I would not expect Freedom airlines to be hiring off the street for at least a few years. The due date for Mesa pilots to bid over to Freedom is May 6th. There is a steady supply of students at Mesa's San Juan program who will probably fill the right seats for the foreseeable future. The Bombardier strike has will also affect the start-up timetable.
Don't expect to make any friends if you go to Freedom either. It is opposed by ALPA groups at Mesa and America West and has resulted in the Mesa CEO being branded the next Frank Lorenzo by ALPA national. The bottom line is that Freedom is being created by Mesa to try and get away from ALPA.
FYI, if you don't know, Freedom is a non-union carrier being started by Mesa Air Group to operate the CRJ 700/900 as America West Express. At first the reasoning behind the creation was that Mesa's agreement with USAirways prevented it from operating RJs larger than 50 seats, no matter who the codeshare was with. After the USAirways MEC dropped the limitation, the Mesa CEO said he was still going through with it because he felt ALPA was being unreasonable in their initial pay proposals for the 700s and 900s. Mesa pilots want the 700s and 900s kept on the Mesa operating certificate.
It is pretty clear that Freedom Air will be used by airline managements around the industry to circumvent the CBA's of both Major and Regional Airlines. If you want a career at Freedom Air go there, but if you have any hopes of moving on to a major I would not recommend it.
P.S. Don't be fooled by anything Freedom Air management tells you, you need the protections that a labor union offers. There is a reason they don't want the union on the property, and it has nothing to do with making life better for the pilots.
Freedom is the result of poor scope agreements from all three airliners involved, Mesa, America West, and US Air. It started because of US Airways scope which was too restrictive. Now that US Airways has backed off neither Mesa nor America West's scope is strong enough to prevent 51+ seat CRJs from going to Freedom and flying as America West Express.
Mesa's ALPA is very opposed to the creation of Freedom for three reasons. First it takes away advancement from Mesa pilots. Pilots that choose to stay at Mesa will never fly anything with more then 50 seats. Second, the new airline will start with no union. Although JO has stated that the pilots may form a union in the future, it may be very difficult to do so. Lastly, with Mesa having two pilot groups it may be possible to whipsaw the pilot groups and have them compete against each other. Which ever pilot group works for less gets the growth.
I doubt that anyone will be branded a scab or have trouble getting hired at the majors because they worked for Freedom. Freedom airlines is the result of market forces and weak scope, it's not the fault of the pilots. Calling someone a scab should be reserved for when a picket line is actually crossed.
If anything can be learned from this situation is that scope is not just for the majors. In the future scope will become important to regional airlines as they move towards larger equipment and all jet fleets. Look at what is happening at Coex. Routes and equipment that used to be flown by Coex pilots are now flown by Gulfstream and Commutair (not Colgan . )
The fact is that scope clauses put an artifical constraint that inevitably fails in the market.
As with many of the discussions we have on this board, to think that JO is doing this based on pilot issues would be a misnomer. You have to remember that he is flying for two of the weakest majors who have scope clauses that restrict him for management of his business.
If it had not been for the government money, America West would likely have failed in the first month post 9/11. The closing of National also impacted U severely and hence JO.
It is obvious to those on the outside that he is taking steps to preserve what he has and reduce his reliance on his two major affiliates. It makes sense and that is what needs to happen.
To say that the people who choose to go work at this new entry are scabs or lesser pilots is ludicrous. So far scope and having a major union represent regional pilots is not working out very well anyway.
When referring to the Coex issue I assume you meant to say Gulfstream and Commutair, not Gulfstream and Colgan. Colgan is with Airways now.
I can't speak for anything Gulfstream is doing but Commutair is not taking over any routes that used to be operated by Coex. Nor are they doing anything under the direction of Continental management.
Commutair is a 100% independent company that pays Continental for the right to use the Continental logo and be a part of the Continental reservation system. Much of that pay is the form of slots for Coex at HPN that are owned by Commutair (hence the sudden increase in HPN flights for Coex right after the deal with Commutair was struck). Everything Commutair does it does on its own. Continental is so univolved in what Commutair is doing that it will not even do any advertising for Commutair. Every destination Commutair serves it had served at one point in time as USAirways Express. Every destination Commutair serves, it has to advertise and make money on its own with no help or direction from Continental. Continental is so distanced from Commutair that even though our pilots are listed in the Continental system and have Continental IDs, we are not allowed to sit in the cockpit on Continental or Coex flights. We are one of the few, if not only, regional airline that does not have cockpit priviledges (sp?) with their major airline codeshare partner.
I know there are many paranoid Coex pilots that think Continental management has an investment in Commutair (it doesn't, not one cent, zero, zip, nada) and is using it to take over Coex routes (Name one route, ONE, that Commutair has taken over). The fact is Commutair is no threat to Coex. How on earth can a sane person think a Beech 1900 is a threat to an RJ?! To be truthful I would bet everyone at Commutair would love Continental to make an investment. But believe me, there is none at all. I hope that clarifies things a bit on the Commutair side.
Also note that not one former Coex airplane is on property on Commutair. All of our BE-1900s were delivered factory new to Commutair in 2000. And since the downsizing in August of last year, we still ten of those new birds parked and ready to be put back on the certificate as we grow again, so there will be no need for any former Coex A/C at Commutair.
It seems to be the same argument with different pilot groups.. scabbing. As we know, anyone who flies an airplane who was not on the seniority list with pilots out on furlough from the seniority list is a scab. A scab is also someone who crosses the picket line.
I think the new generation of scabbing is when an airline reduces its flying, and then its management pays a contract (third tier) airline to fly the same routes. In that case that airline becomes scab pilots.. Why, it is not helping an airline supplement operations b/c they cannot keep up with current demand (which was the original intention when "contract" flying originated.) Now these carriers have become the whipsaw for many pilot groups. Management says look, if you want to save your jobs, you are going to have to take concessions, or we will let this contract carrier take all the flying. So it becomes "to save your REMAINING JOBS, you must.... (insert concessions here.)" The saddest thing about it, the carriers being used to whipsaw other carriers are ALPA represented carriers. This union wants to be the national union of all piolts, yet they are totally mismanaging the pilot groups that currently have CHOOSEN them for representation.
Where MESA gets the bad rap, is they are continually the airline of U groups choice to whipsaw the U wo's. At negotions why do they bring MESA's contract to the table.. b/c they have a horrible contract, and they are ALPA represented pilot group. Now correct me if I am wrong, but in comes a new operating certificate Freedom Air, so that MESA group can now begin to whipsaw their already weak pilots group even further with the non-union pilot group that will show up and probably fly jets for $14/hour. And the bidding will begin, whoever gets the lowest contract, MESA group will award them with all the flying.
If someone has the current MESA pay rates, please post them.
Make ALPA accountable. Accountable for what? Mesa's contract? The Mesa MEC negotiated that contract with Mesa's management.
If you're dissastisfied with what is happening at your company, take it up with your MEC. You accuse ALPA of "mismanaging" their pilot groups. Each pilot group, through it's MEC, manages itself. Perhaps a review of ALPA's CBLs would help you understand how things work. Or perhaps you've swallowed the RJDC's rhetoric that ALPA is the root of all the problems at the regionals. Have you thought of asking to make the RJDC accountable? Ask them to make their finances public, so the supporters and contributers can see where their money is going? See if you get an answer.
There will always be pilot wannabes that will, as you put it, "show up and fly jets for $14/hr", and therin lies the rub. Until each individual pilot holds him or herself accountable, there is nothing that ALPA, the RJDC, the WOs, or anyone else can do about that.
Also, I find it interesting that all accross this board, there are neophyte pilots that have suddenly become experts on "scabs" and "scabbing".
ALPA is the root cause of the entire mess we are in today with regards to mainline vs. regional pilots. ALPA has never taken the lead in representing all of its dues paying members, and has never taken steps to prevent the whip-sawing of pilot groups - regionals vs mainline/ old vs young, etc. For example, ALPA could have years ago establlished a baseline salary for ever seat in every upstart aircraft, leveling the playing field and making a realistic starting point for all ALPA represented companies. ALPA should have stronlgly encouraged all mainline companies to unite to establish solid, maintainable scope clauses. ALPA should have insisted and taken the lead by conducting a national work to rule campaign to fight off the likes of Frank Lorenzo, Steven Wolf, et. al.
This is just a few examples of actions an organization that truly desired to represent the best interest of professional pilots could have taken to prevent the situation we find ourselves in today, however actions that require guts, creative thinking and LEADERSHIP have never been associated with ALPA. In fact the way ALPA conducts its business it facilitates such comments as yours referring to the contract negotiated and accepted by the pilots at each MEC. That works well execpt when ALPA allows the votes to be counted by domicile or individual subsidiary, with the threat of elimination of jobs at locations that vote against the contract. (Exactly what happened when AMR negotiated a 16yr contract with ALPA MEC at Eagle, threatening elimination of any subsidiary that failed to ratify!) Yep, ALPA is the problem, and without some real leadership and major changes it will always be the problem.
Well I must go now. My silver jet is waiting for me to fly to Paris
"It seems to be the same argument with different pilot groups.. scabbing. As we know, anyone who flies an airplane who was not on the seniority list with pilots out on furlough from the seniority list is a scab. A scab is also someone who crosses the picket line."
One thing you have right is a "scab is also someone who crosses the picket line." However, your first comment would mean, if you were correct, that all pilots flying routes that were formerly flown by pilots now on furlough would be scabs. Wouldn't that be rediculous now? That would make the pilots flying their assigned trips at the commuters SCABS because major airline pilots are on the street that formerly flew those trips on a big airplane.
There are all sorts of misguided folks who would like to call people different names based on their updated and personal defenition of a term. It holds no water with anyone that has a command on the history of the industry.
NEDude: Everything you say about Commutair is true. It's Gulfstream that is using former Coex Beach 1900s to fly routes in Florida. However, you bring up a good point. Where should the line be drawn? Yes, right now Commutair and Gulfstream don't have a large effect on Coex's flying, but what is going to happen if Coex's pilots wins significantly higher rates on their next contract? How easy would it be to farm out even more flying to Commutair and Gulfstream in order to save money on labor costs? That is why regional airlines need scope.
Well, everyone knows ALPA is not the only factor in job security or career expectations. ALPA isn't the problem, it's that pesky free market economy that allows us to get on silver jets to Paris rather than giude an ox cart to the market. Market forces will alway throw a wrench in labor's utopian dreams, and there will always be change to deal with.
Your son might be the first person to tell you ALPA is only as good as the individual pilots at the PARTICULAR airline. Then, even the best group of pilots will be effected in a LARGE degree by the management structure and corporate culture at the airline. Each airline has it's own limits on what it can provide to the workgroups based on market factors. Then, each airline has it's own umbrella it operates under, depending on codeshare, international alliance, or government monopoly restrictions that will also upset "perfect world" desires.
I've worked at three different ALPA airlines, and each was drastically different because it was a different airline. Not the least suprising was how each MEC functioned and operated differently within the confines/restraints of the particular company.
"Make ALPA accountable. Accountable for what? Mesa's contract? The Mesa MEC negotiated that contract with Mesa's management."
Let me bring you up to speed.. for example, with LOA 81, a document created with help and blessing of ALPA National. It is in violation of the wo's alter-ego clause, it would allow pilots to be on furlough from their company, while pilots from another pilot's group are brought on property to fly the furloughed pilots companies equipment. Potomac Air was found (legally) just a few months ago to be in violation of the wo' alter ego clause, what has changed since then that would prompt ALPA to allow U mainline MEC to try again. Ok, I will leave it with those two examples and stop there. So, if ALPA wanted to protect our profession and be a National representation of airline pilots, they would not aid in the creation of LOA that is in blatant violation of one of the pilot bodies they represent contract, and put the two groups head to head where they then step aside. No, what ALPA would do is point out how the LOA is in violation of one of their work groups contract and cannot be endorsed by them as written (last time I checked, Duane Woerth signature goes on everyones contracts and and ALPA endorsed documents.) I feel they are doing us no favors by not protecting our future. They should work towards national pay rates for our profession..
EAP writes "However, your first comment would mean, if you were correct, that all pilots flying routes that were formerly flown by pilots now on furlough would be scabs. Wouldn't that be rediculous now? That would make the pilots flying their assigned trips at the commuters SCABS because major airline pilots are on the street that formerly flew those trips on a big airplane."
I wrote "As we know, anyone who flies an airplane who was not on the seniority list with pilots out on furlough from the seniority list is a scab." How would you feel if you were furloughed, and in the next room over they have a class full of guys in training? Would you give them pointers on your equipment.. no. You just tell me what they are if they are... I made no comments about "commuter" pilots being scabs, that is a big definition to try and figure out who you are talking about. But what I am saying is not name calling, but saying that our union has put us in precarious positions by not having a national picture. I don't doubt some of the flying I have done could be by someone's stretch of the definition be scabbing.. and I just hate that thought. It has caused me to think outside of the box and not just think about my personal career, I just want to ensure by taking a job now that I am not shooting myself in the foot for what I considered to be my future dream job with a major. Please take no offense to my opinion, its just that an opinion.
Well, Dad...since you believe ALPA is the root cause of the entire mess we are in today..what do you propose as to the solution? You mention something about ALPA years ago should have established a baseline salary for every seat in every upstart aircraft. Boy, is that dreaming. I would like to hear how you propose that could have been effected. Simply by waving a magic wand and saying, "I say, so it is so". I'm sure each airline company's management would love to know that ALPA has the power to do that. And what steps do you propose ALPA take to prevent the whip-sawing of pilot groups? That is a management tactic, and if management is determined enough to undermine the efforts of it's union pilots, there will always be another Freedom Air. How does ALPA prevent that? Wave that same magic wand and declare "there can be no non-ALPA carriers...not nowhere, not nohow". Nope, there will always be some pilots lining up for those $14/hr jet jobs.
Again, I suggest you read the ALPA CBLs. Are you perhaps current or former ALPA?
The bottom line is airline companies are going to do business the way they see fit. It's then up to the union to take the steps necessary to see that their contract is upheld. I see all this venom directed at ALPA for all that's "wrong" with the industry. Wake up. Your venom and energies are drastically misplaced.
Old DAD has been around this business for almost three decades, military and civilian. I have worked for a wide variety of organizations and been non-union, in a "pilots group", ALPA and will finish up in a few years with the biggest and best-you can probably figure it out. I have read "Flying The Line" and feel relatively familiar with ALPA's basic organization. The actions I have suggested for ALPA are not utopian, they are actions an organization that is supposedly representing the best interest of the most professional of professions, could have and still can take. Leaders establish the goals and objectives, then motivate and lead the members to achieve or exceed them. This is called LEADERSHIP!! A favorite saying from my earliest career was "LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY". Well my fellow aviator where do you fit in.
There will never be a perfect airline with a perfect contract, at least not here on earth. I do believe though that with an aggressive organization that is willing to "think out of the box", make some waves and earn the respect of its members the aviation career of the future can be as good or better than the past. Without LEADERSHIP pilots will be easy pickings for the unethical SOB's that make up the majority of airline managent.
What do you propose we do, continue doing what we have done in the past and follow ALPA to all those good $14.00 per hour jobs. I hope not.
"I've got a baaaaaad feeling about this one boys".
Allright I won't try and diseminate the arguments posted above because, to be honest, I'm still trying to gather the facts myself - don't flame me if you disagree.
Seems to me any lower paid pilot group represents a treat to the future growth of those that have fought for industry leading contracts. I'm sure United, Delta, Continental, etc would be happy to explore other regional options if it's going to save them money. With the regional pay rates bar being inched along I'm sure it's on their minds. Then along comes MESA. I'm very happy where I'm at (one of the higher paying regionals) but do not like what I'm seeing over there (MESA).
I say this because I've been told our company MEC has had meetings with ALPA very recently with regards to MESA. I wish I could provide more detail to back this up but I think it makes perfect sense as to why.
Don't sell yourselves short and dilute the market with lower paid pilots. I can only imagine the crew room talk at MESA these days with these 50, 70, even 90 seat jets being talked about, all at the expense of the other regionals who have fough hard to eek out a better QOL bit by bit.
I think the problem many have with Freedom is the fact they are being created specifically as a way to get around dealing with ALPA, and no other reason. The other factor is that the management group that is creating them already owns three other airlines (Mesa, Air Midwest, CC Air) and is creating Freedom to provide the same service that the other three already provide.
When management owns multiple groups that provide the same service but under different working contracts, that is when you get into the potential whipsawing issue and where I think the unions have a legitimate complaint. I think pilolts at ALG, PSA and PDT also have legitimate worries about being whipsawed against eachother, as well as ASA and Comair. Lorenzo began to create a similar situation with Continental and New York Air. They are all so-called "alter-ego" airlines owned by the same corporation.
I think this is a seperate issue than two independent companies competing for the same contract. For instance I don't think there is anything wrong with Mesa competing with Trans States for USAirways Express flying. Or if it ever came down to it, Commutair competing with Express Jet for Continental Express/Connection flying. This is pure free enterprise that we see in all capitolist markets. Typically the company with the lowest bid gets the job. While I am not fond of this, it is a risk in a free enterprise market. I my mind it is similar to the aging high paid sports star being released or traded in favor of a younger, lower paid player who plays at a similar level. It sucks for the older guy, but that is how the American free enterprise system works.
Maybe I am seeing this wrong and I am open to someone trying to change my opinion, but that is how I see it.
But the issue of Mesa Air Group using four airlines which they own, and three different pilot groups (Air Midwest and Mesa share the same pilot group for those of you who don't know), to compete against each other for the same thing is a scary prospect and one that I believe ALPA should be fighting against.