So if a National Seniority List is a pipe dream…

spiffomatic

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First of all let’s face it, making one National List come together is like solving the problems of the Middle East over lunch, and no Pilot group with an above average contract will want in, so likely more than 50% will always be against at any given point for one reason or another.

So forget it. How about something that could help nearly as much as can be optionally done by any pilot group as they renew their contract, and which strengthens their pilot group if they choose it.

What’s the root issue with the desire for one list? Leverage for QOL issues, and job/pay stability. Does anything else really matter? The first is tough to come by and the second is a mirage in this post-deregulation era.

Barring one list, what could bring both to a greater level than we currently “enjoy”?

My answer is this: Pay Rates. Take every steep pay scale out there and tilt it down a little. i.e., (assuming no net cost or gain to or by the company) bring down the top level pay marginally, and bring up the bottom pay a bunch. Especially at Legacy carriers where most pilots are at or near the top pay (and a relatively small percentage are at the bottom pay), this would not drastically decrease top pay since a few dollars off the top few years (many pilots) can fund more than a few dollars added to year 1-5 pay (not many pilots). Perhaps the tilt would have to be greater at a younger company.

Why do this? Well first of all, what’s a major reason why a dissatisfied pilot is reluctant to leave an airline that’s either headed the wrong direction, or not a good fit for their situation? It’s the abysmal probationary first year pay at every airline. Seniority locks you in, but in reality, it’s PAY that locks you in. “Payin yer dues” the first year is from a bygone era when you knew the gravy train would take off the next year and never stop. Nobody complained. It is now nothing more than dangerous antiquated custom, an enormous slap in the face to experience, and an excessive disincentive to anyone wanting to leave their company for an equivalent other company (Legacy to Legacy, Regional to Regional).

What’s the benefit to the pilots? First, when airlines are hiring, it would make it easier to leave a hostile company for a better one, knowing that the bills could be paid. It would make it easier to stop a life-draining 2 leg commute that didn’t exist until your company closed your base after you settled in – for the 5th time. Second, any pilot group that took this tack would find themselves better situated to attract good people who have left bad companies. Assuming pilot involvement in the HR hiring process, better early pay would equal more interest in the company and more control over the hiring of well qualified pilots. Finally, the 10-20k+ hour pilots on the street after a company liquidates are currently S.O.L. in this airline pay environment. There will be more furloughs or Ch 7s in the future and this will allow those pilots to more realistically stay in the industry (if they desire) and be able to make a livable wage and pay the bills. I’m not saying they won’t experience a loss in QOL, but a (as a random example) $80/hr first year pay goes a lot further than, say Continental’s $31/hr first year or US Airways’ $25/hr. It would make a world of difference and could probably be done for a few dollars off the top end pay rates.

These are just some thoughts. There are few other professions where a necessary job search has the potential to wreak so much havoc on a person’s life and family. Other professions value experience. Pilots have stuck it to themselves, since we set our own pay distribution. A more egalitarian pay distribution would benefit us all.

Thoughts/Comments are appreciated.

And if nothing else, perhaps the age 65’ers and those hunkered down at the top of the pay scale owe this bone to those more junior.
 

bluebound

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Wow, for a moment there I thought I was reading one of Obama's speaches. "Let me protect you from the mean corporations, just give me some of your pay check". Why do you feel that you deserve something extrodinary because you may have worked somewhere for a given period of time. Talk about redidtribution of wealth (or seniority). This is the free market. Grow up, stop complaining and go to work.
 

ex j-41

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Pay spread should be 1-5 years tops. No reason why a senior captain should make double what a junior captain does. Close the gap.
All Union carriers should have the same pay for that aircraft type.

Management should be able to make a profit without employees taking a pay cut. If our pay was the same industry wide it takes the pilot pay cuts out of the mix.
 

spiffomatic

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Are you kidding Bluebound?

You're obviously safe and secure at your airline and haven't been at United, US Airways, Northwest or any of the many airlines with thousands of pilots facing the loaded gun of liquidation.

I'm talking about a pilot group, as a whole choosing to create a payscale that still compensates the senior people well - very well - and still increases substantially over time. It doesn't leave any money on the table relative to whatever the former pay spread was - but it stops short of the abysmal lows at the bottom few years of the payscale. Hardly your "redidtribution of wealth" as you state. How bad do YOU want to screw your first year guys.... don't worry, I'm sure you'll buy them the first drink and it'll be all right.

I'm not exactly at the bottom end of my pay scale, and I don't expect my company to go out of business any time soon, but I'd put money on the fact that most people will face the reality of their company going under over the course of a 20-40 year career.

A lawyer doesn't make $25k the first year at a new firm. A doctor doesn't join a new practice making $25k the first year after he moves or his old practice closes. WE CHOOSE to allow our first year pilots to make a junk wage, mostly because that's the way it's always been done, so it must be OK.

Bring some sanity to the first year (and first few years) of pay and you might just return a greater level of respectability to this profession.
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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One of the big problems is the "pay your dues" of professionals.....

Generally, for the first half of a pilots career he is at the regionals or junior at a major. There are exceptions... So for the first half the pilot makes weak wages... we s/he finally get seniority to make money, he wants to make up for the first half...

Therefore, how do you get the senior pilots give up pay, when their mentality is they must make it up.... In addition, they'll state, that they have to pay their dues, so the junior guys can too.....

Throw in the last 8 years of economic hell, and the senior guys want to keep every red cent... with the mindset that the junior guys have lots of time to make up the wrath of the BK era....

Quite the quandary.....

How do you get the senior guys to agree to buck precedent?
 
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bluebound

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So go back to school and be a doctor or a lawyer. Just because captains made 300+ an hour at one point in thier doesn't give the right to always make that same pay check. Prepare yourself, be responsible for yourself. Because people are not responsible for themselves is the exact reason we have entitlement programs like social security. All airlines don't need to suffer equally because of the mismanagement of your airline. Get involved and help fix the problem or go work for a company that acts in a responsible manner so you don't find youself in the position again (or go to law school). But I will not sacrifice for your and your airlines decisions. We are compeeting after all.
 

Beaver79

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"And if nothing else, perhaps the age 65’ers and those hunkered down at the top of the pay scale owe this bone to those more junior".


Nobody owes you a damn thing. Not the "65'ers" nor those "hunkered down" at the top. That is one of the most digusting statements I have ever read - somebody "oweing" those juniors guys something. That guy or girl has earned that pay rate from the numerous nights spent in hotels over the course of long careers. And whether you like or dislike the 65 thing, IT IS! Get over it.
 

C Festerpuss

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I believe you may be right about the pipe dream but ALPA changed its merger policy in April of 09 by a simple Executive Board decision. The prior policy had no mention of DOH or longevity. The new policy has mention of longevity as a consideration in merger policy.

The problem as I see it is that no one other than the executive committee got to vote on it.

[FONT=&quot] administrative manual[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]section 45 – merger and fragmentation policy [/FONT][FONT=&quot]4/30/09[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]MERGER AND FRAGMENTATION POLICY[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]SOURCE – In April 2009, the Executive Board adopted major revisions to ALPA Merger and Fragmentation Policy. Future amendments will be noted where they occur in the policy and will include the governing body and amendment date.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]4. Seniority List Integration – Negotiations [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]e. The merger representatives shall carefully weigh all the equities inherent in their merger situation. In joint session, the merger representatives should attempt to match equities to various methods of integration until a fair and equitable integrated seniority list is reached. Factors to be considered in constructing a fair and equitable integrated seniority list, in no particular order and with no particular weight, shall include but not be limited to the following:[/FONT]

§[FONT=&quot] Career expectations. [/FONT]

§[FONT=&quot] Longevity. [/FONT][FONT=&quot](I wonder why they would do this, ALPA never makes mistakes do they?)[/FONT]

§[FONT=&quot] Status and category. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]f. No integrated seniority list shall be subject to MEC or membership ratification.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------******************************------------------[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Here is the prior ALPA Merger and Fragmentation Policy[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]MERGER AND FRAGMENTATION POLICY [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]SOURCE ‑ Except where noted otherwise, the Merger Policy was adopted/reaffirmed by the November 1986 Board of Directors.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]PREAMBLE[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]The role of ALPA in seniority integration is solely to provide the process by which the affected pilot groups on ALPA airlines arrive at the merged seniority list for presentation to management, through their respective merger representatives, using arbitration if necessary. Responsibility for the merged seniority list falls upon the respective merger representatives with ALPA National in a neutral position on the merits. It must be understood that what appears to be truly "fair and equitable" often differs depending upon the eyes of the beholder and that there may be no consensus of what is "fair and equitable." This policy does not preclude two or more ALPA pilot groups from entering into discussions and/or reaching an agreement without invoking this process. (SOURCE - Executive Board May 1991; AMENDED - Executive Board May 1998)[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]G[/FONT][FONT=&quot].[/FONT][FONT=&quot] MERGER NEGOTIATIONS [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]1. The merger representatives shall carefully weigh all the equities inherent in their merger situation. In joint session, the merger representatives should attempt to match equities to various methods of integration until a fair and equitable agreement is reached, keeping in mind the following goals, in no particular order:[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]a.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Preserve jobs.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]b.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Avoid windfalls to either group at the expense of the other.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]c.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Maintain or improve pre‑merger pay and standard of living.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]d.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Maintain or improve pre‑merger pilot status.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]e.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Minimize detrimental changes to career expectations.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]The ALPA executive committee has made this change. I wonder how much membership input went into this decision? This change is not part of the ALPA Constitution and Bylaws and therefore does not require membership ratification.
[/FONT]
It is curious that something so important as seniority is placed in the hands of an executive committee with no input from the rank and file.
 

Airbum

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Pay spread should be 1-5 years tops. No reason why a senior captain should make double what a junior captain does. Close the gap.
All Union carriers should have the same pay for that aircraft type.

Management should be able to make a profit without employees taking a pay cut. If our pay was the same industry wide it takes the pilot pay cuts out of the mix.

As I understand it the average longevity pay spread from year 2-12 is around 15%. Senior and junior captains doing the same job ( same airframe) would be paid relatively the same amount under most current contracts. At some airlines the gap is even closer as they have pay per seat not pay per plane.

On a side note. pay per seat is a mgt dream as it dramatically lowers costs. These savings are rarely passed unto us as labor. Take ups which has had a average increase in airframe size by 30% yet the hourly pay remains flat over the last 10 years when averaged with inflation.

The big paycuts come from captains having to start over as f/o's.
 

waveflyer

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The two saying this is an entitlement idea are saying so at their own peril. If you think you're paid strictly free market capitalist wages then let me ask you something- can you go to any airline in the world, list your qualifications and redeeming factors as an employee- and negotiate a pay raise? Can you do that?

Capitalism depends on te free flow of labor between companies. Right now- every major in the world is using seniority and our weakness against us. They know 2 things: we will cut off our left nut to avoid starting over at the 'bottom' AND that this generation of senior pilots is a bunch of selfish entitled pu$$ies who wouldn't think of sticking up for anyone but themselves.

The two solutions to this are a national seniority list- or doing what the poster here said- GET RID OF 1st year payscales. It's an awful tradition. And it hurts everyone - if the senior won't sacrifice for it- the FOs ought to- simply combine years 1-5 and get your next raise at year 6. 1st year pay is a big reason mgmt knows we will never walk away. Thus decreasing our leverage for everyone.
 

spiffomatic

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Capitalism depends on te free flow of labor between companies. Right now- every major in the world is using seniority and our weakness against us. They know 2 things: we will cut off our left nut to avoid starting over at the 'bottom' AND that this generation of senior pilots is a bunch of selfish entitled pu$$ies who wouldn't think of sticking up for anyone but themselves.

The two solutions to this are a national seniority list- or doing what the poster here said- GET RID OF 1st year payscales. It's an awful tradition. And it hurts everyone - if the senior won't sacrifice for it- the FOs ought to- simply combine years 1-5 and get your next raise at year 6. 1st year pay is a big reason mgmt knows we will never walk away. Thus decreasing our leverage for everyone.
This is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not suggesting a windfall for year one people or a flattened payrate. I'm talking about - at a minimum, making year one liveable so any of us, if faced with the necessity of a change, can make it happen without selling the farm.

Airbum, you're right about some of the payscales out there... The Legacies tend to have a less extreme distribution of pay - some of the LCCs and Regionals have pretty large swings of 100% or more - probably because they look good on paper to the pilot group when it comes down to a vote, despite the max rates being unobtainable to all but a few. Those are the rates that could afford to look a little more like the Legacy scales.

The interesting thing is, especially at companies with top-heavy lists, the cost of doing this for the pilot group, by the pilot group would be minimal. Think of it this way... When American (for example, and these are not real figures, but I hope you get my gist) finally starts hiring again, let's say they hire 500 people in a year, or less than 5% of the pilot group. How many CA's and FO's are at the top payscale... just about everyone? If you took a simple assumption of no money lost or gained by the pilot group overall, and 5000 CAs and 5000 FOs at year 12 on the payscale, one single dollar off of that year 12 pay rate would equal $20 added to year one. I know it's not that simple in a real world scenario, but the point is that it's hard to talk about redistributing wealth or giving a windfall to the junior guys when they - your coworkers, or you in the future - make poverty wages the first year. It's not about paying dues - that's a stupid argument. That's like kicking your younger brother because your older brother kicked you once. We don't have to do the payscale this way but we have - and this leaves the senior guys S.O.L. if they need to move on after the company they helped build for the past 20 years suddenly succumbs, TWA-style, Pan Am style or in the classy implosion of any other once-great Legacy of the past.

The age 65 jab I made in the other post was meant to be harmless. It really has nothing to do with fixing a broke system.
 

livin'thesim

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The guys at the top staying over 65 should give something to the guys whose careers are being sacrificed.

They should 'take on for the team' like they are always demanding. Well, lots of guys at the bottom have taken plenty for the team already.

But they only take, they never give, that's baby boomers for you.
 

Ty Webb

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News flash- Pilot Pay really has very little impact on the bottom line. Pay at the top does not need to be lowered, bring the rest UP. Why would you advocate lowering pay rates that have already been sliced in half? A 737 costs about $5K an hour to operate. If the flight crew is at $150./hr for CA and $90./hr for FO, then that cost is about $240./hr + another 40% for FICA, retirement and other taxes. . . . $350./hr out of $5,000. or 7% of the cost of operating that aircraft. You could give both pilots a 25% raise, and only increase your total costs by $88. or 1.7%. The problem isn't pilot pay. You're operating a $30 million dollar piece of equipment, with a liability of probably $1 Billion in the event of a crash. Why do you guys all have such low self-esteem? Let them fly the planes if they don't want to pay. . . . That would be amusing to watch, but hard to clean up after.
 
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waveflyer

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Spiff- it's a solid idea- keep posting it here- let everyone you fly with know what you think- how low wages anywhere affect us all. But most importantly, write all the unions. Writing here is one small thing. There are much larger things that are more effective. You have my support.

Most men and women here that have taken HUGE paycuts or furloughs or extended stagnation at regionals have never thought about their situation deep enough to truly know what happened to them and why.

Bottom line EVERYONE in the industry benefits with the abolition of "first year pay"- including the very senior. Try getting a group to agree to 50% paycuts when better managed airlines pay a livable wage from the beginning and have a better future.
 
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maru657

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Well, Since anything else is called socialism, you just make yourself available to fly at any company with labor problems. If a national seniority list is wrong, why should you support the seniority list of any other airline? If "JoeBlow" alrlines is doing well at the moment and the standard human condition of myophia persists, and it will, at some point in the future "JoeBlow's" management will figure out how to make the balance sheets look even better on the backs of their unionized labor, ie; pilots, at that point, surely they will be open to "off the street pilots" willing to work for just a little less in order to pay bills. It may be a race to the bottom but you didn't start it.
 

spiffomatic

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Ty,

Fine. Raise everyone's pay. That's great and I agree we could all head that direction. That's not my point though, and it's a different issue all together. There's an economics term called ceteris paribus - meaning "all other things being equal". I'm saying that taking the issue of pay distribution only (all other things being equal) and killing the idea of probationary first year pay would enable us to treat each other a lot more like the professionals we are, and make dealing with an adverse company situation much more viable.

What do you think the outside world thinks of professional pilots when they hear we often make (amongst other miserable pay) something in the range of $20-$30k first year. That's pretty embarassing, and I don't think it does our reputation any good. And it probably turns away a lot of otherwise good people. If a company balks at it and says they have to recoup training costs, maybe tie much stronger first year pay to a first year pro-rated training contract. Maybe not - but one way or another, fix first year pay, and maybe we begin to dig ourselves out of this post-deregulation hole we're all in.

The irony of this first year pay problem is that if a company stagnates (doesn't hire for over a year), first year pay becomes a moot point and doesn't affect the company or the pilot group since noone's even on it. In that case, you could probably make the argument that raising that payrate should affect other pay even less. But when hiring kicks in, I think it places that pilot group at an advantage.


Maru, I don't even know what you're trying to say, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with anything.
 

waveflyer

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This isn't about individual companies. It's about the leverage gained when, as an industry, we know that leaving our current job for the next job won't bankrupt us.
 
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