Skywest/asa In The Slc Tribune

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Halo_RJdriver

Skywest/ASA In The SLC Tribune

Skywest, ASA: An odd couple

Different cultures: There are disparities in the approach to labor negotiations, as well as salaries and benefits

By Paul Beebe
The Salt Lake Tribune

If SkyWest Inc.'s acquisition of Atlantic Southeast Airlines from Delta Air Lines is completed next month, it will be a marriage of two companies with opposite views of organized labor.
St. George-based SkyWest has worked hard during its 33-year history to keep unions at bay. None of its 7,800 SkyWest Airlines employees belongs to a bargaining organization.
By contrast, Atlanta-based ASA, with 5,600 workers, is more tolerant of labor unions. Its 1,700 pilots and 1,000 flight attendants are members of the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants.
What this means is that union and non-union pilots with equal training and similar jobs will work under different pay scales and unequal benefits. ASA pilots earn more than their non-union SkyWest counterparts - although the disparity is not as great as some pilots believe, according to a Salt Lake Tribune comparison of salaries. But without union-negotiated grievance procedures to protect them, SkyWest pilots will have less control over their pay rates, benefits and work rules.
Talk is already circulating that SkyWest pilots will launch another effort to unionize their ranks. Efforts in 2004 and four years earlier failed. And the $425 million acquisition of ASA could be just the event that organizers need to make their case.
The pay disparities aren't likely to disappear. Michael Kraupp, SkyWest's vice president of finance, said the company's practice of being fair to employees while maintaining tight controls on labor costs doesn't mean pay scales will be equal.
"We do not" plan to reduce the disparities, Kraupp said, adding that pay differences between the companies are "irrelevant."
"We are going to run those companies as separate entities. Each entity will do something that fits what they are doing. At the end of the day those may be different," he said.
The deal, announced Monday, will make SkyWest, which traditionally serves small and mid-sized airports in the west and Midwest, the largest regional airline in the United States. Operating separately, SkyWest and ASA will fly to cities from California to Maine and several Canadian provinces.
Although SkyWest Chairman Jerry Atkin will serve as chief executive officer of both airlines, they will be different companies with dissimilar cultures. SkyWest is known as a tightly run outfit that makes money, unlike many airlines. ASA gets poor marks for on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's August air travel consumer report.
While Atkin will live in St. George, ASA's management and headquarters will stay in Atlanta. Atkin has the final say, but he will permit ASA to continue negotiations with pilots and flight attendants, whose labor contracts expired in 2002 and 2003.
"We are running the companies as separate entities, so SkyWest will not step in and interject during the negotiations. We will allow the competent management at ASA to continue the negotiations that are ongoing," Kraupp said.
Despite their union status, ASA pilots do not earn substantially more than SkyWest pilots. First-year SkyWest jet captains earn $56 an hour and ASA pilots are paid $60 an hour , or about 7 percent more, according to http://www.willflyforfood.cc, an Internet site that gathers information for pilots preparing for job interviews. After 18 years, the gap widens to about 11 percent - $93 an hour at SkyWest versus $103 at ASA.

The disparity doesn't seem to bother several SkyWest pilots, who didn't want their names printed. One pilot said his seniority is more important than pay. Another worried that SkyWest may try to play pilots at one airline against the other to win concessions - a possibility Atkin dismissed during a phone conference with stock analysts earlier this week.
A third pilot said he doesn't begrudge someone at a different airline earning more than him.
"That's the way the cookie crumbles in this industry," he said.
"I've agreed to work for the rates we're paid," another pilot said. "But if they were to strong-arm me to work for less benefits and pay, that would be wrong.
"I don't think it's likely to happen, but it's a possibility. I think the management will do the right thing," the pilot said
.

ASA pilots, who have been negotiating a new contract for three years, are more open about their feelings. Bob Arnold, chairman of the ASA unit of the pilots union, said ASA pilots are "cautiously" looking forward to SkyWest after three years of fruitless wrangling over a new labor contract.
"We look forward to quickly wrapping up our efforts to secure a collective bargaining agreement that reflects our value and contributions to the success of our carrier," Arnold wrote in a statement released Tuesday.
Tom Zerbarini, vice chairman of the unit, said he'll be happy to work for SkyWest. It's a "very profitable company" with a "great management team," he said.
"It's kind of multi-faceted in what we feel. Delta going into bankruptcy is looking more likely every day," Zerbarini said. "This gives us kind of an ability to skirt that."
pbeebe@sltrib.com


Where did we get these cheese dick pilots???? I now know why we don't have any form of a spine in our pilot group.
 
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LAXSaabdude

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I can see why they don't want their names printed. Pathetic.

LAXSaabdude.
 

atrdriver

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Halo_RJdriver said:
"We are running the companies as separate entities, so SkyWest will not step in and interject during the negotiations. We will allow the competent management at ASA to continue the negotiations that are ongoing," Kraupp said.
If this guy REALLY thinks that the management at ASA is competent then Atkin really has some problems on his hands. The only way that they are going to fix this place and maximize their profits is going to be cleaning house in ATL, or teaching those currently in the ASA GO how to be managers and LEADERS.
 

~~~^~~~

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If Michael Boyd knows more about ASA than Atkin, we're in trouble



Halo_RJdriver said:
ASA gets poor marks for on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's August air travel consumer report.

While Atkin will live in St. George, ASA's management and headquarters will stay in Atlanta.

"We are running the companies as separate entities, so SkyWest will not step in and interject during the negotiations. We will allow the competent
Halo_RJdriver said:
management at ASA to continue the negotiations that are ongoing,"

Michael Boyd said:
[font=Tahoma, Verdan, Lucida]ASA: The Red-Headed Stepchild.[/font][font=Tahoma, Verdan, Lucida] That leaves Skywest the owner of ASA, an operation that is as fundamentally different from Skywest as a coal barge is from a luxury cruise ship.

On the surface, ASA just brings problems to the Skywest table.
[/font]

[font=Tahoma, Verdan, Lucida]Skywest is arguably one of the best-managed corporations, let alone best-managed aviation companies, in the country. Despite the strains of growth over the past three years, it has managed to maintain a culture of clean airplanes, good service, and rational management. The fact that the company remains entirely non-union is a testament to its leadership. Employees seek out union representation when they feel they have legitimate doubts about some aspects of how their airline is run. These, apparently, are not a large part of the work environment at Skywest.

[/font]​
[font=Tahoma, Verdan, Lucida]ASA, on the other hand, has been, to put it mildly, service-challenged. Small communities throughout the South over the years have a wide range of stories they can relate regarding service quality that at times could only be described as rivaling that of Aeroflot. Concourse C at ATL (the part occupied by ASA) was at one time a living case study in customer service that was "on-automatic," which for all intents and purposes indicated that ASA management had been on a permanent leave of absence. [/font]
ASA's management is known for its poor performance. According to employee surveys, less than 10% of ASA's employees and less than 8% of the Pilots even trust management to be honest. Please tell me that Atking has seen the results of the ASA Employee survey ( someone e-mail them to him )

Why is SkyWest planning on keeping anyone associated with running the worst performing airline in North America? Why keep managers when SkyWest could clean house, get rid of the expensive duplication, improve employee morale, cut costs and improve service?
 
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Halo_RJdriver

~~~^~~~ said:

Why is SkyWest planning on keeping anyone associated with running the worst performing airline in North America? Why keep managers when SkyWest could clean house, get rid of the expensive duplication, improve employee morale, cut costs and improve service?


Who knows?

Email skywest HQ.

Maybe they will wake up..

Between both airlines now we have 3 years each with nothing on the table....

If you guys can show our fence sitters how to negoitate a real contract we will all make some headway.
 
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