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Trans States "Bridge Agreement"

PilotSkydiver

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Last week the Negotiating Committee met with the Company to resume Negotiations in San Antonio, TX. This month marks the third anniversary

of negotiations and two years under mediation. Sixteen Sections are Tentatively Agreed (TA) and 12 Sections remain open.

Despite three years of negotiations, prior to last week, the company had yet to present an economic package (hourly rates, guarantees, per diem,

insurance rates, 401K Company match). Therefore, the mediator instructed the company to come to this session with a complete economic proposal.

Rather than complying with the mediator’s instruction, the Company came to the table citing financial concerns over the progress of negotiations.

They characterized two possible catastrophic outcomes should negotiations continue to progress. First, in a worsening economic climate, there is no

way they can give us what we want. Second, by reaching an impasse we would eventually be released to self help. They also pointed out the inherent

liability an open contract has on them as a Company. Thus, the Company proposed an 18-month hiatus in negotiations and a two-year extension to

our contract, which they called a “Bridge Agreement.” The Company proposed to resume FLiCA and to increase pay and per diem rates, but in amounts

which would still be below industry average. The Company also proposed to put all sections which have been tentatively agreed to so far on hold (none

of them would be implemented). The Company’s offer made no improvements to any other section of the agreement, including retirement, insurance,

job protection, hours of service, scheduling, reserve, vacation, sick leave, etc.



The Association negotiating committee consulted with the MEC, which established some new objectives to engage in such a dialog. Job Security

would be at the forefront of those negotiations with some minor contractual improvements, and an end game to resumed negotiations. ALPA’s

proposal agreed to a two-year extension, and provided industry average pay rates, FLiCA, electronic bidding of monthly schedules (not PBS), a

commuter policy, an increase to company matching 401k contributions to 3%, a 100% line guarantee in months with a 98% completion factor (and

retention of the current 95% guarantee). Most importantly, ALPA proposed a single carrier letter which would have resulted in the combining of the

GoJet and TSA seniority lists, the only true way to provide protection against the alter ego company established four years ago. We saw the Bridge

Agreement concept as an opportunity to get close to industry average pay and obtain the job protections all of you desire (that comes from crew room

discussions and polling results). Finally, ALPA requested that TSA provide financial data to ALPA’s Economic and Financial Analysis Department to

confirm the company’s claim of economic need for the extension.

The Company provided a response to ALPA’s proposal, which they stated was their last and final proposal (meaning they would not entertain any further

negotiations on the Bridge Agreement). The only changes in this proposal to their previous one was to increase the pay rates slightly, add a 1.5% hourly

pay bump and a five cent per diem bump at the one year anniversary date, and a commuter clause. The pay increases for Captains in years 1 to 15

ranged between 3.8% to 5.8%. The smallest pay increase (3.8%) was applied to the largest captain longevity group (5th year captains). The Captain pay

scales were extended out from 15 to 19 years. On the First Officer side, the pay hikes for years 1 to 5 ranged from 5.4% to 5.9% and were extended out

to 7 years. There are more first officers in the second year of longevity than all other longevity years combined. The current second year first officer

rates are significantly below industry average. Despite the Company’s proposed 5.5% increase for second year FOs, they would still be $6.00 below

industry average rates.

The Company rejected all other proposals in ALPA’s Bridge proposal. Despite claiming an economic need for an extension, they refused to provide any

financial data to prove economic need nor did they accept any zero cost items. They also refused to consider our single carrier proposal and any other

form of job protection. They also asked for their “Bridge proposal” to be taken to the MEC for consideration of a full pilot vote.

Following the Company’s final Bridge offer, the mediator again insisted that the Company provide a complete economic proposal and a summary of

where they stand on all open sections. This was done so that in the event the Bridge proposal failed, the parties would have a place to resume normal

negotiations. Late Thursday night, the Company provided a complete economic proposal. This economic proposal included an across-the-board 5% wage increase.

Yesterday was the first time the entire MEC and Negotiating Committee had common availability to meet and discuss the merits of the company’s Bridge

Agreement proposal. As many of you are aware, even before the MEC had a chance to meet with the negotiating committee, management has been

spreading misinformation about what actions have been taken by the MEC. We believe this was a political propaganda attempt to build mistrust in the

union, divide pilot unity and promote fear by stating how bad economic times are for the pilots and company. None-the-less the MEC took their proposal into due consideration.

Late last night the MEC was extensively briefed by the Negotiating Committee. It was clear that neither the Negotiating Committee nor MEC would

endorse such a proposal. As a result, the MEC unanimously voted not to put this proposal out to a ratification vote. This was a carefully considered

decision and was reached primarily because the Company’s offer did not come close to meeting the negotiating goals established by the MEC which

were in turn derived from scientific pilot polling. The Company flatly rejected the job security concerns articulated by the Negotiating Committee.

Giving Trans States management an extension of time would simply give them time to continue to grow Gojet at the expense of Trans States pilots.

Increased revenue streams on our sister carrier would only serve to make any self help measure by TSA pilots ineffective.

At the table last week, the company claimed their Bridge Agreement proposal constituted a wage increase in excess of 6%. In fact, ALPA’s economic and

financial analysis department concluded that the overall increase was only 5.6%. In contrast, the Company’s comprehensive economic proposal contained

a wage increase of 5% for each longevity year. The Bridge proposal had wage increases in most of the longevity years which were below 5%. Thus, many

pilots would have received a smaller wage increase under the short term bridge agreement than if we resumed negotiations with the company’s

comprehensive proposal. It seems fruitless to grant a 2-year extension for a mere .6% overall increase with no other benefits or job protection. Not

surprisingly, while the company did extend the longevity wage rate tables, the smallest increases in rates applied to the largest group of pilots and the

largest increases applied to the smallest group of pilots. This was consistent for both captain and first officers.

Finally, I would like to point out that Trans States has not been acting like a company in financial crisis. While total operative revenue may decrease because

of the loss of aircraft, their operating costs have also diminished. They will no longer have those aircraft leases, maintenance, fuel (several were pro-rate

agreements) and crew costs associated with those aircraft. Similarly, in 2007 TSA showed a reduction in operating revenues after parking the J41 fleet BUT

their total operating expenses decreased by a greater amount. This resulted in TSA operating income increasing by $3 million and their profitability increasing

by $6 million. This was a 58% increase in profitability before taxes year over year.

Oddly enough, the only group of employees that seems to be shouldering the burden of the company’s alleged financial concerns are the pilots. The new

flight attendant agreement had signing bonuses ranging from $200 to $2500. The company even gave $1000 hiring bonuses to IAD new hire flight attendants.

TSA Management also received a $1 million payment for the cancellation of the American contract. Maybe if Trans States spent less money paying for

FAA enforcement actions on deficient maintenance, they wouldn’t feel compelled to make it up from the pilot group.

Their financial concerns might be better characterized as a financial impediment. Without the ability to buy more jets for GoJet, they may not be able to

leverage us into submission. Self help may very well scare them more than it scares us. Without a doubt, TSA Management will begin a fear campaign by

making claims that should we be released to self help, TSA will cease to exist. I can’t guarantee that won’t happen, but what future do we have if we ratify

an agreement without any job protections? After all, scope language costs them nothing.

Additional information including summaries of ALPA and the Company’s Bridge Proposals will be forthcoming along with highlights about their proposal.

Contact your P2P reps and MEC officers with any questions or concerns about the MEC’s actions.

Thank you for listening; Fly safe and fly your contract!
 

PilotSkydiver

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The company replied with the following letter:

Dear (Personalized Letter),

At the recent round of negotiations with ALPA during the week of February 2, 2009 the company proposed an interim contract amendment (Bridge Offer) as a means to make some desired improvements to our CBA (this, during a time when unemployment is at 7.6% and projected to exceed 10% nationally resulting in job losses greater than 600,000 per month). By taking this stem we are trying to demonstrate to you that even in this extremely difficult economic climate, we are committed to the pilots of Trans States Airlines and want to work together to ensure the long term success of our Company. Our hope is this Bridge Agreement will carry us through until the the economy improves and there would be more room for the Company and the union to discuss compensation and other issues when the airlines are once again economically stronger. What we offer is difficult for us in these current conditions but is necessary to recognize your efforts over the years and to help ensure your continued effort in making sure Trans States is a strong and competitive airline in the emerging new landscape of Regional Airlines.

We proposed to your Negotiations Committee a pay increase for you that is summarized below. We offered these now rates as well as an extension of the scale (years 15-19 for captains and years 5-7 for First Officers).

We have done an analysis based on your individual flying history from 2008. That analysis shows that under the Company’s Bridge offer, it is estimated that you would be paid an additional $5,600. This is broken down to $2,475 for in the first year and $3,125 in the second year.

We also offered to immediately adopt a Commuter Policy, recognizing that the changes wrought by the departure of the American flying and focus on United, have caused many displacements. In addition, we offered to form a committee of ALPA and Company appointed members to resolve the issues related to FLICA and get that system turned back on so that you can have more control over your own schedule.

Our Bridge offer is for a 2 year extension of our CBA, with an agreement that in 18 months we would pick up where we left off in the overall negotiations (not start all over again) hoping that the economy will be in a situation where more significant changes might be possible.

We were disappointed when we learned late Friday, February 13,2009, that eh MEC has decided not to even allow you to vote of this proposal which ranges from a minimum 4.0% additional compensation to a maximum 12.8% addition, with the average being 7.0% over the two year period. In the past your MEC leadership has led you to believe that our final offers were not really final offers and they would negotiate improvements and other alternatives that would be better for you. Those promises have proven to be incorrect in the past and have directly or indirectly cost the jobs of the TSA pilots. Now, in there very tough times we are trying our best to stem the tide of furloughs, find new flying opportunities, while at the same time offer you additional compensation for your had work. We believe the choice should be yours and hope that you will communicate with eh ALPA leadership you desire to vote of this offer. We believe that you should have the right to vote on what will be an important milestone in your career at Trans States and not leave it in the hands of a small group of people who have a history of misjudging the Company’s intentions when it comes to negotiations. Wouldn’t it be better if you had the opportunity to think for yourself in making this important decision?

In ALPA’s latest public statement about our offer there is a great deal of posturing about issues that are not subject to negotiations. We acknowledge that all the demands of your ALPA Negotiating committee are not addressed in this Bridge Offer. In fact, we have indicated a willingness to freeze all negotiating positions until such time as negotiations recommence. But we believe your leadership is misleading the real economic situation that we all face today. We are in no position to provide you with the wish-list of demands that ALPA has put forth, especially in these economic conditions. We hoe to use this Bridge Agreement to get us to a strongest place where ALPA’s list of demands are at least being reviewed by a Company looking forward to a strong and prosperous future and opposed to the constant challenges to survival that we face in this time. The fact is, The Company has made a very good (and in good faith) offer that is very difficult for us to propose and we hope you will have the opportunity to vote yes or no. We understand that the choice should be yours and we are asking that you let your MEC know you would like to exercise your right to vote on what is clearly an important decision to your economic future.

Trans States recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and you, as the employees of Trans States, are a large part of the reason for that success. We would like to be around for the 27th anniversary and beyond, but to do that requires you to take action. We ask that you contact your MEC and tell them that the Company’s Bridge Offer is not perfect, but is far superior to the alternative of potential unemployment if the parties continue on their current corse.

If you have any questions, please free to contact me directly,

XXX, Chief pilot

Man, I'm glad I don't work there anymore
 

Salukipilot4590

IS WE ON TV?
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Welcome to Happy-Fun-Time!

:funone:
 

Skippy

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i dont even work there anymore and it pisses me off

HOLY FREAKING SCHIT this is THE MOST UNREAL MEMO I HAVE SEEN: and thanks for posting it


there are so many things wrong with this memo--- ill dissect them so you can understand them--: page one and let's being with the introduction----

1. i love how they personalize it , IE dear Christopher , like they are your best friend, not mr or first officer or captain so and so MY BUDDY CHRISTOPHER -- can you say mass form letter to pilot group with no real thought into any of them or the families that they are ultimately going to affect

2. i love how they put the unemployment rate in there as if we dont know, not reminded daily int eh news, and as if their inability to manage and reward the very employees that help build the sister company hasnt freaking contributed to it! If they arent careful, they may be a part of it too.

3. A difficult economic climate and they are doing you a favor by this "bridge agreement--- it's a fuKCing BRIDGE TO NOWHERE!!!! and yes although i came up with THAT , please put that MF on a sticker in combination with a frank was right and burn the MF down!!!! arent you finished getting the company thru their tough times that they basically impose on themselves and financing TSA pilot's possible ultimate demise? stop and read the freaking letter people.

4. i cant believe they think what they are offering is acceptable-- well i guess i can-- i hope you dont think it is

5. higher year of service pay for captains and fo's typical split the pilot group tactic- dont fall for it-- as eric cartman would say "L A M E" and god damn if your a 7 year fo at TSA on the freaking 145 you should have your ATP revoked for lack of judgement and character-- did frank doss say this on the first day of groundschool? i love how they put the monetary worth figure it out after 20-27% in taxes and it aint schit

6. a. when ( besides ASAP- and even then with some dilligence) has a company -Labor COMMITTEE gotten anything accomplished , ... WHEN how is the labor committee going i wonder--- did anyone proof read this letter are most of you not aware of past indiscretions.
b. they will impliment the commuter policy?-- they created the nightmare of people getting to work-- the company makes it sound like they are giving you something that many other airlines have as the STANDARD-- what is the trip drop rate? is it even in the double digits - percentage wise? FLICA--- excuse me while i FLICA buggar on this letter.

7. Another extension woo hoo as if you need another one of those--- they seem to keep using the current state of the economy at the time--- IN FACT TSA LOVES TO NEGOTIATE IN A DOWN ECONOMY-- they will never negotiate in a good one why should they-- they cant ask for concessions then. again UFB. your work rules will be over 12 years old at the time of renegotiations, provided tsa is still around-- they keep extending b/c they know the cost of the contract and its stable and they can project their profits quite easily-- add some twists and turns and it becomes more difficult to project and give those figures to the bank to get the loans for guess who,, geauxjet-- where is TSA's growth, where is your protection-- what good is a bridge to nowhere agreement if there isnt anything in a few years or you dont have a job---- they really just want to reset their negotiation clock-- as if they are going to just say OK it's 2011 -- we're ready to begin where we left off--- who in their right minds believes this crap? who

8. ( page 2) Disappointed? are you freaking serious Disappointed the MEC doesnt let the pilot group vote why? so that you can get a "NO" majority-- like your infamous schitty geauxjet proposal a few years back-- yeah how'd that turn out-- we voted on it and we knew what was gong to happen 75% said F.U. And i really appreciate thsoe who voted no-- you have clearly demonstrated that you arent afraid to say "NO" and trust me mgmnt doesnt like it when they cant predict what the pilot group will do-- they do things like Send this schitty letter out to scare its pilots-- i remember when they were hounding all the first officers who had just got off probation trying to scare them-- they even went after the ones that couldnt vote, thinking they would talk amongst themselves and get them to vote for it----- well again, you cant scare someone who isnt easily frightened- and has nothing to lose- after all TSA has probably screwed them at one time or another and payback - as they say - is a MOFO. think about the numbers of the percentages they documented 12.8 percent of $30 is only about 3.50 and of course 4.9% of let's say $80 is $4 so dont belive the hype they produce those percentage on preset years of service and expect you to say wow im getting a 13% raise-- doesnt work like that rainman! Plus you guys are below industry avg anyway-- i havent seen the rates are they even industry avg-- please tell me they are above mesa-- if not then you can bet what my vote would be.



9. did anyone catch the MEC Zinger they put in there about this not being a last and final offer -- they were of course referring to the geauxjet fiasco-- i guess they were right-- and again the pilot group shouldnt be scared so what--- I seriously doubt they will get rid of their cash cow-- they need TSA to make money to funnel it elsewhere-- play some poker, call their bluff they said these decisions caused directly or indirectly the loss of jobs at TSA-- you should ask an upper member of mgmnt that if we had signed the geauxjet letter would they have still furloughed? and watch their facial expression-- someone take a picture and we'll put it on SNL's "OH REALLY?"

10. i love how they make it sound as if the MEC is screwing over its own pilot group-- trust me-- the outcome would be no-- it might be close but it would still be a "NO" and then where would mgmnt be-- can someone set up a poll here?
MISJUDGING the company's intensions------ WOW those are some pretty serious words from the company who enters into agreements with vague language and only the selfish interest of the company---- tell me what were the company's intensions with captain's authority and the jumpseat, pref bid, flica, geauxjet, asap, wrongfully terminating and targeting elected union officials and heads of committess-- please tell me---- the mec doesnt misjudge, the calculate and strategize b/c the TSA mgmnt's track record is fukcing ABYSMAL and to this date I cant declare one act of good faith in the 9 years i was there.

11. ALPA posturing-- well isnt that the pot calling the kettle black thats all TSA does- b/c thats all they can do.

12. staple them and that way the active tsa pilots will at least have some sort of furlough protection---- there is no reason to sign an agreement if the viability of the company is even in question--- just like i couldnt vote republican b/c mccain hated pilots and the profession and of course labor-- i couldn't side with the company even though they pay my bills knowing that they are not expanding, not taking advantages of synergies b/w companies, and frivolously spending money on the very sister company that screwed the pilots in the first place.

13. Trust your MEC, the company just wants to throw away the probably millions of dollars in your dues that were spent in trying to gain an industry avg - not leading-- just avg contract with the protections and qualities of life that you deserve and require to make this profession even worth coming to work

This classic company maneuvering tactic is typical --
1. negotiate in a down economy, so its pilot group has to negotiate itself out of a hole as if you put them in that hole
2. delay which gives them precious time to stabilize their profits and get financing to use to fund the geauxjet expansion
3. fear and terror
4. divide and conquer

i think they just got back from a negotiating convention and are trying their get along with others routine to see if they got their 99.99 worth.

Hope this helps you see the light thru all the BS.



SKIPPY
 

J32driver

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I was there for the 1st 100% strike authorization in ALPA history several years ago. I hope you guys can uphold the tradition!
 

rjacobs

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RZ is a ****************************** bag.

Burn that mother ********************er down.
 

nwa_contrails

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This "bridge" they're talking about leads to a giant pile of $hit. They only want us to sign because the company is unable to gain financing for ANY new airplanes for TS or GJ. Hmm, I wonder where any new airplanes would go? Soo...the letter they sent to us is trying to scare us into telling our MEC to sign this POS. Hold the line, don't give them an inch.
 

Skippy

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that memo totally backfired-- and the guy who thought of it, wrote it and approved it's distribution and wasted the time, money, and postage of those involved in the process shoudl be terminated.


i love how much money has been spent to prevent a contract-- this bridge contract really costs them nothing-- the money saved since the past extension quite easily exceeds what this bridge to nowhere agreement would provide.

good luck the tsa alum are pulling for you guys and will offer support

SKIPPY

call prater on the bat phone and ask him if the bridge agreement is taking it back or taking it in the back and maybe do another pilot rally at the airport-- maybe you guys can get on the front cover of the magazine in the upcoming months--
 

Draginass

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This is a standard boilerplate union busting tactic . . . trying to negotiate directly with the union members. If you haven't read "Flying the Line," do so. Everything these guys are doing is straight out of the playbook. Next they will be calling your wives and telling them that you're going to be fired and out of a job unless they can convince you to bend over to the company's demands. And yes, that has actually really been done before by some companies.

If confronted by a management type, the only thing you have to say is a polite and smiling "My union speaks for me." Do NOT get roped into a discussion about the contract. They are practiced experts at manipulation and will try and catch you off-balance. Don't fall for it.

The BEST time to negotiate is when the company is beat down. They're less able to afford a serious disruption and will therefor be more inclined to settle.

It's nice to see at least one ALPA group that has some cahones.
 
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Dornier 335

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May I also respectfully add that RL is a pre-marinading, goat-lubricating henchman. And MW is just an a$$hole.
 

nwa_contrails

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I know all the pilots here would love to have those scumbags stapled, but there's too many upper level GJ guys that were over here at TS and left to start GJ that would bitch and moan to their little buttbuddies in TS mangement, so that probably won't happen. We can dream though...
 

airjackson

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"we are committed to the pilots of Trans States Airlines and want to work together to ensure the long term success of our Company."


"...but is necessary to recognize your efforts over the years..."

"...who have a history of misjudging the Company’s intentions when it comes to negotiations."


Absolutely stunning that they could write this memo with a straight face. As a fellow former waterskier, I've seen how this pilot group has given so much, only to be continualy beat down by management. See this for what it is; managements desperate attempt to delay and destroy the TSA pilot group. You guys have untold support everywhere in this industry. Hold the line. It may be painful in the short term but it will be worth it in the end.
 

theo

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Interesting to me that many of the comments telling the TSA pilots to hold the line come from pilots that don't work there. As another non TSA pilot with nothing to lose if you take one for the team. I suggest you look at your situation and do what makes sense for you. Not what a bunch of tough guys looking in from the outside think you should do. Good luck to you in this struggle.
 
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