Union mindset

bobbysamd

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"B" scales and deregulation

Thanks, guys, for the corrections on dates and parties. I do believe that United had a "B" scale embroglio as well during that time. We also must include Carl Icahn among the opportunists of the time. Very similar, in many ways, to E.L. Cord in the '30s.

While I would hold fast to my theory that a conservative mood and bad times eroded much of the unions' clout, Enigma makes a point about deregulation. I see that more as a conservative concept, even though liberal Sen. Kennedy may have latched onto it. Conservatives want less government, fewer laws and fewer regulations governing our lives.

Just the same, having said all that, there's a place for the union. Pilots need to be represented to ensure companies treat them fairly and establish reasonable work rules, as well as proper pay.

It's not a perfect system, as Rvrrat points out. I go back to my example from the last discussion about grocery workers. Supermarkets where I live are union shops. Every employee has to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (formerly the Retail Clerks where I live). This is a strong union which negotiated a good agreement for its members. Good pay and benies for what really is semi-skilled work. Undoubtedly these items cost money, and the stores cannot pass them on entirely to consumers. So, what management does to skirt the contract is hire primarily part-time employees. They don't have to provide benefits to part-time employees. The irony of it, though, is these part-time workers still have to join the union! They are paying union dues and have to go on the lines if there is a strike, which there was here three years ago, but are still only part-time workers.

Unions are a complex subject. Once again, some course in American Labor Movement should be part of the flight training curriculum.
 

Draginass

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RJ Flyer - I would suspect that you and Dave would be happy to see the major unions self-destruct anyway, so let us.

How should worker be compensated? Should there even be a labor contract? I get the feeling that you and Dave think that pilots should be at will employees only.

I don't know about you, but I have a contract with my company whereby I provide services in return for predetermined compensation. It's in my best interest (to a point) to ensure that the company is profitable, thus I comply with my responsibilities under the company agreed to contract. In economic downturn, it's the company's right to furlough according to contract (and force majuere IS part of the contract - although the reasons for and degree and duration are subject to the labor courts). My labor is a fixed cost just like fuel and acft leases. Like the fuel and lease companies, if I (or rather union as a whole) feel it's in our own self-interest to do give-backs, so be it.

As far as business increases go, it is increasing according to the company and my own observations in flying packed airplanes, both narrow and wide bodies, domestic and international routes. 9/11 has accelerated the retirement of inefficient 727 whose capacity isn't needed right now. Yields are down granted, but I they'll follow up also as the year and economy progress.

I think the system works - not perfect, but probably as good as practically possible given the foibles self-interests of human beings. Five years from now we'll see. I'm confident that I'll still be flying for a major airline with a good contract, safe working conditions, and fair compensation. How about both of you guys?

I leave the doomsayers, defeatists, and union-haters to stew in their own misery and jelousy. In the meantime, I'm concentrating on getting my airline a full head of steam again, and getting my union brothers back to work - which is already happening.

Have a nice life. I will.
 

enigma

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Re: "B" scales and deregulation

bobbysamd said:


While I would hold fast to my theory that a conservative mood and bad times eroded much of the unions' clout, Enigma makes a point about deregulation. I see that more as a conservative concept, even though liberal Sen. Kennedy may have latched onto it. Conservatives want less government, fewer laws and fewer regulations governing our lives.

Dang right we need the union, however, we may disagree on why. But that's a different discussion.

About deregulation. You might be surprised to learn that most of the principals behind airline deregulation were liberal democrats and liberal academia. It's been a while since I read up on the issue, but some of the names I remember were: Ted Kennedy, Phil Bakes (spent time on the left side of watergate), John Robson (who recently died) Bill Clintons personal lawyer ( the guy who defended him in the Paula Jones/Monica deal. sorry I don't remember his name), the guy that Clinton appointed to the supreme court (Steven Breyer, I think), Cornell University Professor Alfred Kahn, and others.

I think that in concept, you are correct about conservatives wanting less government, but not at the expense of having an industry placed into turmoil. You see, when that happens, they lose money. I would guess that the conservative leaders of industry were probably pretty content with the regulated state of affairs. Of course, if I really knew, I would write a book and make a lot of money, so take my ideas as my opinions and keep on thinking for yourself.

regards
8N
 

RJFlyer

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Draginass:

I would suspect that you and Dave would be happy to see the major unions self-destruct anyway, so let us. How should worker be compensated? Should there even be a labor contract? I get the feeling that you and Dave think that pilots should be at will employees only.
That is entirely untrue. There certainly is a need for unions, if for no other reason than everybody involved in aviation is inherently "me-oriented." Everyone is out to screw the other guy, and the only way to keep it in check is with unions. However, I do believe that in many cases, the unions overstep their bounds. Rather than merely helping to determine a fair wage and working conditions for their members, they put unnecessary demands on how a company does business. That is what I disagree with. A company should not have to defend itself against laying off people when the economy goes south. Very few other industries do. I know your company signed a contract. But there are provisions in that contract that are absolutely ludicrous, such as being unable to furlough or reduce the number of aircraft "for economic reasons.' That is asinine, and the company would not agree to it if the union didn't have a gun to their heads (read strike). I suppose its like carmakers who know there is a defect with their car - the cost of recall is higher than the cost of litigation, so they don't recall the defective vehicles. Mgmt probably figures a strike would be more economically damaging than keeping unnecessary people and airplanes, so they sign the contract. Both options are economically damaging, and they have to choose the lesser of 2 evils.
force majuere IS part of the contract - although the reasons for and degree and duration are subject to the labor courts
That's right. And statements like FlyDeltasJets' "I just want them to abide by the contract they signed" work both ways.
As far as business increases go, it is increasing according to the company and my own observations in flying packed airplanes, both narrow and wide bodies, domestic and international routes. 9/11 has accelerated the retirement of inefficient 727 whose capacity isn't needed right now. Yields are down granted, but I they'll follow up also as the year and economy progress.
Again, load factor is up, but on reduced capacity. And how can 9/11 'accelerate the retirement of 727's whose capacity isn't needed,' yet not qualify as 'force majeure?'
I think the system works - not perfect, but probably as good as practically possible given the foibles self-interests of human beings.
It works for YOU, and that's what matters, right? If it isn't perfect, that means there's room for improvement. Most seem to be of the opinion that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Nothing will ever improve with this mindset.
I'm confident that I'll still be flying for a major airline with a good contract, safe working conditions, and fair compensation. How about both of you guys? I leave the doomsayers, defeatists, and union-haters to stew in their own misery and jelousy.
In 5 years, I'll probably still be with ASA, and trying to get on with a major. I imagine it'll take that long for the airlines to rebound and re-absorb all the guys currently displaced, then I'll get my chance. Just because my opinion doesn't agree with yours, doesn't mean I am a doomsayer, a defeatist, nor a union-hater; I certainly am not miserable nor jealous. For the time being, I am right where I want to be. I think the unions are a good thing to a certain extent, but definitely need improvement. I am glad you are working hard to get your company back up to speed. It would behoove more of your colleagues to follow your lead, instead of holding up the recovery process by complaining about how the company is screwing them and expending energy filing grievances.

I will have a nice life too, thanks.
 

publisher

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Final

As this discussion comes to an end, suffice it to say that unions probably do a better job of maximizing their members compensation in good times than assisting in them in tough times.

We should all remember that these contracts were designed to appeal to the simple majority. It is perhaps the only thing that both parties are in agreement, they want 50.1%.

The fact that airlines fall under the Railway Labor Act says it all. We have a system that lives in the past, is archaic, and does not reflect the current economic facts.

Labor sometimes handcuffs the companies it controls to where they are no longer able to compete. While labor was locking up the auto business, the Japanese and others came and took giant chunks of their market.

Unions can get so big themselves, perhaps they need a union to organize them.
 

enigma

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Re: Final

Publisher.

Unfortunately you are correct. It amazes me that we continue to negotiate as if the industry existed in a vacuum. I sincerely believe that we could all make more money in the long run if we would find a way to recognise the effect of the market economy on our business.

regards
8N

BTW, it is something of a miracle that anyone can convince 50.1% of pilots to agree on anything. :)
 

bobbysamd

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Union to organize unions

Once again, Publisher and I have found common ground. I say again, the pilots' unions need to find a way to get their furloughees back in the air.

BTW, I thought the AFL-CIO was the "union" that organized unions.
 
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kilomike

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Need for Unions

I have read with interest everyone's remarks about the union issue. I believe that we need to have strong unions to prevent workers from being cheated out of a decent livelihood.

How the (unprintable) can someone live on $7.50/hour and support a family?? Pilots of course need workplace protections but other workers need unions even more so. There are huge companies giving executives excessive bonuses and overly inflated salaries at workers' expense. I can remember when there were protests in Hartford when workers were being laid off while the executives were receiving huge bonuses for laying off the workers!! This type of thing is an outrage and I would like to see stronger unions available to put this kind of nonsense to a stop.

For anyone interested in learning more about the labor movement and the airline industry, I highly recommend reading both editions of Flying the Line. Tells it like it is!!

Kilomike
 

publisher

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rates

The fact is that you are not getting much sympathy when you have protestors on the line making six figures.

The problem is disparity. The answer is not one list. The answer is not a bunch of false handcuffs on management that ignore they will always be facing competition from other companies marching to a different drummer.

Unions are not the answer to the executive bonus situation. Shareholders protest is required for that. Most of those bonus pools are strictly driven by stock performance, not necessarily operating performance.

the bottom line is that new hires are not represented at the bargaining table and the money will go the quickest route to a 50.1% margin. Everything else is rhetoric.
 

DaveGriffin

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Delta pre 9/11 furloughs

QUOTE]Originally posted by trainerjet
Dave

If you are going to present something as FACT...have your facts straight. Your last "fact" is, in fact, NOT a fact.

Prior to 9/11 at least 4 ALPA carriers that qualified under the DOT's definition of at least National carrier status had pilots on furlough, and a 5th had sent out furlough notices to be effective Oct. 31.

And of the Major carriers, DAL, UAL and USAirways had already announced a hiring freeze prior to 9/11.
[/QUOTE]


trainerjet
My comments were addressed to Draginass’ comments and specifically focused on the Delta furlough grievance. My facts were 100% accurate.
FYI: Hiring freezes differ from furloughs. The Delta pilots’ union is not grieving hiring freezes.
 

73GDog

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RJFlyer said:
Bobbysamd:

I think in this context this should be 2 separate questions: "are they paid fairly?" and "how are they paid in comparison?" Are Southwest pilots paid fairly? They seem to think so (and they're hiring). How are they paid in comparison to Delta and United? Not as well. Are they paid fairly in comparison to Delta and United? Not really a valid question, in my opinion - you're comparing apples and oranges. The 'majors' are more cumbersome in large part because of the effects of heavy unionization. Note that Delta is in the best financial shape of the 'majors' - and that it is the least unionized of them.


RJFlyer,
A couple of points: How do you know Southwest pilots are happy with their current pay? I have several friends over there and they are just waiting to negotiate a new contract to increase their pay. You say they are not paid as well as Delta and United and I cannot verify this because you have to take into account their profit sharing which has done quite well for some of the more senior pilots. You said "note that Delta is in the best financial shape of all the majors - and that it is the least unionized of them. Well, Southwest is a 'major', and one of the most heavily unionized I might add, and they are in better financial shape than Delta.
 

DaveGriffin

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Delta furlough grievance

Draginass said:
RJ Flyer - I would suspect that you and Dave would be happy to see the major unions self-destruct anyway, so let us.
Not at all. I disagree strongly with your union’s position and arguments in your furlough grievance.

Draginass said:
How should worker be compensated? Should there even be a labor contract? I get the feeling that you and Dave think that pilots should be at will employees only.
Not at all. I simply disagree strongly with your union’s position and arguments in your furlough grievance. (See a pattern of you not addressing the issue?)


Draginass said:
In economic downturn, it's the company's right to furlough according to contract (and force majuere IS part of the contract - although the reasons for and degree and duration are subject to the labor courts).
So now you agree with the furloughs and do not support the grievance?

Draginass said:
Five years from now we'll see. I'm confident that I'll still be flying for a major airline with a good contract, safe working conditions, and fair compensation. How about both of you guys?
I don’t believe my forecast of your economic future in your chosen profession is the issue here.
I simply disagree strongly with your union’s position and arguments in your furlough grievance.

Draginass said:
I leave the doomsayers, defeatists, and union-haters to stew in their own misery and jelousy.
You’re name calling here, not addressing the questions I asked in my post.
I simply disagree strongly with your union’s position and arguments in your furlough grievance.

I’ll try to recap for you.

How can ALPA claim that the attacks of 9/11 are an economic event when ALPA itself has made 180 degree radical policy changes to react to a totally unpredictable and very dangerous situation: 1. pilots authorized firearms and the use of deadly force aboard an aircraft in flight and 2. reinforced cockpit doors. However, when passengers elect to increase their safety by avoiding the possibility of becoming a passenger aboard a kamikaze guided cruise missile, ALPA claims that it is an economic decision and does not trigger the force majeure clause in the contract.
 

FlyDeltasJets

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Luckily Dave, our furlough grievance is none of your **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** business, so I don't have to waste my time explaining our position yet again.

We understand that you don't support our furlough grievance. We don't care.
 

DaveGriffin

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Delta furlough grievance

FlyDeltasJets said:
Luckily Dave, our furlough grievance is none of your **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** business, so I don't have to waste my time explaining our position yet again.

We understand that you don't support our furlough grievance. We don't care.
FlyDeltasJets;

I’m glad your wife is allowing you to post today.

I have read your explanations on this board previously and they are not based in fact or principle. Your furlough grievance ignores the devastating loss of innocent civilian life, the bravery and loss of the fire and rescue personnel and the bravery and loss of the men and women of our armed forces who are fighting to defend us from further attacks.

By arguing that the attacks of 9/11 are nothing more than an economic event you diminish the real and true significance of 9/11. And you do it unashamedly to further your financial gain. I am sure you would deny the significance of the holocaust if you thought it would get you better contract terms.
 

FlyDeltasJets

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Dave,

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear in my earlier post. I'll try again.


You don't get a vote. I don't care what you think of our case.


Rant away.
 

RJFlyer

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FDJ:

What happened? Suddenly against intelligent discussion?
You don't get a vote. I don't care what you think of our case.
The same could apply to you. You don't get a vote in the RJDC issue, yet you see fit to post long dissertations on why you disagree with it. Just because we don't have a vote doesn't mean we don't have valid opinions. But if I agreed with your grievance, I'm sure you'd love to hear it.

73GDog:
How do you know Southwest pilots are happy with their current pay? I have several friends over there and they are just waiting to negotiate a new contract to increase their pay.
Then why do so many want to work there? Why did your friends choose to work there, instead of Delta, United, Northwest, Continental, etc? I've not heard any Southwest pilots complaining that they're underpaid. They are, however, pilots, and as such feel that they are always entitled to more more more, look what the other guy's getting, gimme more more more.
You say they are not paid as well as Delta and United and I cannot verify this because you have to take into account their profit sharing which has done quite well for some of the more senior pilots.
Which supports my initial point. However, notice that even at Southwest the union has created its own B-scale, in that those hired after a certain date can't take part in the profit sharing. Benefits only the more senior - sound familiar?
Well, Southwest is a 'major', and one of the most heavily unionized I might add, and they are in better financial shape than Delta.
I knew someone was going to say this, and I suppose I should have been more clear in my original post. I was talking about the companies traditionally considered the 'majors;' i.e. The Big Five - United, American, Delta, Continental, and Northwest - all global carriers.
 

DaveGriffin

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Delta furlough grievance

FlyDeltasJets said:
Dave,

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear in my earlier post. I'll try again.


You don't get a vote. I don't care what you think of our case.


Rant away.
FDJ;
I am not aware that anyone gets a "vote". Isn't it up to an arbitrator at this point?
 

FlyDeltasJets

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RJ,

The rjdc directly affects me, my contract, and my union, so i think I have a right to offer opinions.

I am not against intelligent conversation. I believe that I have always been polite and respectful. As a matter of fact, you and I had a long discussion about our grievance recently. I am simply against rehashing the same argument over and over again, especially with people who have absolutely no stake in the matter. To say I would deny the holocaust is not exactly my idea of an intelligent conversation.

I'll say it once more. We do not deny the devastating events of 9/11. We do not deny the effects it has had on our industry. However, we do argue that these events satisfy the requirement necessary to violate our contract. Every example given are instances when the company is prevented from flying airplanes. That is clearly not the case. If it were, then ASA would not have grown by 32% YOY. You cannot claim forced majure for only certain types of airplanes.

That is our view. Your's, and Dave's may differ. But you are not affected by it, and you don't get a vote, so I really don't care to rehash the same arguments over and over. We'll have to wait for the arbitrator's ruling. You can hope we lose. I hope we win.

By the way, I have realized an error. There is another poster who has a little pic next to his name like Dave's. He posted a rather nasty post on another thread. I try not to respond to posts like his. When Dave posted, I thought he was the same guy, as i paid too much attention to the picture, and not enough to the name. Therefore, I was a little short with him. It was a case of mistaken identity.

Sorry Dave. My fault.
 

73GDog

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RJFlyer,
I do not recall saying my friends chose to work at Southwest over Delta, United etc.. Not everyone is hired by their first choice of airlines. I have heard some Southwest Pilots complain they are underpaid and have met quite a few who left Southwest for Delta. My point was, I agree Southwest is a good place to work however, they are one of the most heavily unionized majors around and are doing quite well which negates the argument that heavily unionized airlines cannot be as profitable as airlines with few unions on the property. Management and the daily decisions they make have a far greater impact on profitability than do unions.
 

RJFlyer

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FDJ:
Just for clarification, I said nothing about the holocaust, that was DaveGriffin. Your grievances will ultimately have an effect on me and my airline, so I guess I have a right to offer an opinion, too.
But you are not affected by it, and you don't get a vote, so I really don't care to rehash the same arguments over and over. We'll have to wait for the arbitrator's ruling. You can hope we lose. I hope we win.
Ah, but I will be affected by it. Both of your grievances hinge on the same argument - that force majeure doesn't apply. So if you win your furlough grievance, you will also win the scope cap grievance, which will directly affect ASA and my job. An arbitrator will decide, so you don't get a vote, either. And DaveGriffin's questions and comments were directed at Draginass, so unless you and he are one and the same, you weren't asked to rehash the same arguments.

73GDog:
...they are one of the most heavily unionized majors around and are doing quite well which negates the argument that heavily unionized airlines cannot be as profitable as airlines with few unions on the property.
It certainly does not negate that argument. Don't discount the fact that their unions get along better with management. Could they be as profitable with Delta-parity wages? Certainly not. And would they be as profitable if they flew more than just 737s? Certainly not. So like you said, the fact that they are heavily unionized isn't the only factor. Management decisions are the biggest factor - if the unions 'allow' management to make the proper decisions.
 
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