"blue collar thug"!
Joined APC: Nov 2006
Position: A proponent of...
LEC 99 Update
July 24, 2007
LEC 99 Update
Ladies and Gentlemen of LEC 99,
As we approach the start of the balloting for the FDA LOA, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you. I hope that after educating yourselves on the many aspects of this proposal, you will consider voting against ratifying this LOA.
I feel a certain level of frustration when the company puts information out in which they imply that the union was involved in all aspects of developing this proposal, as I am reasonably certain that no one from the union visited Paris or Hong Kong with company officials for the purpose of fact-finding. In my opinion, it is misleading to the pilot group when the company makes such statements.
I am also confused about some of the statements surfacing lately on how we ended up with the enhanced option. We ended up with this package because that is what the company offered and we took it. That’s it. I don’t recall the company starting any lower or the union countering any higher. With regard to being based in Hong Kong, I think that we are going to be based there because the company wants it that way. Why? That is a question that only the company can answer.
When I started doing MEC work, I understood that even though I was the SFS representative, my job was to work for the betterment of the whole pilot group. Clearly the demographic targeted with this LOA is not 4,800 pilots. I think that is disappointing, and that is why I can’t endorse this LOA. I would like to think that the phrase “no one is left behind” is still the way we do business, but that is for you to decide.
In his e-mail to the pilots, Mr. Lewis writes about some of the facts of this LOA as he sees them. I think we need to expand on a few of those facts.
·Housing Allowance¾Much has been made of the fact that the intention was for the pilot to add whatever he was spending on housing back in the U.S. to the $2,700 U.S. allowance in this LOA to be able to secure adequate housing. The problem is that the company is selling this as a two-year temporary “adventure.” In that case, most pilots will still be paying some kind of mortgage back home. Most of us in SFS do that for tax purposes anyway. Of course, you can rent your house but I think for that short period of time most people will not. Now you are faced with paying a mortgage and coming up with money out of pocket (without equity) to be able to provide decent housing for your family in CDG or HKG. That’s why I think that $2,700 U.S. is not sufficient to provide a fair benefit.
·Seed Money¾Mr. Lewis says that the seed money is to buy things like bed sheets, cleaning supplies, and small appliances. What about furniture? When we visited Guangzhou, we saw fully furnished and serviced apartments, so $10,000 U.S. would have been adequate there. The problem is that it is expensive and difficult to find apartments in CDG or HKG that are like the ones we saw in Guangzhou. Also, what about the two- to three-month deposit and the agent’s commission to secure an apartment? I think the 79 credit hours times your hourly rate or $10,000 U.S., whichever is greater (current CBA relocation allowance), would have been more appropriate.
·Shipping Allowance¾500 pounds . . . are you serious? Mr. Lewis says that they “guessed” that amount. Well, it is obvious that somebody forgot to tell him that we would need more weight in the allowance to be able to furnish a place since the seed money is not enough when you can’t find fully furnished apartments at a reasonable price. How much more do I think is reasonable? I think about 7,500 pounds would have been a more sensible number. That is about how much I brought to SFS, and my apartment is about the size of what you can expect to get in CDG or HKG (1,300 square feet).
·Schools¾I understand the company’s reluctance to pay for very expensive education without knowing how many children they would have to pay for. I think the answer is not to ignore that benefit completely. The reasonable approach would have been to subsidize the tuition to a certain percentage per child and maybe cap the total that will be paid. I am reasonably certain that the vast majority of pilots would have found that acceptable. I agree with Mr. Lewis that school is a personal choice. You can choose private or public schools if you live in the U.S. I think he is wrong trying to compare the choices one has in the U.S. versus the FDAs. We have very limited choices in CDG and HKG without the support of the company.
·Transportation¾If the company does not want to ship a car for only two years, I think that’s fair enough. If that is the case, why not provide some transportation allowance instead. Perhaps that would allow you to add some personal funds to the allowance and pay for the lease of a car. If you don’t want to do that, then you can use that money for all the public transportation that you and your family will require.
Certainly there are other issues, but I think these are the most talked about deficiencies in this LOA. I personally think that a package that offered $5,000 U.S. monthly, to include housing, schooling, and transportation, would have been the minimum required for an average family of two adults and two children. My guess is that’s pretty close to the “ex-Pat deal” the guy in the office will get.
I think it is rather telling that the voting has not even started and the company is already modifying their stance in various subjects in the LOA in response to our reactions. If their “intent” is to inverse people to an FDA for only one month using the STV clause, then go ahead and put it in writing. If they are going to give us the seven days to move, like the current CBA option, then go ahead and put in writing. Even the remail, that has been so important for us in SFS, needs to be put in writing. Please forgive me if I don’t have enough trust to be comfortable with verbal assurances.
Mr. Lewis is absolutely correct when he says that the FedEx pilots are the best option to do the FedEx flying. I think we all share that sentiment. We have proven over the years that we can do international flying very safely and reliably under some very tough conditions. To me, that means we do have some unique skills, perhaps more skills than a guy sitting in an office.
Captain Edgar Irizarry, Chairman
FDX Council 99