing any of us UAL furloughees. I don't think we deserve to take any jobs away from current(including furloughed) UAX pilots, but I do feel that we should have the right to compete for for any future openings. If an agreement is reached that allows the UAX carriers the ability to continue to grow and allows UA to compete in the RJ game, I don't think UAL furloughees at the bottom of the list is too heavy a price to pay for that. Their training costs are already rolled into the cost-plus contracts, so those carriers are monetarily covered for any future recalls. They prosper, we prosper, there are worse things.
 

1900laker

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Boz,

Fair enough. You're right that this has very little to do with the original post. But I felt AWACoff was taking some heat from some of the other posters, and I wanted to back up his side a little, from someone who came through the commuter route.

It is difficult to put into words on a board like this the way someone expresses an idea to you. I can assure you though that I know the difference between those giving you a friendly nudge with the elbow about where you work, and those that are condescending. I saw this seldom while jumping on United, but much more seldom over the past year while working at Champion and Jumping on Northwest, which has a similar relationship as many mainline and regional pairs do. But I digress.

This all off the topic of your post, so I will bow out of the conversation now.
 
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