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ALPA watching out for us?!

RVFlier1

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I wonder just how much ALPA is watching out for it's membership, or what part of the membership is being looked out for if any. NWA has just pretty much succeeded in dismantling one union, though AMFA kinda screwed itself to begin with by lumping the cleaners and mechanics into the same union. Now I'm sure that will tick off some hardcore union guys, but look at the trend - and we've all heard it before - the Wal-martizing of the airline industry. NWA didn't even blink with bringing on the replacement mechanics, and was ready to bring on replacement FA's in case they struck with AMFA. NWA even contracted out an NWA flight to Champion Air a few months ago, testing the waters I'd say to see how far and what they can contract out. NWALPA's response? "Hey, stop that! Don't! OW! I'm telling!!"
So you say to me "Yeah, but it's not as easy to train a pilot!" Well, who's flying these RJ's now? Kids (Sorry to offend you younger guys) that are out of places like UND and other schools are teaching on glass A/C, and guess what the regionals are going to be flying? And when you're at a regional, you can become a senior pilot pretty quick when you're working a 13 hour day every day. And what kid that just got done with flight school/flight instructing/running checks is going to balk at $30,000/year not realizing that they may be there for the rest of or most of their flying career? Of course they are going to jump at it, and the majors are going to use it to screw us over, and what is ALPA doing to stop it?
The NWA/AMFA strike has set the trend for even pilots. NWA flight attendants are next, the flying in Asia will most likely be contracted out to the cheapest bidder, and we all know there are people, thinking the airline industry is such ritz and glamour, that they will work for next to nothing, not only in Asia but worldwide. Continental contracts to fly EMB RJ's round trip from OMA to the east coast, on cramped RJs! Now as a pilot having clawed your way to a major, how safe do you think your job is when they are taking a cramped RJ on long route like that? Where does the RJ market end? Doesn't Mesaba fly from MSP to SLC?
NWA is now talking of getting rid of the 100 seat fleet (Granted, fuel guzzling, but paid for, DC9s) and starting a new airline to fly 100 seaters or less, ie, another regional. How many routes can you put a 100 seater on today and fill it? A dang lot of city pairs, and considering that NWA has the biggest DC9 fleet in the world, well, that's alot of mainline pilot jobs CONTRACTED OUT! But don't worry, you'll get 1st dibs at getting that 1/2 pay or less new pilot position!
It's been said before, we seem to be the only industry that has its increased operating costs passed on to the employees! DAL's CEO should have been canned for getting a BILLION dollars in concession from the pilots, then turning around and launching that idiotic capped fare sale! What irresponsibility, and barely anyone raised an eyebrow. The general public is expecting and getting used to these cheap fares, a dangerous trend is what it means to us. Do you want to be flying a B73 or A320 at commuter pay/scheds where you're gone at least half the month, a 401K, you pay for your medical, and hopefully you won't be ousted out of business by some other upstart carrier down the road? It's true, like someone else said, this is not your father's airline. It is a new scary world out there, and I think ALPA is just rolling over and taking it, because anyway, their top leadership is no different than any other CEO or business. They are out of touch, protected with generous benefits - of which WE are paying for out of our dues. What are we seeing for those dues? DAL, NWA, UAL, and the other ALPA majors fund a big chunk of ALPA's money, on top of that we are asked to give to the ALPA PAC! In another post I saw someone suggesting that pilots do a collective 1 day strike. Well, obviously you can't do that. But what about suspending your ALPA dues for awhile? I bet THAT would get their attention.
Southwest is the big boy on the block now, but what happens when their fuel hedging runs out and the operating costs shoot up? "Well, gee sorry SWA pilot, but we need concessions or we're going to go bankrupt." Where does it end?
Another pilot told me to him it seems like the 'My name is Earl' show. "I just won $100,000 by getting hired at a major, and now it's blowing away in the wind." he said.
It's been said that everyone gets furloughed at least once in their airline career. Well, unlike the old days which aren't that old, the company you left will be a far different and less employee friendly one when/if you get recalled. Chances are today that if you get furloughed you will be back to RJ pay/scheds for a long, long time. Corporate/fractionals are a possibility.
Well, if you're okay with that, more power to you. I'm not okay with that. I don't think alot of us did all the hard work it took to get to a major, spent all the money we paid to flight schools (for those that weren't military), to only have to go back to commuter airline type flying again. It was okay when we were young and single starting out. Now many of us are older, rooted down with families, kids in school in a good place, nice house in a nice area, and yes, you have to say it, you've got your toys, all of this that you've worked hard to get.
The pilot group is that last real workgroup that has the power to get peoples attention, whether it be ALPA, the company, or the flying publics. I'm not sure what exactly can be done now. There are so many upstart airlines and regionals out there, I think ALPA's power is slipping away. There are always hungry pilots to fill in the voids for dirt pay and work conditions. Is it too late? Have we lost our negotiating powers? I know's there's something terribly wrong when a major can't even let a $5 fare increase sit awhile on the account of no other carriers will match it, even though the planes this summer were at record load levels (Yes, even NWALPA tried took the airlines side explaining how quickly an airline looses money when others don't match, but guess what?! We lost a %$#@ of money anyway and everyone is in bankruptcy anyway). Chapter 7's (liquidation) will be very rare. US Airways survived, but with a gutted contract. Furloughs there went back to what hire year, 1987?! There you are thinking, "I'll be okay, Iv'e been on for 14+ years...." Bam out of a job! And if you are able to come back to it, what are you coming back to?
Sorry people. I don't mean for this to be just a 'bitch' letter. There are plenty of aviation jobs out there if you are willling to start over, even non-aviation jobs. I know very senior guys will probably tell me to shut up as some of them figure they are close to enough to retirement to escape the wrath to come. Higher ranks of ALPA at it's headquarters will try to knock me off for even daring to say withhold dues that would threaten their annual meetings in LAS or MCO or the other terrible places they go to help us poor slobs. But it is wrong that the pilot group at ANY airline be asked to suck up the increased costs as we have been asked to, while the discounted fares are kept up at a feverant pace to the public, and all ALPA says is "yes, times are rough - HEY! What's that over there?!" (sound of squealing tires as they speed away to their meeting in LAS)
So when you get a new contracted flight attendant crew in the back, beside the small chit chat of where are you from, how many day trip is this for you, etc, you can include "and what company do you work for?"
One company flying the airplane, another selling the passengers a $1 bag of nuts, another fueling, another maintaining, another catering, another cleaning.... How many companies does it take to run one airline? How many different jobs can a company contract out?
 
C

Chuck Yogourt

Reality Check: ALPA is a Company. It relies on pilots to fill its bank account so it can exist. Your job and your well being is just not as important to ALPA as it is getting your monthly dues. Keep that in mind and you might sleep a little better at night. However, with that said, I would not want to work at a non-union airline. To me, ALPA is better than nothing. But don't tell that to the TWA group or Pan Am group or Eastern group that got down right SCREWED by their ALPA brothers.
 

CUZ

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Its not good to hold back how you feel RV. J/K. Alot of merit in your words, and I agree. I heard a rumor today. (They are always rumors). Anyhow, I heard that quite a few of the ALPA guys at a couple of East coast based carriers have been skipping their dues. Nother words, not paying for those LAS trips you mentioned. Anybody aware of these stories? BTW, great post RV.
 

Soulfly

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Great Post.

Just a thought. As long as we are at the mercy of the RLA, we are never going to get anywhere. Pounding sand. Wonderful isn't it.
Management figured that out a long time ago. Duane is just to afraid to tell any of us that.
Our only real recourse is to strike. Oh yeah, the NMB will make sure that doesn't happen. Especially with the Republicans in control. So all Duane is left with is a bunch of grandstanding. RAH! RAH! RAH! Such a joke.
He is just now publicly talking about 12 hour duty day limits. This should have happened a long time ago. A public campaign explaining to the public what type of work days we endure would sure get the attention this needs.

Peace.....
 

mdanno808

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I agree. Great post, and I agree with damn near everything you said. The problem is, what is the solution to reforming ALPA? Do we look to other organizations, or do we attempt a complete overhaul of the existing union. The biggest problem is that this should have taken place years ago when the industry was not in complete ruin. We are closing in on rock bottom, which only complicate's fixing what is the broken union we all belong to. If NWA ALPA strikes, it won't fix ALPA. It may stop the blatant union busting/corporate greed culture up there in MSP, but it won't stop the inefficiencies, and short comings of ALPA national. I personally, am not smart enough, nor informed enough to think of a solution to all of our problems. I certainly hope that some one is, because if things continue on this trajectory, we as a labor group, are all in deep trouble.
 

Spooky 1

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Hank Duffy

Don't mean to hi-jack the thread but I heard the Hank Duffy just lost 100% of his Delta retirement when they stopped paying the NQ part of the retirement package at the first of the month. Does anyone know what type of program ALPA provides the President? I wonder if ALPA sumhow subordinates this loss or whether the ALPA retirement deal is a stand-alone deal.
 

ironspud

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Spooky 1 said:
Don't mean to hi-jack the thread but I heard the Hank Duffy just lost 100% of his Delta retirement when they stopped paying the NQ part of the retirement package at the first of the month. quote]

If true, that is awesome....and richly deserved.
 

DIAMONDDD

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Neubyfly said:
ALPA did NOTHING for the pilots of TWA!
WRONG, Neuby, WRONG. During the integration, I still received my magazine with Woerth's picture in it. It said they were working diligently on LAHSO on our behalf. Also, they were kind enough to personally call me a few months after my furlough (looking for dues)
 

AA717driver

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RV1--I know you're coming to the party a little late. I've been busting the UAL guy's balls for posts like that but I like NWA guys so I'll go easier on you.

Yeah, ALPA has been worthless (no pun) for years. I posted this on another thread for the benefit of someone who hasn't been around long enough to see the "benefits" of being an ALPA member:

----------------------------

"Now that the ALPA Golden Boys are in deep $h!t, you want everyone to sit up and take notice. Sorry, that train pulled out of the station in 1983 and kept picking up speed until ALPA stabbed the TWA pilots in the back in 2001.

Let me refresh your memory:

No nationwide walkout when Lorenzo stole the CAL pensions.

No nationwide walkout when random drug testing was implemented.

No nationwide walkout when pilots were forced to go through security screening with the pax.

No nationwide walkout when Lorenzo was stealing EAL blind prior to shutting them down.

No nationwide walkout when the Delta pilots screwed the PanAm pilots.

No nationwide walkout when ALPA carrier Reno got stapled by non-ALPA carrier AA.

No nationwide walkout when Emery pilots got hosed.

No nationwide walkout when ALPA carrier TWA was advised to abandon its SCOPE clause by ALPA attorneys then the majority of its pilots were stapled by non-ALPA carrier AA.

Too little, too late..."
-----------------------------

In other words, the "haves" sat back fat, dumb and happy while Rome burned and now they're feeling the heat. I'm sorry it's happening to you. I'm sorry it happened to me and the EAL, PAA and BN guys who came before me.

Good luck. With ALPA representing you, you'll need it.TC
 

FreightNazi

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Why don't more of you disgruntled mainline guys try for UPS or FedEx? I know that the majority of guys/gals we've been hiring have been furloughed major pilots with a military background. When our new contract is settled, second year F/Os will probably be making 6 figures. IMHO, it's nice that we have been hiring lots of former major pilots because they know what it was like to have it all and won't settle for anything less here as our company has the means to give it. That's in contrast to hiring someone with strictly a civilian/regional background who is all bug eyed at the thought of flying a widebody and is just happy to be here at any pay and would probably not fight very hard to get more.
 

screwed_again

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The bottom line is this: What can ALPA national do LEGALLY to stop this bottoming out??? What can they do? Nothing. Management teams have the bankruptcy card and we have nothing; well besides no LAHSO at most airports. Unions do nothing but stave-off the inevitable-a shit career in the airline biz.
 

AA717driver

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FreightNazi said:
Why don't more of you disgruntled mainline guys try for UPS or FedEx? I know that the majority of guys/gals we've been hiring have been furloughed major pilots with a military background. When our new contract is settled, second year F/Os will probably be making 6 figures. IMHO, it's nice that we have been hiring lots of former major pilots because they know what it was like to have it all and won't settle for anything less here as our company has the means to give it. That's in contrast to hiring someone with strictly a civilian/regional background who is all bug eyed at the thought of flying a widebody and is just happy to be here at any pay and would probably not fight very hard to get more.

Because making $120/hr. at a bankrupt carrier is still better than quitting and making $26 or even $50/hr. As long as you have the money coming in, it's tough to voluntarily crawl out of the DC9 Capt. seat into the FE seat at a freight outfit.

Besides, who's to say Fred or the guys in the bunker at UPS won't decide to follow the lead of the majors rather than pay someone $400k to fly a 727?TC
 

Freight Dog

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screwed_again said:
The bottom line is this: What can ALPA national do LEGALLY to stop this bottoming out???
Did you notice that every ALPA contract is signed by Duane Woerth? He could simply refuse to sign any further concessionary contracts. Sure, it could possibly open a can of worms, but it would provide the kind of leadership that the U.S. airline pilots need.
 

TonyC

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AA717driver said:
Besides, who's to say Fred ... won't decide to follow the lead of the majors rather than pay someone $400k to fly a 727?TC
Me and 4499 of my best buddies.



:)




.
 

IB6 UB9

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TonyC said:
Me and 4499 of my best buddies.



:)




.

Oh get off your high horse. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for my buddies over at your company. Rest assured though, if your airline falls on hard times you and 4499 of your buddies are no more powerful than any other seniority list in this industry. If it comes to it, you will suffer the same fate the rest of us have. I certainly hope not, but do not be surprised if you end up sending out another resume someday...nothing is for sure. Wasn't UAL trading at $110/share less than 6 years ago? Food for thought.
 

TonyC

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IB6 UB9 said:
Oh get off your high horse.
Since you missed the point, I'll spell it out for you. AA717Driver's post implied that Fred could unilaterally impose lower wages (or is it file for bankruptcy? perhaps I misinterpreted his "follow the lead of the majors" reference) on his pilots. As much as it must pain Mr. Smith, such is not the case. You see, before he can change the wages, either up or down, he must first talk to ALPA.

So, to answer AA171Driver's question, we do.






.
 

TonyC

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RichardFitzwell said:
I think you may be setting yourself up for a major let down.
Because I don't think Mr. Smith will reduce my wages on a whim, I'm setting myself up for a letdown? Please explain.





.
 

AA717driver

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Tony--I meant impose wage cuts via the bankruptcy code (although it's not as easy now). The point was that no one is safe and you never know where the next curve ball will come from.

Who 5 years ago forsaw the use of Sec. 363 of the BK code? That's the section the Ch. 11 has to be filed under to exercise Sub. Sec. 1113 to void contracts.

What other trap doors have been inserted that we can't imagine in our wildest dreams?TC
 
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