Union Vs. Contract Law Firm

Poppa Hodax

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Serious question -
What if a regional airline replaced their union with a law firm specializing in contracts, particularly aviation contracts? The regional could put the firm on retainer for the equivalent of union dues. The professional attorneys could negotiate the contracts. When a union member has a problem, he/she calls the attorneys, and if the Company was wrong, the Company pays the bill.
This would free up pilots to fly the line, and place professional litigators to deal with the Company lawyers. This would also remove the conflict of interest in having the same union represent a mainline company and its regional carriers.
 

Tarzan

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The company is not required to follow the contract negotiated if it falls outside the RLA.
 

DGdaPilot

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This is essentially what ALPA Nat'l has in DC. Look into the background of the lawyers at Nat'l. It's pretty impressive.
 

chqflyer

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Pardon my ignorance. Why would a contract negotiated by a law firm instead of a union lawyer fall outside the RLA?
 

Tarzan

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Pardon my ignorance. Why would a contract negotiated by a law firm instead of a union lawyer fall outside the RLA?

the way I read his the premise (decertify the union) he proposed wouldn't exactly equate to an organized group. If your organization isn't legally recognized, no RLA enforcement.
 

sweptback

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Anything involving lawyers will always have loopholes and gotchas. It's how they make their living. I don't see how using non-ALPA lawyers would fix this problem.

People think that because pilots do the negotiating for their airline that somehow they're not competent. They've been trained by ALPA National, and there's at least one, usually two lawyers involved in the process. I don't see why I'd want to turn over my contract goals to a bunch of lawyers that are paid by the billable hour and have no incentive to get the deal done, not to mention that won't end up working under the finalized agreement.

As I understand, the Teamsters operate utilizing paid staffers, not pilot volunteers. I don't see many groups banging on the door to sign up for IBT747.
 

BoilerUP

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sweptback said:
As I understand, the Teamsters operate utilizing paid staffers, not pilot volunteers. I don't see many groups banging on the door to sign up for IBT747.

ALPA National has paid staffers, IPA has paid staffers, SWAPA has paid staffers, NPA has paid staffers.

There's something to be said about having professional negotiators available during negotiations; professional pilots will always be at a disadvantage when negotiating with professional labor attorneys like those employed by Ford & Harrison.
 

DGdaPilot

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ALPA National has paid staffers, IPA has paid staffers, SWAPA has paid staffers, NPA has paid staffers.

There's something to be said about having professional negotiators available during negotiations; professional pilots will always be at a disadvantage when negotiating with professional labor attorneys like those employed by Ford & Harrison.

So the lawyers from your MEC and ALPA Nat'l aren't as professional in negotiations as the ones the company hires? If your MEC is just sending pilots in to negotiate (without ALPA lawyers), then you've got some serious issues.
 

Erlanger

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The company is not required to follow the contract negotiated if it falls outside the RLA.

Don't know where you're getting your info but a bonifide contract would be upheld by state and federal laws. You should do some research. Every diehard union guy wants to tell us otherwise.
 

sweptback

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There's something to be said about having professional negotiators available during negotiations; professional pilots will always be at a disadvantage when negotiating with professional labor attorneys like those employed by Ford & Harrison.

Are you sure about that? What on earth do you call the ALPA attorney, E&FA specialist, etc. if not professional negotiators?

And, from what I've seen about F&H attorneys, I'm not too concerned. I've seen our puny little regional guys get the best of them several times.
 

Nevets

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Don't know where you're getting your info but a bonifide contract would be upheld by state and federal laws. You should do some research. Every diehard union guy wants to tell us otherwise.

Unless you are represented by an entity recognized by the NMB, your company is not required to negotiate anything.
 

Erlanger

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Unless you are represented by an entity recognized by the NMB, your company is not required to negotiate anything.

Not talking about negotiating anything though it would be in the best interest of the company to do that. I'm talking about an already negotiated existing contract in place.
 

Nevets

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Not talking about negotiating anything though it would be in the best interest of the company to do that. I'm talking about an existing contract in place.

No that I disagree with you but if its in the best interest of companies to negotiate a contract then why don't companies with large non-unionized employee groups do that?

Anyways, like I said, unless you are recognized by the NMB as the bargaining unit representative, they cannot bargain for you. The company may bargain with said entity but it would not be a legal contract.
 

Erlanger

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No that I disagree with you but if its in the best interest of companies to negotiate a contract then why don't companies with large non-unionized employee groups do that?

Anyways, like I said, unless you are recognized by the NMB as the bargaining unit representative, they cannot bargain for you. The company may bargain with said entity but it would not be a legal contract.

What are you talking about? Companies all the time have contracts with it's employees either as a group or individually, airline or not. At Skywest we have a contract and have had pilots and flight attendants sue and win when there's been a breach of that contract. These contracts are legal and have been upheld by federal and state laws. They are indeed legal contracts. I will concede that not everyone has the money nor the will to sue, where as having a union takes care of that for you.
 

Nevets

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What are you talking about? Companies all the time have contracts with it's employees either as a group or individually, airline or not. At Skywest we have a contract and have had pilots and flight attendants sue and win when there's been a breach of that contract. These contracts are legal and have been upheld by federal and state laws. They are indeed legal contracts. I will concede that not everyone has the money nor the will to sue, where as having a union takes care of that for you.

We are talking about employees that fall under the RLA right? If so, then only a bargaining unit representative recognized by the NMB is legally allowed to bargain on your behalf. What you have at SKW is not a contract. And if it is, it is not legally binding on SKW or its pilots (who signed on your behalf and which and how many pilots voted for that person to sign on their behalf?). That is why you are at-will employees. If you don't like their terms of employment, you can resign at your will. Sure, you can sue them under other federal or state laws but not under the terms of employement.

Also, I know that there are certain individuals that do have legally binding contracts. Like your CEO for example, has a legally binding employment contract. He doesn't fall under the RLA though. Anyways, that is why I further stipulated "large employee groups" in my previous post. I don't think that companies like Skywest see having large employee groups being able to bargain collectively as being beneficial to them. Like I said, I don't agree with that but obviously that is how they feel or otherwise they would not have a problem the NMB recognizing an entity as a bargaining representative of their employees.
 
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sweptback

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What are you talking about? Companies all the time have contracts with it's employees either as a group or individually, airline or not. At Skywest we have a contract and have had pilots and flight attendants sue and win when there's been a breach of that contract. These contracts are legal and have been upheld by federal and state laws. They are indeed legal contracts. I will concede that not everyone has the money nor the will to sue, where as having a union takes care of that for you.

Quit deluding yourself. You have an employee handbook.

There are a few laws pertaining to an employee handbook and at-will employment states, but it's not the same as having a labor contract.
 

Erlanger

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We are talking about employees that fall under the RLA right? If so, then only a bargaining unit representative recognized by the NMB is legally allowed to bargain on your behalf. What you have at SKW is not a contract. And if it is, it is not legally binding on SKW or its pilots (who signed on your behalf and which and how many pilots voted for that person to sign on their behalf?). That is why you are at-will employees. If you don't like their terms of employment, you can resign at your will. Sure, you can sue them under other federal or state laws but not under the terms of employement.

Also, I know that there are certain individuals that do have legally binding contracts. Like your CEO for example, has a legally binding employment contract. He doesn't fall under the RLA though. Anyways, that is why I further stipulated "large employee groups" in my previous post. I don't think that companies like Skywest see having large employee groups being able to bargain collectively as being beneficial to them. Like I said, I don't agree with that but obviously that is how they feel or otherwise they would not have a problem the NMB recognizing an entity as a bargaining representative of their employees.

Where are you getting that? The RLA says nothing about that. Under the RLA, "A company can bargain with an individual, a commitee or an organization unless a union is the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit, including those that do not want it".

ALPA tryed suing Skywest about 2 years ago to get SAPA dissolved because they felt it may violate the RLA and they lost.
 

Nevets

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Where are you getting that? The RLA says nothing about that. Under the RLA, "A company can bargain with an individual, a commitee or an organization unless a union is the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit, including those that do not want it".

ALPA tryed suing Skywest about 2 years ago to get SAPA dissolved because they felt it may violate the RLA and they lost.

Like I said, the company can bargain with you if they want. We agree that its in their best interest to do so but unfortunately they don't always agree unless its the CEO. What you have is not a contract and therefore there was no good faith bargaining. Did the pilots ever agree for someone to bargain on their behalf? What was the vote? If they did, I missed that news.

I do vaguely recall something about that lawsuit. Can you point me to where I can verify your information on it?
 
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Tarzan

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Don't know where you're getting your info but a bonifide contract would be upheld by state and federal laws. You should do some research. Every diehard union guy wants to tell us otherwise.

Easy there Francis before you have a stroke. What are you so angry about? and why are you considering me to be a unionista? My take on unions... Necessary evil. I don't like them negotiating every single thing under the sun. It costs the company money and eventually, the employees. But I like being protected by some over zealous airline executive looking to make a name for themselves.

I know of no contract that is in force with a group of employees, negotiated after their employment by an entity not recognized by the NMB. There are plenty made prior to employment but that is on an individual level. I believe what the original thread proposed would have been only an agreement that would have required a law suit to overcome any breach. You really think a company is going to finance an entity to sue itself?
 

Nevets

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Where are you getting that? The RLA says nothing about that. Under the RLA, "A company can bargain with an individual, a commitee or an organization unless a union is the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit, including those that do not want it".

ALPA tryed suing Skywest about 2 years ago to get SAPA dissolved because they felt it may violate the RLA and they lost.

By the way, in your post I qouted here, you agree that your employement falls under the RLA. Earlier, you mentioned that people at your company have sued because of breach of their "contract." If so, and if you are bargaining under the RLA, the RLA requires a greivance and arbitration process decided by a non-court neutral. Is this they type of arrangement you have in your "contract?" If so, then on what grounds were those lawsuits flied under? Or were they injunctions to force your employer to abide by the arbitrator's ruling?
 
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