An article that is a must read!!

MECH

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[FONT=&quot]“This Used to Be a Hell of a Profession”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Before departing EWR on a recent 777 flight across the globe, and on a day that Colgan Airlines and the Buffalo crash dominated the news, one of the First-Class flight attendants, in full view and earshot of a cabin full of passengers, asked this of one of our IROs crewing the trip: “How many check rides have you failed?”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]On another recent flight, an ISM, after grabbing the hotel keys from the Captain, stuck her hand in his face and said: “I’m on crew rest—I don’t have to listen to you!”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]On any given day at any station in our system, we can be told by a gate agent: “I don’t have time to process the jumpseat for you. You’ll just have to take the next flight.”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]What do these, and a hundred other slights we are subjected to day in and day out, have in common? They are all directed at the most competent, well-trained, and highly-experienced employees at Continental Airlines by some of the least competent, ill-trained, and inexperienced people Continental management could find to staff that particular position on that particular day.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Although common courtesy is most uncommon these days, these incidents are only about courtesy on the surface; what lies below is what we need to be concerned about—and start making plans to stop before it goes any further.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]I have had a pet theory for years. Most of you who know me have heard it before and roll your eyes when the subject comes up in my presence. The short version of the story is that I believe we are treated the way we are by management and by those who work the lower-tier, less-skilled jobs here (and who are allowed, virtually every time, to get away with their bad behavior) for one simple reason: if they can treat us poorly with impunity, and if they can get away with it long enough, we might start to think about ourselves in the same way they think about us—as overpaid prima donna bus drivers, plying a trade they could surely ply, if only they had the advantages we did. The benefit to management for pulling this off is huge: if we think little of ourselves, we may demand little in return for our skills and experience.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]As it turns out, I was right.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]I got the following from a guy I know from one of the internet aviation boards who is also a Continental pilot. See if any of this sounds familiar:[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“It's becoming painfully obvious that much of this is driven by corporate psych strategies. Much happens to us on a daily basis that isn't by chance and much of it isn't obvious to us at all. I wonder if its intended effect benefits management after all or if it is, in fact, counter-productive. Marginalizing pilot contributions seems to be at the top of the list.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“Most Fortune 500 corporations in the US employ psychological strategies against their employees. They shell out many millions to specialty firms for these strategies. Ours does seem to be most effective.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“I took some (Airline) MBA course work in the early 90's at Dowling College. During our labor relations class, one of the other students unearthed a mid 80's AMR (Bob Crandall) study that was quite interesting. One of the points focused on essentially ignoring pilot contributions to the operation and highlighting those of the least critical (cleaners, catering, etc). The stated goal was to 'meld' all groups to a common level. Meaning, the guy who's folding the seatbelt was just as important as the guy who successfully landed the DC-10 in gusty crosswinds. All of it was geared to lowering pilot cost's (B-Scale, C-Scale).[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“Another strategy was eliminating pilot-only parking lots, buses, cafeterias, etc. Heavy integration with the lowest paid workers of the airline (cleaners, ramp, etc.). Something to do with self esteem and view of self was behind that bullet point—although it’s been too long to remember the exact goal. I'll let you come to your own conclusion on that one. A lot happens to us that we are not aware of. Yet it changes our lives more than we can imagine.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“Just consider, adjusting Contract 97's first step increment, 12 year 757 CAPT Rate for the Govt's stated CPI (12 years of inflation) would take it to $239/hr from $169/hr where it is today. Do you think all the hocus pocus works? You've got to give it to them, they are good at what they do.”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Yes, they are “good at what they do”. But we are better. We are the best and most highly skilled employees of this airline. We work nights, weekends, and holidays—for no extra pay. We stay awake all night and fly our aircraft with precision and land at destinations with low clouds, no visibility, gusty winds, and slick runways. We get non-revs on after they’ve been abused by gate agents, we make the CASS system work to ensure that not only our pilots, but the pilots of other airlines can get to their bases—or get home to their loved ones. We solve catering, maintenance, ramp, and scheduling issues. We prepare our aircraft for flight, sometimes showing two hours or more ahead of push time to ensure we properly plan our flights over some of the most unforgiving terrain and some of the broadest oceans in the world—and we don’t get a dime for it. We work on our days off—because management says we have to keep the airline running and on schedule. We sacrifice our families, too—we miss birthdays, anniversaries, school plays, and soccer games—and family members who pass away without us at their side. And when a crew makes a mistake and pays with their lives, we honor them in full dress uniform as brothers in arms and we weep for them and wonder how their families will cope with the awful loss of the husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sons, and daughters.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]We are the best at what we do—and we will not be diminished by managers who could never do what we do if they had a thousand years to prepare for it. We are the best at what we do—and we serve our airline safely and skillfully despite the thoughtless and cruel comments and treatment we sometimes endure at the hands of those lesser than us in every way. We are the best at what we do—and we demand proper recognition for it—today, tomorrow, and in every possible way.[/FONT]
 

HA25

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VERY well said.... reminds me of back in '97 when I went to get a J/S on a Tristar to SFO from ATL on DAL.. I went straight to the captain as ASA (my airline) was at that time prohibited from being in their J/S due to political issues stemming from our voting in ALPA.. Long story short, the CA agreed to take me, but when the Gate Agent (a 20 something woman) got wind of it, she talked to him... he then came to me, head drooped over... he was a Ex-Western guy and looked like he was near his age 60 retirement date..

He told me, "Back in the day, I would have told her to go to hell, I'm putting whom ever I want in my J/S, but today, I'm just another employee number here, and she can get me in a lot of hot water if I take you, sorry.."


Welcome to what we've let become of our profession.... Gone are likes of Juan Trippe, Howard Hughes, and Bob Six... this is the era of Tilton and Crandal... and the "employee number" airline captain.
 

Colonel Savage

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who is the author of the article?

where did it come from?
He explains that halfway through the post:


"I got the following from a guy I know from one of the internet aviation boards who is also a Continental pilot. See if any of this sounds familiar..."
 

Colonel Savage

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Here's ANOTHER ONE!

CAL management at its finest once again. Wonder what the press would make of this?


On April 13, 2009 I was the Captain on Air Micronesia Flt. 961, Gum - Tyo. When I reported to the gate for check in, an agent working the flight advised me that there was a wounded Marine traveling with his Physician and Division commander. I walked over to introduce myself to a Dr Wilkerson and ask him what I could do to help the Marines condition with respect to the flight to Tokyo. He advised me that he had a serious brain injury and was going to TYO for brain surgery and was in a tremendous amount of pain. I then asked the agent if there were any First class seats avliable and she responded that there were seven open seats. I then asked for just two seats but if she would not mind three would be better. She then immediately gave me three seats beside each other in row three. I then boarded the plane and told the lead flight attendant what the situation was and asked for her assistance. She and all the other Flight Attendants were more that happy to lend assistance. They immediately started gathering more pillows and blankets to aide in the Marines comfort.

I then returned to the podium and asked that he be boarded first as he was unable to walk unassisted. By that time a red coat agent had showed up and started giving me a hard time by telling me that I did not have the authority to take such action and that it was not my call to make. Taking action to help a wounded Marine is a rare opportunity and for me, and quite an honor in light of the sacrifices they make for us. I then politely informed her that I did have the authority and I was making the call to take this action. I felt that the situation pretty much explained itself and that no further discussion was needed, yet she was adamant about blocking this gesture of kindness to a wounded member of our Military. I then informed everyone that he was to be boarded first since he was unable to walk unassisted. Again this red coat strongly objected to this action.

She informed me that he was to board according to his row number with the rest of the passengers and only after he was seated and the door to the aircraft closed would he be able to move up to First Class. For some reason her objections to me taking this action went away. So her next objection was to his boarding early and not first taking his originally assigned seat in coach. I asked her to take a good look at this wounded Marine as his pain was obvious by his moaning and his face wincing in pain and that he was unable to walk unassisted. I informed her that I was not going to treat him in such a callous and unfeeling manner, and that he diserved more consideration from us. Yet she still insisted on boarding him by his originally assigned seat number in coach. She then informed me that they did not diserve to sit up there as they had not paid for the seats. After confirming that her problem was with the money issue, the third one in this episode, I gave her my credit card and told her that if money was now her issue then buy them three first class tickets on me. She then took my credit card and left to go make the charges. This, by the way is illegal according to TSA regulations, a fact that she was oblivious to. She failed this test. I then boarded the three soldiers to their seats in first.

After this I decided to call the SOCC and talk to the Ops. Director. "name omitted" was on duty and after hearing this story he pretty much was speechless but said that I was well within my rights to take the action I did and that I should get my credit card back. When I returned to the aircraft she was in first class talking on the radio in a very loud manner. She was so loud that "name omitted" the first officer on the flight heard her from the cockpit and started to call security to have her removed. I told her that this was not going to happen in the aircraft and we needed to go to the jetway. She did leave the aircraft with me, and finally gave me my credit card back telling me that she was unable to make the charges. I then informed her of my conversation with the Ops. Director and what his opinion of the situation was. She then informed me that her problem was me requesting that the PNR be changed to reflect the seating change. Yet another lie, the PNR was NEVER part of any discussion with her or any one else and certainly of no concern to me at any time.

It is obvious that this red coat changed her story more times than I care to remember. It is painfully clear that she has made false accusations against me to cover up her severe lack of good judgment. "name omitted", the F/O, was a witness to this nonsense and verified that at no time did I ever loose my temper, behave inappropriately, or use any foul language. To do so would have been a severe detriment to accomplishing my goal of taking care of a severely wounded Marine.

Yet on the morning of the 15th of April, the IAH 757 Chief Pilot called me just a couple of minutes after walking into my house and used a very aggressive, demeaning and condescending tone of voice to inform me that he had a pile of emails from Guam accusing me of refusing to show my I.D. when asked and upgrading passengers to First Class and that he was taking section 19 actions against me for my behavior in Guam. At no time did he ever ask me any questions about the accusations against me or give me a chance to defend myself against these false charges. Nor did he ever provide me with any details of what was said by anyone. He just immediately initiated this legal action against me without hearing my side of the story.

I find his behavior despicable and contrary to any kind of a healthy working environment. A fact that is obviously lost to him is that there are TWO sides to every story but as evidenced by his handling of this incident only accusations and falsehoods carry any kind of weight with him. His behavior can only be described as dysfunctional at best. I would have been more than happy to answer any and all of his questions and lay to rest any and all accusations that were made against me because I was in the right and know beyond any doubt that every thing I did was above reproach and no one has accused me of behaving inappropriately.

I must add that this whole incident of trying to do something good for another human being, much less an wounded member of our military forces and as a consequence facing false accusations and severe disciplinary actions against me has unfortunately led me to the conclusion that I can no longer safely make any kind gestures to anyone for fear of reprisals by someone that has an ax to grind against a Captain. It saddens me that Continental has fostered a working environment in which employees are encouraged to write someone up which was verified to me by the assistant Chief who once said to me "you should see some of the **** that comes across my desk" in a conversation concerning another matter. It seems to be that by the way he describes the write ups he has come across his desk it would seem that the appropriate action to take in ALL of these cases is to talk to all the parties involved to get "the rest of the story". That, in this case, was never done before legal action was taken against me for upgrading a wounded Marine to First Class.
 

Skippy

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you guys are blinded. the profession will never get back to the way it was. when has labor won a decent battle since 2001? when? exactly. when does it look like labor will win one again?... exactly

good article? sure, but what do you want it to do..... begin a movement for higher pay and better benefits? well unless it keeps scope strong, calls back all the furloughees everywhere, and or repeals the 65 law-- screw it,

SKIPPY
 

deadstick

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I was about to type "Too bad they don't let the Captains carry sidearms anymore." Then I remembered that it was 2009.

So if the lowly pilots are now, truly, lowly and insignificant as management wants everybody to think, let's ensure that "FA Error," "Caterer Error" (think Airplane!), "Crew Planning/Scheduling Error," and "Baggage Handler Error" are all added to the list of the NTSB's probable causes.
 

General Lee

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you guys are blinded. the profession will never get back to the way it was. when has labor won a decent battle since 2001? when? exactly. when does it look like labor will win one again?... exactly

good article? sure, but what do you want it to do..... begin a movement for higher pay and better benefits? well unless it keeps scope strong, calls back all the furloughees everywhere, and or repeals the 65 law-- screw it,

SKIPPY
With Obama in office (and gaining a second term coming up here), we all have a better chance of getting some of it back. When Bush the 2nd started his term, he stated "There will be NO strikes by Major Airlines this Summer (2001)." Obama will at least listen to the unions, and appoint Federal Mediators that are not pro-management Republicans. But, timing is everything, and if oil is again at $140 a barrel when you try to negotiate, it will be tough to gain a lot back. Obama is definately better than the McCain alternative when it comes to airlines.


Bye Bye--General Lee
 

pipers

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with obama in office (and gaining a second term coming up here), we all have a better chance of getting some of it back. When bush the 2nd started his term, he stated "there will be no strikes by major airlines this summer (2001)." obama will at least listen to the unions, and appoint federal mediators that are not pro-management republicans. But, timing is everything, and if oil is again at $140 a barrel when you try to negotiate, it will be tough to gain a lot back. Obama is definately better than the mccain alternative when it comes to airlines.


Bye bye--general lee
+1...
 

HA25

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Obama got my vote ONLY for his rhetoric in support of unions... if he fails us in this, he's lost it as fast as he got it.
 

Scope out RJ's

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Obama got my vote ONLY for his rhetoric in support of unions... if he fails us in this, he's lost it as fast as he got it.
Well said!
BTW, nice to see some real mods on here. The last group was terrible, and full of themselves!
 

HA25

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Well said!
BTW, nice to see some real mods on here. The last group was terrible, and full of themselves!
I'm far from perfect, but having been on here since almost day 1, I've seen it all and been thru it all.. I've developed a thick skin and decided that this forum deserves to be more civil (even I made my share of uncivil remarks in my time here).. so I am trying, one by one to make the posts here less ad hominem and more substance.
 

dispatchguy

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I am happy the captain in GUM stood his ground.

Had I had been that flights dispatcher, it wouldnt have moved until the CAPTAIN felt that all is as it should be in the back of that aircraft; well wait, isnt that how it should be anyway?
 

Wesb737fo

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CAL management at its finest once again. Wonder what the press would make of this?


On April 13, 2009 I was the Captain on Air Micronesia .....


.......wounded Marine to First Class.


Are you f'n kidding me. If CAL is taking action against this guy they are crazy.

I would love to buy that Captain a drink. Tell me there is more to this story because I can't believe people would react this way towards a wounded marine, and, after hearing the facts (as laid out in the post), I can't believe CAL management would take action against the Captain.
 

michael707767

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With Obama in office (and gaining a second term coming up here), we all have a better chance of getting some of it back. When Bush the 2nd started his term, he stated "There will be NO strikes by Major Airlines this Summer (2001)." Obama will at least listen to the unions, and appoint Federal Mediators that are not pro-management Republicans. But, timing is everything, and if oil is again at $140 a barrel when you try to negotiate, it will be tough to gain a lot back. Obama is definately better than the McCain alternative when it comes to airlines.
We will get nothing back with Obama in office. Sure he may be more pro labor. But he is well on his way to making the economy worse than it already is.

Me, I would rather have a president who is no friend to labor but brings us economic strength and does not want to bring socialism to our country.

Obama will set labor back even further that Bush did, and the problem is the whole country will go down the tubes with us.
 

Colonel Savage

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"Me, I would rather have a president who is no friend to labor but brings us economic strength and does not want to bring socialism to our country."

I doubt any of us will ever live to see that. Nice thought though.
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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Me, I would rather have a president who is no friend to labor but brings us economic strength and does not want to bring socialism to our country.

Yet you allow yourself to be forced into making a choice? Why?

Rather, why not a POTUS that brings economic strength and is a ffreind of labor?

what is econimic strength? A dispairitive gap? Repressed wages?

The socialism spectre is a distracting facade.... We live under a one party system... the Economic Party, with two factions within: Dems and GOP...


Back the USMC/Guam story....

Right out of airline managements playbook.... use a tool to beat down the CA's authority....



This is why I argue hats.... when we shuck the hat we blend into to rest of the low wage workers at the airport....

Super senior B747 or B777 Captains riding the employee bus from the parking lot to the terminal with third world people working for sh tty wages cleaning toilets... This is what management thinks of us...

Keep in mind... management has their own parking lot at the airport....
 
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