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Time for Change in Unions

hawkerjet

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As a fellow pilot on the outside looking in and observing the plight of todays organized pilots unions, I can offer several observations. As the management side of the house has evolved into what it is today by constantly changing and adapting to new rules, technology, business practices etc, the unions themselves are very slow to react. An old management addage I learned in college was " the ability to survive is the ability to change and adapt. There appears to be a bunch of vanilla thinkers( albeit smart) and not too many folks thinking outside the box with new ideas and ways to run todays modern union. Just think of the collective intelligence that you already possess in the pilots membership. There must be some thinkers that have radical ideas ( yes you need those too )and forward thinking ways to adapt todays union to combat the way it is getting abused by modern management. I've seen some clever ideas posted on this web site so there are some pretty good heads out there, there are also a lot that are happy with the staus quo or not happy but unwilling to do more than the minimum. I guess my basic question is, How come the unions haven't evolved as quickly as the management side of the house? Striking is very effective when done right and so is the work slow down, but there has more effective ways that are quick and easy to implement and cause management to seriously think about the repercussions.
Please don't look at this thread as a divider, I would like to see new ideas explored for a profession that needs a lifeline. This coming from a corporate pilot who has observed the past 20-30 years of aviation and witnessed the degradation of the professional pilot.
 

CopilotDoug

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Size contributes to the problem. Take ALPA for example, the organization is SO large it has its own interests (above those of the membership) which need to be looked out for. As the size of the organization grows, its "efficiency" decreases.
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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As a fellow pilot on the outside looking in and observing the plight of todays organized pilots unions, I can offer several observations. As the management side of the house has evolved into what it is today by constantly changing and adapting to new rules, technology, business practices etc, the unions themselves are very slow to react. An old management addage I learned in college was " the ability to survive is the ability to change and adapt. There appears to be a bunch of vanilla thinkers( albeit smart) and not too many folks thinking outside the box with new ideas and ways to run todays modern union. Just think of the collective intelligence that you already possess in the pilots membership. There must be some thinkers that have radical ideas ( yes you need those too )and forward thinking ways to adapt todays union to combat the way it is getting abused by modern management. I've seen some clever ideas posted on this web site so there are some pretty good heads out there, there are also a lot that are happy with the staus quo or not happy but unwilling to do more than the minimum. I guess my basic question is, How come the unions haven't evolved as quickly as the management side of the house? Striking is very effective when done right and so is the work slow down, but there has more effective ways that are quick and easy to implement and cause management to seriously think about the repercussions.
Please don't look at this thread as a divider, I would like to see new ideas explored for a profession that needs a lifeline. This coming from a corporate pilot who has observed the past 20-30 years of aviation and witnessed the degradation of the professional pilot.


You post this after eight years of the Bush Admin?

How can we have expected unions to advance and think outside the box during the BK era?

For example, look at the last months of the Bush Admin? The southern GOP senators were demanding union concessions. Not because that was the real problem, but because that is what they do. It is in their blood.

Take the Employee Free Choice Act. Again the GOP has framed the debate around the secret ballot.. However the REAL issue, are the penalties for illegal and immoral union busting.

In addition, and this is where pilot unions come into play... There is a set time table for obtaining a contract. Currently under the NLRB and NMB, companies are incentivized to delay contracts. Look at Airtran and Pinnacle.

If the EFCA was passed it would provide an example and precedent to change the RLA.

However, most pilots are apathetic or reject the EFCA, getting framed and wrapped up around the secret ballot.

You can't expect unions to be forward thinking, operate outside the box, when there is an entire machine designed to oppress and suppress unions.

There are pilots that have been in this industry for over a decade, have been furloughed multiple times and never made more than 60K a year. That is exactly how management wants it. Does that sound right to you? Profressional Air Line Pilots with over a decade of experience making 60K?

Now you'll hear all the excuses about how unions are corrupt and self serving? That, that is the real issue.... Are there flaws in unions? Of course. Are there flaws in managment? Govt?

Unions can't think outside the box because they are too busy just trying to keep what they have or stopping the bleeding....

How are you supposed to switch to offense mode when you don't have the ball...??
 
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CopilotDoug

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You post this after eight years of the Bush Admin?

How can we have expected unions to advance and think outside the box during the BK era?

For example, look at the last months of the Bush Admin? The southern GOP senators were demanding union concessions. Not because that was the real problem, but because that is what they do. It is in their blood.

Take the Employee Free Choice Act. Again the GOP has framed the debate around the secret ballot.. However the REAL issue, are the penalties for illegal and immoral union busting.

In addition, and this is where pilot unions come into play... There is a set time table for obtaining a contract. Currently under the NLRB and NMB, companies are incentivized to delay contracts. Look at Airtran and Pinnacle.

If the EFCA was passed it would provide an example and precedent to change the RLA.

However, most pilots are apathetic or reject the EFCA, getting framed and wrapped up around the secret ballot.

You can't expect unions to be forward thinking, operate outside the box, when there is an entire machine designed to oppress and suppress unions.

There are pilots that have been in this industry for over a decade, have been furloughed multiple times and never made more than 60K a year. That is exactly how management wants it. Does that sound right to you? Profressional Air Line Pilots with over a decade of experience making 60K?

Now you'll hear all the excuses about how unions are corrupt and self serving? That, that is the real issue.... Are there flaws in unions? Of course. Are there flaws in managment? Govt?

Unions can't think outside the box because they are too busy just trying to keep what they have or stopping the bleeding....

How are you supposed to switch to offense mode when you don't have the ball...??
Yes, Rez. And 8 years before Bush, was 8 years of Clinton. Presidential timelines aside...

I'll address the high-lighted paragraph. This is where my "hard-line" stance comes into play. I don't think it's adequate pay for someone with years of industry experience. While I will certainly put the lion's share of the blame onto management's shoulders, what of the pilots in this situation? Aren't they enabling management's poor business models, i.e. Float the Company on the Backs of the Employees? As long as you have pilots willing to go work for chicken feed (And they will) then the Unions will continue to have the rug pulled out from under them time and time again. As long as pilots vote in paycuts for job protection...the bar will continue to lower. Pilots, in large part, have themselves to thank for that.
 

Horrido

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As long as you have pilots willing to go work for chicken feed (And they will) then the Unions will continue to have the rug pulled out from under them time and time again. As long as pilots vote in paycuts for job protection...the bar will continue to lower. Pilots, in large part, have themselves to thank for that.

In my humble opinion the biggest problem we have as a group is visible throughout any one of these threads on this web site. The whole "I have mine, screw you" and "my airline is better than your airline" schoolyard banter. Its really a shame. These are tough times and our profession is being attacked by airline managements and pressure from the broader economy in general. You're right...we could do better but we operate as a system of disconnected kingdoms rather than one unified voice. When an airline fails or downsizes...pilots on other properties rejoice in the knowledge that they may have it better now...all the while telling those less fortunate that they shouldn't work for this or that carrier because their pay isn't good enough.
It's a cut throat business and managements have done a wonderful job at exploiting pilot greed and disunity. I've been doing this for 21 years and don't see any change in sight. Pilots truly are their own worst enemy.

The sarcastic "you're an idiot, my airline's better, you suck" comments may now begin.
:)
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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It also has to do with the gushing/blushing/loving of the free market. Hey, I love free enterprise just as much as the next guy.

But pilots can't have it both ways: either you embrace the market and the gains and pains or work to put some controls in...

Why is it when the market eliminates an airline and pilots have to start over, its the unions fault?
 

Horrido

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Very true.
 

CopilotDoug

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It also has to do with the gushing/blushing/loving of the free market. Hey, I love free enterprise just as much as the next guy.

But pilots can't have it both ways: either you embrace the market and the gains and pains or work to put some controls in...

Why is it when the market eliminates an airline and pilots have to start over, its the unions fault?
The Unions have strayed over time. Today, they are seen more like Don King to Boxing: At the end of the day, he is seperate from those he represents and he still gets his cut.
 

belchfire

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Poor analogy. Be specific.

I'll be specific Rez-0.

One thing that has got to go is the "fly it-then grieve it" mentality. If we had the power to stop some machines from moving instead of moving the metal and going begging later things would be fixed up front instead of arbitrated to a standstill six months or a year later.
 

Singlecoil

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I'll be specific Rez-0.

One thing that has got to go is the "fly it-then grieve it" mentality. If we had the power to stop some machines from moving instead of moving the metal and going begging later things would be fixed up front instead of arbitrated to a standstill six months or a year later.

I'll answer this one for you Rez. Belchfire's solution sounds very simple, and I'm sure it would go something like this: an airline violates the CBA in the opinion of the MEC of that airline. They then call for a suspension of service until the matter is resolved. The airline then sues the union and claims that they are in violation of the RLA. The judge sides with the company since they are clearly in violation of the RLA and issues an injunction against the union which effectively bankrupts said union. The pilots are then faced with the dilemma of being hit with a large assessment or declaring the union bankrupt and decertifying it.
Now the airline has pilots that either have no union, or owe so much on the assessment that they have absolutely no ability to effectively threaten a strike during any negotiations in the the near future.
The answer lies in amending the RLA through legislation. Legislation is voted on by Congress and signed by the President. The courts merely interpret current law. The current law assumes that both sides conduct themselves in a manner that ensures that the flying public can reasonably expect to get to their destination on any given day. In 20 of the last 28 years there have been Republican Presidents who have been afforded the privilege to name nominees to the federal bench as laid out in the constitution. The federal courts have moved to the right as a result and therefore away from the views of organized labor. It would be foolish for a union to expect any result other than being slapped with an injunction should they attempt to push the envelope of the RLA in any degree.
In my opinion, the biggest and most lasting power any President has is the ability to nominate judges to the federal bench. The SCOTUS nominees get the most press, but the federal courts below the SCOTUS have the biggest effect on our livelihoods.
 

pilotyip

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UAW Example

In the latest Washington beat up on the auto industry, congress chided the auto industry for not being firm enough when dealing with the UAW. Congress said you gave them things you could not afford in the long run, you should have known better. The unions have done wonders for the auto industry. Every company should be allowed to prosper under the point of a gun. That is "Give us this or we are going to shut you, I don't care if you say you can not afford it, we want it now!"
 
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Rez O. Lewshun

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In the latest Washington beat up on the auto industry, congress chided the auto industry for not being firm enough when dealing with the UAW. Congress said you gave them things you could not afford in the long run, you should have known better. The unions have done wonders for the auto industry. Every company should be allowed to prosper under the point of a gun. That is "Give us this or we are going to shut you, I don't care if you say you can not afford it, we want it now!"


How does that work when Execs are raping the company coffers, living like fat cats and producing a poor product? Suddenly you want the unions to be altruistic to the very greed that is destroying their company. The workers want healthcare and retirement. Not a GV to jet around... we've gone over this so many times.....


In addition, that is the UAW.... it doesn't reflect what airline pilots gave back during the BK era. All while the fat cat execs paid themselves bonuses in the millions of dollars for using employees like ATMs, gutting pay 40% AND raping pensions....
 
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pilotyip

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Fat Cats?

How does that work when Execs are raping the company coffers, living like fat cats and producing a poor product? Suddenly you want the unions to be altruistic to the very greed that is destroying their company. The workers want healthcare and retirement. Not a GV to jet around... we've gone over this so many times.....


In addition, that is the UAW.... it doesn't reflect what airline pilots gave back during the BK era. All while the fat cat execs paid themselves bonuses in the millions of dollars for using employees like ATMs, gutting pay 40% AND raping pensions....
Most fat cats live on less than most airline Captians make. Except they do get good deals on cars. Yes there some very highly paid exec at the top. The mangment gave into the unions to drive themselves into a non-competitive condition, now the chickens are coming home to roost. BTW 5 of the top 10 cars in the latest J D Powers survey were big three built.
 

pilotyip

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Unions do have great influence

Same Ol. debate... you think the unions run the companies....
They do have great influence that affects how management goes about their conduct of business. From Joe White WSJ "...GM's leaders - and the UAW's- knew by the early 90's that he combination of rising health care costs and the longevity of the GM's retired workers threatened the company. But GM management backed away from confrontation with the UAW over health care in 1993 and in every national contract cycle afterwards until 2005 – when the company’s nearness to collapse finally became clear to everyone. In the 15 years from 1993 to 2008 GM had spent 103B on retiree health care" The evil management team that you seem to despise was actually guilty of being overly generous to their workers to point by destroying the company. Whose fault is that? BTW How about BO standing up to the NEA, calling for longer school years, longer school days,merit pay to reward really good teachers, and unlimited charter schools. There may be hope for the future of education in this counrty.
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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Whose fault is that?


Who runs the company. Besides, if bonuses are still all the rage, then what is the problem?


People wanting healthcare and retirement..... so evil.....
 

pilotyip

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Not evil at all

[/size][/font][/size][/font]People wanting healthcare and retirement..... so evil.....
Not evil all, just not affordable at $103B over 15 years
 
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