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Old 01-18-2007, 06:09 AM   #9  
shackone
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Joined APC: May 2006
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As a brand-spanking new FE, I once saw a union advertisement that proclaimed their exact position as 'More money, less work'. Having come out of the military and with no previous union experience, I found that odd. I wondered how people would think such an idea would work in the long run.

It didn't, of course. Almost twenty years later, the industry is strewn with the wreckage of those that thought this was the way to go.

In 2003, I recall that there was a claim that the average AA pilot worked something like 47 actual hours for some 70 or so hours of pay. The precise numbers probably aren't as important as the idea.

Us TWA folks also found the APA contract to be quite different from what we had known. It seemed to be an instrument crafted over many years where the objective was to achieve just what that union advert had said. We supposed that the amazing growth and success of AA from the mid 80s was such that AA management went along with these contracts since there seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of pax and money.

Times change. No more inexhaustible supply of money. But a good salary is there to be made if unions drop that 'more money, less work' mantra and go with a 'good money, good work' idea. This idea has certainly worked at SWA.

I suggest to our AA friends here that they take a good look at the Pref Bidding concept. Yes...it does mean doing more with fewer pilots...but now, as attrition reduces the number of pilots, it might be time to reconsider. One number being bandied about back in 2003 was that AA was 20% overstaffed in pilots. Now, if that was true then, it was just another example of that union advert in action.

No doubt, there are those who think that the whole idea is to get as many on the payroll as possible...and then demand top pay for them. Somehow, that just doesn't seem to be a workable idea over time. It sure as heck hasn't proved to be the case over the last 20 years.

Over time, I see our collective futures best assured by a more 'lean and mean' approach to pilot numbers. Overmanning in the long run falls victim to economic turndowns. There has to be a better way. Our careers would be far more stable if we bargained for a 'fair wage for a fair amount of work' position. Not that this would be easy...but perhaps over time, management and labor could find that middle road where both prosper.
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