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Magenta Line September 4, 2009

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Well-known member
Sep 10, 2005
“If you look at the demographics of the base we have about 65% commuters in Newark. Of those 65% there are about rough justice [sic] 200 commuters from Houston to Newark. And if you are going to have a reduction, we didn’t want to force people out of Houston to backfill people that would be reduced here potentially…It’s to try to reduce some commuters…It’s an easier commute, more flights, better weather and fewer delays.” - Captain Fred Abbott, Newark Pilot Meeting, August 12, 2009

Today is Friday September 04, 2009 and there are 17 items for discussion.

Item 1: Note to Flight Ops Management – A Step In The Right Direction

A review of the October 2009 bid package indicates that maybe, just maybe, flight operations management has been listening. It appears that some pairings with eastbound leg times under eight hours, those historically staffed by Deadheading FOs, are now staffed with working IRO’s in both directions. Even some of the dreaded LIM – EWR legs will have working IROs. Bad news for all the chiropractors out there making a living correcting head-bob-induced neck injuries; good news for us.

While there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why flight operations picked certain European pairings over others, your LEC Officers certainly approve of the much needed safety enhancement for our crew and passengers. It is our position that all oceanic crossings should have working IRO’s in both directions.

To any of our pilots who may interpret any of these changes as a pay cut. Nothing transcends safety, absolutely nothing, and that includes pay. Flying IRO’s in both directions is the safest course of action, period.

Item 2: Well, is system bid a system bid, or is it all just smoke and mirrors?

Judging by the numberof e-mails and phone calls your LEC officers received this week, it would appear that several EWR Assistant Chief Pilots have been very busy making phone calls. We really do appreciate this new hands-on approach by our ACP’s to reconnect with their pilots and to see if there is anything they can do to help them out. But we must remind them that a contract is a contract and seniority is seniority. Of course we demand the contract be adhered to at all times.

Message to flight operations: If you really want to keep extra crews in EWR, we have a suggestion for you, rerun the bid and keep the pilots where the flying is! No need to worry. It’s permitted per the contract.

Item 3: One Year Anniversary of Pilot Furloughs – You Are Not Forgotten!

Next week will mark the one year anniversary of the unnecessary furlough of 147 of our union brothers and sisters. Not a day goes by that your union leadership doesn’t think about our furloughed pilots and their terrible plight.

Many of our furloughed brothers and sisters are still out of work, trying to do whatever they can to make ends meet and support their families. We want our furloughed brothers and sisters to know that virtually every decision made by your union leadership is made with significant consideration given to the short-term and long-term affects it will have on our furloughed pilots. We are doing everything possible to ensure not only the fastest possible return for our furloughed pilots, but also the building of an infrastructure which will ensure that you will return to a career not just a job. If there is anything your union leadership can do to help you, please contact us ASAP!

We urge all CAL pilots to follow the union’s lead and think about the effects of your actions on the furloughees and their potential recall.

Item 4: Oh Larry We Have Yet Another Letter For You

From EWR CA Jim LaRosa

Dear Sir,

I realize how busy you must be and to find time in your day to read emails is greatly appreciated. I'm quite sure I'm not the first email you've received regarding this topic.

I feel you need to get another line pilot’s perspective on this latest act. I'd like to consider myself a good employee. I rarely call in sick, I do very well in all proficiency evaluations, and I believe I’m a good diplomat for Continental Airlines. Having said that, I wouldn't consider myself a huge "union guy" either. I support my union, attended a few meetings, etc.. but, I'm not what one would consider a hard line union guy. I firmly believe in unions but, I believe in a good management team also. One that embraces its work force rather than irritating it.

I just feel my management team has let me down and has put in place an immeasurable anger amongst the group. Moreover, I have never, in my 11 years at CAL, seen a group so focused and yet, so angered at the same time. Not a combination I'd consider good for the job we do. It seems that every pilot I’ve flown with lately is so terribly distracted with this latest bid that they are having trouble focusing with the job at hand. They are scared about losing their homes, commuting now, and being away from their families. Most pilots made commitments to the EWR base and are now having to commute to IAH, CLE.

I, along with most EWR pilots, have done our job without fail and with a high regard for our airline.

This latest vindictive act against the EWR pilots has set something in motion that I truly feel is unnecessary. Most would agree that the union is more unified than any other time in history. This is true however, that does not mean the pilot group will act like anything other than that of true professionals. Working together to attain a goal is so much better than fighting to achieve it. This unity is embraced by all the bases and not only EWR.

So why the attack on EWR? It’s a bit disconcerting when the V.P. of Flt Ops who attended the EWR meeting, smiled when confronted with questions regarding the bid. I realize there was some difficulty in answering some tougher questions. Most would agree, given the scope of the answers, it is tough to compartmentalize personal beliefs with that of management directives. Answering with smirks however, is not conducive to professionalism. These are peoples lives at stake and when a representative of management laughs at the group, the reaction cannot be expected to be anything but pleasant. "What did you expect, you did this to yourselves" was the impression the meeting gave off. What did we do? Go to work, do our job day in and day out without incident or accident.

I realize the economy changes and management needs to make tough decisions. Priority is to continue operating at the highest and most efficient level. I, most, would accept that however, this decision did not appear to be for economic reasons rather than for vindictive ones.

All I can do is perform my job with the professionalism one would come to expect from a Continental Pilot. All I ask or hope for in return, is that my management team does the same. We have a great product at CAL and part of that product is its pilots.

Best Regards
Jim LaRosa
Capt 737 (FO soon)

Item 5: Labor Day – More then just marking the end of summer

The origin of the celebration of Labor Day started in the late 1800’s. It was created to honor the labor movement and to create a working man’s holiday.

Before this holiday became the un-official end of summer and mark of the dreaded beginning of the new school year, it represented a dynamic shift towards organized labor unions and their ability to make major enhancements in pay, working conditions, and, over all, quality of life.

Many of the early trade union leaders and its members, through bitter organizing campaigns and strikes, gave up their livelihoods and some even their lives. They did so to create and defend the right to organize workers, the right to collectively bargain, and most importantly the right to strike.

The first generation of leaders at ALPA went to great lengths to improve safety, pay, and working conditions. Their sacrifices resulted in a profession that, at its peak, was one of the most coveted careers in the world. In addition to these improvements, the first generation of leaders earned the respect of management, other work groups, the media and the general public.

Let’s take a moment this Monday to remember all those who helped make this country and industry better for all workers.

To those among us who embrace the “All about ME” concept (you know, the “ME, ME, ME, more about ME, but, hey, what about ME!”guys) maybe it’s time to start thinking more about the Collective WE and the benefits derived from a unified work group in pursuit of a new contract. Only then will WE achieve the significant gains WE Collectively all have earned!

Item 6: Repeat - Remember, Remember, the Eleventh of September

One of our Flight Attendants, Deb Calimano, has put a considerable amount of time and effort into obtaining a dedication for the pilots and flight attendants that died on 911. At Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, New Jersey, there is a nice dedication to the people, fireman and policeman who died that day—but nothing for the pilots and flight attendants who actually were the first to give their lives in the line of duty.

Deb successfully convinced one of the Essex County Executives, Joe DiVincenzo, Jr. to correct this oversight; now there will be an addition to the "Wall of Remembrance" at Eagle Rock Reservation. It is a 5 foot stretch of granite topped by a bronze pilot's cap with the names of the 33 flight crew members who died that day.

She asked us to help get the word out that there will be a ceremony this coming September 11th so that pilots who are off that day and who might want to attend this dedication may do so. The dedication site is only a 15 min. drive from EWR airport.

The dedication itself will take place at 800 a.m. The media will be there—please attend in uniform if possible.

If you have any questions, call or write Deb.

Her cell phone is 973-464-8640 and her email is [email protected]

Item 7: How would you grade your Chief Pilot and Assistant Chief Pilots?

We know school just started, but the grading period for our Chief Pilots and Assistant Chief pilots just ended. The CAL MEC needs your help in determining what grades they should receive on their upcoming report cards.

Please log on to the CAL MEC website at www.calmec.org and click on the report card link on the upper left hand corner. Not only will you be able to grade those at EWR, you will also have an opportunity to grade all Chief and Assistant Chief Pilots in the system. Your report cards must be returned by the end of September so we can have them completed and mailed to the homes of all concerned by early October.

Item 8: Summer LEC Times In The Crew Room

Your LEC Officers just received the summer edition of the LEC Times. Copies of the new LEC Times have been distributed throughout the EWR Crew Room. Please pick up a copy and enjoy the many good articles contained in this edition. You can also view or download a copy of the current and all archived editions of the LEC Times on the CAL MEC website at www.calmec.org. Click on the “Communications Committee” link on the left side of the page.

Item 9: Amerijet Strike

The Amerijet Strike that we told you about earlier this week is still ongoing. The Amerijet pilots are holding the line. Many ALPA MEC’s and LEC’s, along with many other pilot unions, have given their full support to the striking Amerijet pilots.
Some of our pilots have visited and walked the picket line in support of the Amerijet pilots and their quest of a fair and equitable contract: one that includes sanitary conditions in the work place. The picket line is still being manned 24/7.
The following AP Video News Report highlights the inhumane conditions.


If you will be in the MIA area and you want to show your support for the Amerijet pilots, please visit them at:

AmeriJet International
6185 NW 18 St Building 716-B
Miami, FL33142

Item 10: LC Meeting Minutes

The unofficial LC meeting minutes from our last LC meeting on August 12th are included as an attached file to this email.

Item 11: Repeat - Anyone for a Labor Day Parade & March?

The New York City Central Labor Council has announced the 2009 Labor Day Parade & March kicking off Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 1000 a.m. with a traditional march up Fifth Avenue and 44th Street (ending at 72nd Street). ALPA has been invited to participate along with thousands of other proud union card carrying working men and women. The parade grandstand will be located at 69th Street and 5th Avenue.

Assembly Location: East 48th St. & 5th Ave. between 5th Ave. & Madison Ave.

March Time:1:30PM

We are still receiving info from the NYC Central Labor Council about assembly times. For further information please contact Continental’s National SPSC member Capt. Mike Jones at [email protected].

Item 12: Repeat—Cleveland Air Show: Is Your Family Aware?

The Cleveland Airshow runs September 5-7 and the CALMEC will be there. While this is not a major family-awareness event, it does have a family-awareness component to it. Your CALMEC will have a tent set up on the flightline where many of your officers will be present throughout the days. The “CAL Families for Change” (CAFC) will be there as well to provide information on their organization and to recruit new members. Be sure you and your family stop by and say hello.

Item 13: Repeat— CAL Families For Change

The momentum is gathering for the organization known as “The CAL Families For Change”. This organization, founded by Michelle Bixby, Trish Riggs, Lori Landburg, Janelle O’Connell, and Casey Radican, was created to support and educate the families of our pilots who may be experiencing Continental management’s strong-arm tactics for the first time. In just a few weeks, CAL Families For Change has spun up and is ready for action.

As part of their information gathering efforts, Michelle and Trish asked Fred Abbott for permission to attend his recent meeting with the IAH pilots. When Fred discovered that his attempts to co-opt them and have them work for management instead of the pilots and their families failed, he told them they would not be welcome at the IAH meeting. They showed up in EWR anyway.

Their first major awareness event will be at the Cleveland Airshow, September 5-7. Please bring your family and stop by and say hello. There will be ongoing presentations on the union and all the resources available to families both from ALPA and the CAFC.

For further information, please contact Michelle Bixby at: 281.304.6687 or [email protected]

Trish Riggs may be contacted at 830.249.1242 or [email protected]

Item 14: Repeat—It Really is That Simple: Bid All of Your Vacation

Vacation bidding will be upon us soon and we have a simple message: BIDALL OF IT, ANDBIDALL OF IT AS ANNUAL VACATION!

We have pilots on furlough. If every pilot bid every week they were entitled to as annual (not monthly) vacation, most of our hostages could come home to us. Yes, you may have to put off your new bass boat another month but these are our brothers and sisters with families to care for and not bidding all of your vacation hurts them.

This is going to be a major issue this fall for your EWR LEC reps. An educational campaign is being created and it’s going to highlight both the problems caused by not bidding all of your vacation and the benefits to be gained by bidding it all. Remember, you must bid all of your vacation as annual vacation or it will NOT be counted in next year’s staffing formula.

Don’t be insensitive to our furloughees; BID IT ALL!

Item 15: Repeat—Eye to Tie

A large segment of our pilot group bemoans our lowly standing among unionized carriers and often wonders aloud what we can do to fix this problem.

Sometimes the simplest things are best and one of the simplest is to wear the ALPA pin on your tie. Management does look at us and they keep a rough count. When you wear your pin, you are not swearing allegiance to John Prater or the ALPA bureaucracy—you are showing solidarity with your fellow pilots—some of whom are now on the street. The pin says, “I belong” and tells management that their days of dominance over us are finished.

This may be hard to believe but at many other ALPA carriers, you are a “slick-tie” at your own peril. These guys are shunned when they show up to fly without the in.

It is our duty as union pilots to speak to our “slick-tied” friends and get them to see the error of their ways. This does not have to be difficult or uncomfortable—it can be a chat among friends—but, ultimately, it has to be done if we are to advance beyond the miserable garbage that passes for a contract here at Continental.

Put your differences with ALPA aside and wear the pin; it may be a baby-step—but it’s a baby-step on the way to the best contract ever.

By the way, we have seen more pins on ties and lapels in EWR than at any time in the past—and the difference is HUGE. You guys are doing a great job! Please keep it up!

Item 16: Request for Committee Volunteers

All of our committees need volunteers. If you are one of the many somewhat selfish and untested among us, if you are interested in committee work, if you have special artistic talents of any kind, or if you just like to chew the legs off your dining room table, we want you to help your fellow EWR pilots. If you are interested or have previously expressed interest via e-mail or a phone call, please confirm your continuing interest in an e-mail to Captain Kaye Riggs, Secretary-Treasurer, LEC 170 at [email protected]. Please put your name and the word “Volunteer” in the subject line.

Item 17: Next Meetings

Our next local council meeting has not yet been scheduled but should occur in October.

Our next MEC meeting has not yet been scheduled but should occur in November.

As we close this week, please remember our 147 hostages and their families.
“It’s good for the company to have a unified pilot force…If you guys are of all one mind then it does help the negotiations.” - Captain Fred Abbott, Newark Pilot Meeting, August 12, 2009

Captain Jayson Baron, EWR Council 170 Chairman
[email protected]
610 442-3817

First Officer Tara Cook, EWR Council 170 Vice Chairman
[email protected]
610 220-8904

Captain Kaye Riggs, EWR Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer
[email protected]
830 431-0450

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