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this company needs a pilots union!!!

72Longhorn

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Hey Ya'll,

I've got a question for ya.

Has there ever been any FAR 135 operators successful at acquiring a union to represent the company pilots?

The company I currently work for really needs a union and I was wondering if anyone knows how to go about getting a union started.

72Longhorn
 

avbug

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LH,

You probably don't want to hear this, but the chances are very slim. The power of a union is a bargaining power. It's either en masse with the power of a united large group of workers, or among the majority of very specialized workers. Among pilots, unless all pilots belonged to a collective bargaining organization (something very unlikely, and dangerous), unionizing a small company would do little good. You could go so far as to strike, but the company would either lay off, downsize, or close. Then reopen under a different name.

You sound like you have a concern. Perhaps addressing the actual concern here would be more productive. Pay? Safety? Duty times? There are ways to address these issues without necessarily needing a union. In some cases, a union is a nessary evil, but in many others, it's a monster. It's one of those cases of "be careful of what you wish for."
 

LAPD Airship

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Either FlexJet or ExecJet are union, but they are probably a bit larger than your carrier I would guess.
 

Freight Dog

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From my understanding, Ameriflight is organizing under Teamsters (bleechhh). But they have like over 200 aircraft and over 200 pilots.
 

pilotyip

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watch out

The teamsters organized Zantop in 1996 and the owners shut the company down in 1997, laid off 150+ pilots. Watch out what you ask for, particularily with a privately held company i.e not publically traded, you don't have much power.
 

72Longhorn

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Thanks for the info guys. I guess since I came from an FAR 121 airline, I expect things to be done a little more professionally here at this FAR 135 operation.

Avbug, hit some good points that have me bothered. One, is the pay raise, there is none, unless you upgrade; Two, Schedules are M-F 5 days a week; Three, one sick day per year; and four, duty times are maxed out with the minimum required rest. Basically the life $tyle sucks and so does the money.

I know I shouldn't be complaining, because of all the current lay offs, but I too, was laid off and had to go back to 135 flying.

Thanks for hearing me out.

72Longhorn
 

avbug

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SNAFU.

Sitaution normal for many 135 departments.

I worked for a 135 operation that hired a furloughed 121 pilot. She came aboard with a lot of preconceived notions, and expectations. One weekend, she was on call for the weekend. No flying, but she was notified that if a flight came up, she would be first out.

The following Monday, she went straight to the FAA and complained that she had no rest and had been on duty for 48 straight hours. She was completely out of line, but felt that it would be okay to pull a stunt like that. She got scheduled for straight nights after that.

Considering that she hardly ever flew, and had only to take a flight if one came up once in a blue moon, she had it good from the get-go. Her lack of understanding and impetuousness burned it for everyone.

Without commenting on the righteousness of her actions, let me say that the industry has fallen into a mould, and it is hardened by economics and to some degree, "tradition." Some things just "are." I am all for seeking improvement, but by the same token, there are ways to accomplish this, and ways not to do so. This particular young lady executed a massive faux paux. She should have gone to her supervisor and failing that gone up the chain within the company before doing something so drastic as going to the FAA.

I should note that the company didn't hold her efforts at change against her, only the way she went about it.

As far as 5 days a week, don't complain. Many 135 personnel are 24/7/365, period. The way it's shown on paper may be different, but thems the realities. Maxed out duty times are the norm. I've worked for many operators who had no sick time allowed, and I have been told outright, "our pilots are not allowed to get sick." I flew for one operator who allowed no time off for the first year (some flexibility for time off without pay). Nothing at all unusual, albeit unpleasant and sometimes unpallatable.

Very often I've seen regular 14 hour duty days. I've worked assignments that required 14 hours of HARD labor on the airplane when not flying, and right back at it after 10 hours rest, not to mention a number of other unpaid duties as part of the job. In salaried positions, it can be taken to the extreme. Again par for the course.

Ask virtually any inspector, and you'll get the same response; if it's unacceptable, quit. I disagree very strongly with this statement and attitude, but it's standard, and very, very common. As a function of economics, however, you're in the losing seat. The company calls the shots, and while unionization is certainly always feasible if you want it badly enough, chances are very good that it's just not worth it.
 

publisher

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novell

Gee, working 5 days a week M-F, now there is a concept. And, just a few sick days, wow. And, long days.

Welcome to life for the rest of the world.
 

bobbysamd

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M-F workweek

What's so bad about a five-day workweek? I do that now in my desk job. Basically, M-F (I've had to work a few Saturdays and Sundays - not many, though), 0630-1700, although, technically, I don't have to report until 8:30. One hour off for lunch. I do earn more flex days than the example.

I wouldn't mind a flying job like the example. I remember working plenty of six and seven-day weeks as a pilot. Perhaps instructing may not be regarded by some as "real" flying, but I still put in plenty of hours, with some shifts not being regular hours.

Pub, you and I agree on all fours on this one.
 

flydog

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Publisher

You need to shut your pie hole when you clearly dont know what you are talking about.

When a pilot works 5 days it usually means they are away from home for 5 days working 14+ hr duty days not 8-5 like some office job. If you actually add up the time some of us 135 guys put in in a week it would equal 3 weeks of a normal office worker's.

If you work at a 121 carrier and you commute those 11-14 days off a month are eaten up very quickly commuting. Some pilots may only spend 5-6 days a month home with their family.

Being away from home 20 days a month is really harsh and it gets very old. Most 135 jobs are worse than that and I have worked many 25-27 day months.

In addition at most 135 departments you are on call 24/7 365 days a year with very few hard days off if any. How would you like to sit at home 365 days a year waiting for the office to call you? This includes Christmas, your wife's birthday, your kid's graduation, etc.

You really are a horse's ass. This reminds me of the time where you stated a King Air doesn't need deice boots in Florida because it warm.

I suggest next time you think before you open your hole to compare a 135 flying job to working behind a desk 9-5 (")
 

StarChecker

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My duty day just changed to 10.5 hours a day from 13.8. I feel like I'm on vacation....nothing like a 50 hour week to help you relax.
 

AWACoff

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I don't recall Publisher stating that a King Air doesn't need deice boots in Florida. On a related note though, didn't a Comair (pretty sure I got the airline right...my sincere apologies if I am incorrect) Brasilia almost CRASH somewhere in the carribean due to a severe icing issue...yep. You can get ice ANYWHERE.

Flying at a regional is much tougher than a 9 to 5 job. Sure, we may only be flying 6 to 8 hours in a day with a 14 hour duty day (sometimes longer)...but during the sits between flights, you are checking weather, grabbing a bite to eat, conferring with MX, etc. We may gab in the crew room but it certainly isn't "restful". And let's not forget the Part 91 repo flights at the end of a 16 hour duty day. Name another profession when they put you on a double shift, don't pay time and a half, and then "ask" you to drive a multi-million dollar piece of equipment safely. I can't think of any...can anybody else? Thank god flying airplanes is fun. It's pretty sad when a 96 hour work week is legal for a transportation professional.
 

avbug

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Flydog,

Calm down. Publisher made a common sense statement. He was responding to a comment that seemed to imply that working five days a week is tough duty. He pointed out that many folks would consider this a real treat, and he is right.

Many 135 jobs, even five days a week, have crews home most of the time, and few jobs have crews away all the time. Most are home every night. There are exceptions and some jobs are tougher than most. However, it's well to remember that despite the crying most pilots do, there is little physical labor involved in flying an airplane, and it's far from the most challenging assignment in the world.

Imagine yourself for five minutes without a medical certificate, and working in a steel plant or a factory. Then imagine yourself spending the same time doing what you do, and tell me that there is no clear line of decision there. Where do you want to be? How many others would give their right arm to do the same? A tough life? Not hardly.

You can be concerned with time away all you like, and I can show you a dozen jobs (even in aviation) that have it far tougher. We read of a man that cried because he had no shoes...

Someone comes from a 121 environment to 135 and they may be shocked. They may want the backing of their union, the protections, the cushiness and pomp...and be shocked when they don't get it. This doesn't mean the world is falling down around them; it's just different, and it's time to adapt.

Years ago a senior pilot with a major freight forwarder contacted me about getting into aerial firefighting after he retired. He had a full military career, and a full career at the airline. He thought it would be a fun change of pace. I laid it on the line, told him what to expect. He was shocked. He said he would go to the FAA and expose such a terrible dangerous industry; he wanted to make officials aware that such things go on. I told him to mind his own **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** business and not to bother me again. I never heard from him again, and it didn't hurt my feelings a bit.

He didn't realize that there is a whole other world, and that he needed to be very grateful for what he had...he didn't know what it was like in the real world, and when he found out, he couldn't deal with it. Nine to five isn't so bad, and neither are fourteen hour duty days. It's a long day to be sure, but it's nothing to form a union over.
 

publisher

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135

You are right, how could I possibly know anything about a business that I ran for three years.

We had 20 aircraft in a 135/corporate situation. Most pilots worked M-F for 12 hour days or flew night check runs which had a shorter work day for 4 nights a week.

That being said, most were day trips out in the morning. If the aircraft was to be on the ground all day, the crew was provided a day room if one was available. An average day was a 7 to 8 am departure, fly 1.5 hours or less, sit until 4 to 5 pm and then home. This is typical corporate flight department stuff. They were paid in line with Midwest BCA pay.

They and no one else in the 2000 person company got sick days.

They did get regular vacations and we did fly some weekend and charters to places where the crews did not suffer much as they rented cars and stayed in nice resorts.

Most of our pilots were also A&P's besides ATP's and we paid for training although required a commitment. We also required all crew members to be current and able to take trips in all types of aircraft.

In our case, only about 20% of the pilots were really trying for an airline career. While they all wished we would buy bigger jets, the fact is that they were not bitching about the life.

I did say that you can get by on training flights in Florida without working de-ice boots, as I flew single engine in Florida all over the place without much problem. The King Air's we were talking about are used in training and rarely go above 9k.
 

skydiverdriver

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You guys complain about pay for training, but will still go to work for a place like Avbug describes, which is worse in my view. Perhaps if nobody agreed to work there, the company would decide to follow the rules and treat their people better.
 

avbug

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A place like I described? What did I describe? A place that follows the regulations (have you read them?), has few nights away from home, has virtually no physical labor, flies well within duty hours, and only works five days a week? Is that a bad thing? What are you talking about?
 
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