The Magenta Line for Wednesday, November 4, 2009

dgoldenc

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[FONT=&quot]“In the war with management, we are about where the Allies were in December 1944: the outcome of the war was not in doubt—but there remained several battles still to fight.”[/FONT][FONT=&quot] – Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer Captain Kaye Riggs[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Today is Wednesday, November 4, 2009 and there are 10 items for discussion.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 1: Captain Doug Marotta Elected MEC Vice-Chairman[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]At the conclusion of business at Monday’s MEC meeting, Captain Doug Marotta was elected to the position of Vice-Chairman of the Continental MEC, the position vacated by the resignation of Captain Chuck Cummins in September.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Your EWR representatives congratulate Captain Marotta on his election and welcome him to the battle ahead.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Captain Marotta has extensive experience with airline unions having helped bring the Teamsters to North American Airlines under constant threat of termination and other forms of management harassment and retribution. Captain Marotta has walked the walk and we will all benefit from his experience, courage, and drive.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 2: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]EWR Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer Captain Kaye Riggs Announces Retirement[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]After more than 22 years with Continental Airlines, Captain Kaye Riggs is hanging up his wings.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]”My retirement is for nothing more than the protection of the little I have left in my A-Fund. I despise the pretenders currently occupying the executive suite in Houston, and I would have enjoyed participating in the battle-to-come for the futures of our pilots and their families and would have taken great glee in management’s defeat at our hands. Sadly, Mr. Smisek’s recent attack on our lump-sum option to the sounds of cheers from the rest of the employees—who will be the next target in his sights—has forced my hand. I will be 55 on November 29th and if I stayed until 60 or 62, my annuity wouldn’t even make my families’ house payment. And this would be after an almost 30 year career. Management should be ashamed of their greed—but they are not; they are proud of what they’ve done to us, our spouses, our children. They are thrilled that many of us will lose our homes in retirement, that many of our children will not be able to attend college, and that many of us will have to work years after we leave Continental. I used to think there were no words suitable to describe venal people like this; there are—but they are not printable.”[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 3:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Special LC 170 Meeting to be Held December 3, 2009[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]A special local council meeting will be held on December 3, 2009 from 11:00 to 15:00 for the purposes of nominating a replacement for retiring Secretary-Treasurer Captain Kaye Riggs. For this meeting we will be back at the EWR Airport Marriott. Parking will be validated. A fun time will be had by all. [/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 4: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Another Bad Penny Turns Up[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]There exists in the EWR chief pilot’s office a cubbyhole—or maybe it was a nook or a janitor’s closet once. Those of our pilots called into kangaroo court before judge Stankovich and his assistant judges are likely familiar with it: it was the room used by our Grievance Committee members to meet with and prepare our pilots for the multiplying villainies about to be hurled at them in the star chamber of the chief pilot office. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]In this small but useful and convenient place of honor, many of our pilots were prepared by our Grievance Committee members to defend themselves against charges of calling in sick when they were sick, missing a trip after to-the-letter compliance with our commuting policy, or explaining why they refused an illegal assignment from crew schedulers who should know better.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]But nothing stays the same these days and so our cubby has fallen to management expansion. The new occupant will be Andy Jost—late of the EWR and IAH chief pilot offices, former something-or-other downtown, and now back to us in some capacity as some kind of manager of something related to our international flying—or maybe he’s supposed to count the paperclips. Excuse us for not taking the time to get his actual title—but we simply don’t care.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Captain Jost wore out his welcome long before he left the office here last time. He was not missed when he left and he will not be welcomed back—he is merely another layer of useless management placed as a road block between the pilots and the job pilots do. We can only hope he throws his coat over his chair and disappears for most of the day as he used to do when he was the EWR and IAH chief pilot.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]In the mean time, we have no place to prepare our pilots for their hearings in privacy but, of course, that is of no interest to management—only adding more and more management is.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 5:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] A Miss For the Ages: Northwest Blows It—But At Least it Said “Delta” on the Airplane[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]OK, now that we’re done snickering and have paid the obligatory, There, but for the grace of God, go I, lip service, let’s get down to the real issue with the Northwest-in-Delta-colors crew and their 150-mile downwind leg into Minneapolis: we (and they) have a union—so let the union handle it![/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]A few days ago, a news reporter knocked on the door of the First Officer of this flight—who has now, along with the Captain—had their certificates revoked—and, between the First Officer’s repeated No comment-comments—a story emerged; a story elicited from and provided by the First Officer![/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Now, most of us never have to face the unpleasant glare of publicity for our foul-ups, but when we do, we don’t have to do it alone. ALPA has the resources and the ability to handle these embarrassments—so let them![/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]If you do anything that makes you or your crew the lead joke on Late Night With Jay Leno, or part of a Letterman Top 10 list, please, for your sake, for your crew’s sake, for the sake of the piloting profession, turn it over to ALPA, wash your hands, and go home and lock the door and take the phone off the hook.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Your fellow pilots will thank you for your golden silence.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
 

dgoldenc

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[FONT=&quot]Item 6: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]What is it About the Term “Captain’s Authority” Don’t You Get?, or, Pencil-Whippers Я Us[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The battle between us and them rages daily but, still, sometimes you have to wonder.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Recently, one of our Captain’s wrote up a cockpit window because it was scuffed and scratched and he couldn’t see through it. Sounds simple, right? Hah.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]What began as a write-up that would be simply time-consuming to fix turned into a war of words via ACARS ultimately involving the Captain, maintenance control, and the local mechanics.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Flight XXX departed IAH enroute to FLL. Once leaving the gate in IAH, the Captain noticed that visibility from the L3 window of his 737 was reduced due to scratches covering the entire window. This is the window that is typically covered by the jetway seal and months and months of this seal rubbing against the window takes its toll. It is difficult if not impossible to see the condition of this window when the jetway is attached to the aircraft.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]During the flight to FLL, the Captain wrote up the window in the maintenance log and sent an ACARS message to maintenance to advise them of the logbook entry. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]MX control reply: "So now vision is obscured? Did something happen between departure time at the hub.....and now?"[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Captain: "We taxied out. Do you want a picture of the window e-mailed to you?"[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]MX control: "So vision wasn't truly obscured then?"[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Captain: "As I said in the previous message it is."[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]MX control: "MX copies L3 w/s vision obscured. Excellent. We will truck a window. Thanks for your help.”[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Our Captain and his crew subsequently arrived in FLL and were met by maintenance. The discussion—driven by maintenance—centered not around safety or repairing the window, but how inconvenient it was for the FLL mechanics to fix the actual problem. During the discussion, he was chided by the mechanic for "writing up something we have no parts for.” He was also asked why he put another separate but minor write-up in the aircraft log at all. Our Captain’s reply: “I asked him if it was policy to not write up discrepancies in the aircraft log and wait for a more convenient point.” Our Captain left them to it and went to the hotel for his layover.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The next day he checked the signoff. His original write-up was: L-3 WINDOW IS SCUFFED AND HAS SMALL SCRATCHES, AT NIGHT UNDER LIGHTING CONDITIONS OBSCURES VISIBILITY.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The maintenance sign-off: INSPECTED L3 WINDOW PER AMM 56-11-00. CLEANED FILM OF DIRT FROM EXTERIOR OF WINDOW. REF AMM 12-16-02. NO OTHER DISCREPANCIES NOTED.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Once again we are faced with the predictable result of having people run our company who have no idea what airlines do, why certain expenditures must be made, and have no interest in the long-term success of our airline beyond next quarters results. They push every pilot, cut every corner, and line their pockets at the expense of the employees and our customers.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]And that window is still on the truck to FLL.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Item 7:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] The Last Piece of Pepperoni Slips From the Pizza and Hits the Floor, or, Don’t Take it Personally; We Chisel Everyone[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mr. Smisek puffed out his chest last week and told us that everything was on the table to return Continental Airlines to profitability. Notably absent from the list of “everything” he provided to all of us was, of course, executive compensation—that falls into an entirely separate category Mr. Smisek calls “sacred cows”—so his pay and benefits will not appear on any table this season—even though Thanksgiving is just around the corner—and we and our customers are the turkeys.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mr. Smisek’s recent interview with the press and his list of “everything” was stunning for several reasons, not the least of which is, uh, they’ve all been tried at all the other airlines from which we used to work so hard to differentiate ourselves. Not only is Mr. Smisek unfashionably late to the party, he’s wearing the same dress as all the other girls.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mr. Bethune and his pizza: “Jeff, you can make a pizza so cheap no one wants to eat it,” was apparently taken by Mr. Smisek as business advice rather than the warning it was intended to be. We now have no pillows or blankets, huge bag fees, first-class upgrades for the lowest coach fare plus a couple of dollars, and we will soon begin charging for those alleged “meals at mealtime”. We’re sure the pay lavatories are not far off or maybe Mr. Smisek would like to join with RyanAir and pursue the “standing seat” idea. Hey, he did say “everything” didn’t he? The interesting thing about this new vision is that it maximizes our opportunities to collect nickels and dimes while selling our premium product for, uh, quarters. Advisory: No actual dollars were collected while implementing these policies. Had there been actual dollars collected you would have been advised that management would be deducting “special charges” from next quarters results.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mr. Smisek went on to say that all the extra fees “give more control” to the customer—unless we’re talking fees for carrying their bags; we imagine most customers would like the “control” of arriving at their destination with their checked bags without having to book a separate seat for them. It’s a novel concept, charging for checked bags is—kind of like moving but leaving all your stuff in the old house.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Coming up under the category of “more control” are canned coffee drinks, electrolytic water, seat belts, oxygen masks, and flight crews. Just kidding—Mr. Smisek has no intention of charging extra for the flight crews.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mr. Smisek, the Officers of Local Council 170 salute you! Never has one man been paid so much to do something that has already been tried everywhere else by everyone else while trying to convince all of us that it’s breaking ground in a brave, new world. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]We are thrilled to present you with this Real Men of Genius award. Cue the music.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
 

dgoldenc

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[FONT=&quot]Item 8:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Request for Committee Volunteers[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]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 [/FONT][FONT=&quot]kaye.riggs@alpa.org[/FONT][FONT=&quot]. Please put your name and the word “Volunteer” in the subject line.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Item 9:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Next Meetings[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Our next local council meeting will be held the EWR Airport Marriott Hotel December 3, 2009 from 11:00 to 15:00 for the purposes of nominating a replacement for retiring Secretary-Treasurer Captain Kaye Riggs.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Your EWR representatives are currently in attendance at the November MEC meeting in Houston. The next regular MEC meeting will be held in early 2010 but has not yet been scheduled.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Item 10:[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Secretary-Treasurer’s Editorial[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Captain Sully’s Pilot Report[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Captain Sully—Hero of the Hudson—in his testimony before congress some time back told us that he would not, and he knew no other pilot who would, recommend this profession to his children. Many of us—who grew up on Sky King or hung out at the local airport and who always looked upon this profession as honorable and worthy of pursuing—no longer consider his views shocking or surprising. That, in itself, is sadly shocking and surprising.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Who is responsible for this? Is it rapacious and amoral management whose sole metric is the quarterly results that drive their bonuses? Or is it us—the pilots who timidly refused to stand up against management and proved, by our meek acquiescence, that we would sit still for anything?[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Like the “perfect storm”, many factors contributed to the destruction of our profession: management avarice, cupidity, and foolishness, terrorism, the lack of customer loyalty to anything but the cheapest seat, our unwillingness to fight for ourselves, and an unsympathetic judiciary. While we can certainly discuss each and every one of these factors, ultimately the solution lies in what we can control and not in what we can’t control.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Management will always be greedy, terrorists always need a target—and, in this, they share a common goal with management—customers will always seek the cheapest ticket, and the court system will always remain a gamble. What we can control and shape is our resolve to say “no more” and the direction we give our national union.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]We will soon be presenting the last piece of our economic puzzle to management. To that end, we are meeting this week with the rest of our MEC and a host of advisors—everyone from our various committee chairs up to and including the President of ALPA, Captain John Prater. The work we do this week will largely determine where we go and what we pass to management in the way of demands for the return of our profession. Be assured, no substandard demands will make their way to management. We are resolved to fight for what is rightfully ours on your behalf. You need to be ready to fight, too.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Sometime in January, a series of road shows will begin to present our full opening package to our pilots. This is your opportunity to become fully aware of where we stand—and what we demand. It is also your opportunity to question your leadership and your Negotiating Committee. Make plans to be there and make your voice heard.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Bargaining with management without the full weight of the pilot group behind us is doomed to failure—and we cannot fail this time. Our lives, our families, and our profession is at stake.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]As we close this week, please remember our 147 hostages and their families.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Captain Jayson Baron, EWR Council 170 Chairman[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]jayson.baron@alpa.org[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]610 442-3817[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]First Officer Tara Cook, EWR Council 170 Vice Chairman[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]tara.cook@alpa.org[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]610 220-8904[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Captain Kaye Riggs, EWR Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]kaye.riggs@alpa.org[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]830 431-0450[/FONT]
 

GuppyWN

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Wow. It's very depressing reading that union update. Are these thoughts inline with the majority of CAL pilots?

Curious,
Gup
 

Xtremepilot

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What is depressing about it specifically? Are we fed-up with our management team and tired of being crapped on? I can only speak for myself, but the answer is YES! Sure, the "Magenta Line" is comical at times, but its core seems to be the growing heatbeat of EWR pilots and CAL pilots in general.
 

GuppyWN

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It's depressing to see labor/management relations at such a state. How can you work together towards a common goal if you are so divided? I don't know diddly about CAL so I can't comment on such. That's why I was asking.

Gup
 

ATRCA

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Wow. It's very depressing reading that union update. Are these thoughts inline with the majority of CAL pilots?

Curious,
Gup
ABSOLUTELY! We love the ML! I'm not depressed at all. Quite the opposite in fact.
 

Xtremepilot

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It's depressing to see labor/management relations at such a state. How can you work together towards a common goal if you are so divided? I don't know diddly about CAL so I can't comment on such. That's why I was asking.

Gup
Gup,
I mean absolutely no disrespect, but CAL and SWA could not be more opposite except that we both fly the Boeing 737. SWA has never laid off a pilot as a hard-ball labor negotiations tactic or otherwise. SWA pilots have never been on strike, only to see hundreds of scabs cross a picket line eagerly to work for half the previous rate. SWA pilots have never taken a pay cut or flown under a contract that pays them 10-20% LESS than they were making 13 years ago. SWA pilots work for a CEO whose compensation is among the lowest in the entire industry, while the SWA pilots are the highest compensated....the opposite is true at CAL. SWA pilots do not see one of their largest bases downsized as a hard line negotiating tactic while that same base receives an additional two assistant chief pilots to staff the now smaller base. This is the tip of the iceberg. And before anyone jumps in with "if its so bad, quit..." (again not pointed at you, Gup) Where does one go? How will things ever change if new blood and wise old blood does not step in and force change?

Oh, and on a personal note....a nice 13:59 duty day tomorrow awaits!
 

flygirlqt

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Kudos to that Captain for not being intimidated
 

luckytohaveajob

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[FONT=&quot]Management should be ashamed of their greed—but they are not; they are proud of what they’ve done to us, our spouses, our children. They are thrilled that many of us will lose our homes in retirement, that many of our children will not be able to attend college, and that many of us will have to work years after we leave Continental. I used to think there were no words suitable to describe venal people like this; there are—but they are not printable.”[/FONT]
I have often heard pilots saying management deserves the excessive reward as long as the company is doing well. Pilots are short sided morons who should be outraged by such action but instead are happy with the status quo as they have been for over a decade now.
 

nimtz

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I have often heard pilots saying management deserves the excessive reward as long as the company is doing well. Pilots are short sided morons who should be outraged by such action but instead are happy with the status quo as they have been for over a decade now.
Remember the ultimate caveat so well spoken by our brave senior captains: 'It's always been like that around here'. There feel better now...:erm:
 

AWACoff

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Be assured, no substandard demands will make their way to management.

I wish this were true but already the NC has screwed up. Instead of opening with a rig of "min pay per calender day", they are opening with "min pay per duty period".

Even United has a min pay per calender day but we are opening with LESS than that??? Way to shoot for the stars, CALALPA.
 

a320drivr

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Our brain surgeons at JB did the same thing. Guess what we got? Min rig per duty period. It sucks!!!! Go for min pay per calendar day. 5 hours minimum.
 
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