Airline Pilot Forums

Airline Pilot Forums was designed to be a community where working airline pilots can share ideas and information about the aviation field. In the forum you will find information about major and regional airline carriers, career training, interview and job seeker help, finance, and living the airline pilot lifestyle.




View Full Version : Changing the Railway Labor Act


chickenorbeef
10-08-2017, 04:59 PM
So has any union or labor group (ie. ALPA, Teamsters etc) ever tried to actively change the rules of the RLA in regards to an automatic “release” timeline?
For example, 2 years of negotiations, 1 year of mediation, 60 days to cool off and then you are allowed an AUTOMATIC release to self help at that point.
Everybody fights their own negotiations with the current rules in place with almost no hope of ever being released for self help and companies knowing this and dragging out limitless negotiations.
If all the work groups got together and lobbied for an automatic release timeline, at least there would be a better chance for labor contracts to move forward.


Droopy
10-08-2017, 06:39 PM
Or a simple change stating all new agreements are retroactive to the amendable date of the previous agreement. Management doesn't like dealing with unknown past costs and now has a serious reason to negotiate in good faith.

rickair7777
10-08-2017, 07:26 PM
Both unions and management are afraid to break the seal on the RLA. You have no way of knowing what you'll get, and the consequences would most likely last for the entire careers of those involved.

Unions are afraid management would buy off the politicians.

Management is afraid if they start the process (which would be lengthy), that someone like the Bern would get in office before it was completed...


galaxy flyer
10-08-2017, 07:50 PM
chickenorbeef,

You say that now, but there was a time (‘83-‘94-ish) the shoe was on the other foot and mgt wanted the release, so they could hire replacements. Careful.

GF

waterboy
10-08-2017, 10:25 PM
chickenorbeef,

You say that now, but there was a time (‘83-‘94-ish) the shoe was on the other foot and mgt wanted the release, so they could hire replacements. Careful.

GF

After how the spirit strike went, I don’t see an airline management team thinking they will be successful finding replacement pilots in the future

DrJekyll MrHyde
10-09-2017, 01:28 PM
chickenorbeef,

You say that now, but there was a time (‘83-‘94-ish) the shoe was on the other foot and mgt wanted the release, so they could hire replacements. Careful.

GF

The big difference being that companies have alternative means of nixing CBAs, but the RLA is all we (labor) have to enforce. By the time any airline needs major concessions from their pilots, their blood thirsty executives have already sucked the golden goose dry, then they’ll simply declare bankruptcy, take a golden parachute, and leave the company to some cronies. Then those new cronie executives will 1113 all the labor CBAs, turn your pension over to the PBGC so you get pennies on the dollar for retirement plan; meantime those new executives will reward themselves handsomely, before the company even returns to profitability, because they’ve been “doing such amazing work to turn the company around.” But you, lowly pilot, will have to wait nearly a decade, or at least 5 years after profitability, to jump through all the RLA hoops to force your company to pay a market rate contract for your services.

I believe AMERICAN had around 10 billion in cash when they last declared bankruptcy. It’s only been getting easier for them.

My point is that it is a completely lopsided system, which exists solely to remove self-help (strike) leverage from transportation unions under the guise of “protecting interstate commence.” It’s utter political bullish!t and was probably written by a major railroad’s private contract attorney in 1926. ALPA should have amassed enough size to successfully campaign for an amendment to the RLA, but not a full re-write. We have a long history of stalled negotiations by airline management, and very few strikes in the last 3 decades. Now is a very good time, during a time of peace for legacy pilot labor groups, to push for an amendment to the RLA. Reasonable time limits for the RLA process must be established.

GogglesPisano
10-09-2017, 02:42 PM
Have you who seen who is running this country now?


We can only hope the RLA isn’t re-written in a fashion against labor’s interest.

CBreezy
10-09-2017, 02:50 PM
The big difference being that companies have alternative means of nixing CBAs, but the RLA is all we (labor) have to enforce. By the time any airline needs major concessions from their pilots, their blood thirsty executives have already sucked the golden goose dry, then they’ll simply declare bankruptcy, take a golden parachute, and leave the company to some cronies. Then those new cronie executives will 1113 all the labor CBAs, turn your pension over to the PBGC so you get pennies on the dollar for retirement plan; meantime those new executives will reward themselves handsomely, before the company even returns to profitability, because they’ve been “doing such amazing work to turn the company around.” But you, lowly pilot, will have to wait nearly a decade, or at least 5 years after profitability, to jump through all the RLA hoops to force your company to pay a market rate contract for your services.

I believe AMERICAN had around 10 billion in cash when they last declared bankruptcy. It’s only been getting easier for them.

My point is that it is a completely lopsided system, which exists solely to remove self-help (strike) leverage from transportation unions under the guise of “protecting interstate commence.” It’s utter political bullish!t and was probably written by a major railroad’s private contract attorney in 1926. ALPA should have amassed enough size to successfully campaign for an amendment to the RLA, but not a full re-write. We have a long history of stalled negotiations by airline management, and very few strikes in the last 3 decades. Now is a very good time, during a time of peace for legacy pilot labor groups, to push for an amendment to the RLA. Reasonable time limits for the RLA process must be established.

While I'm not a huge fan of the RLA, I honestly do believe it's the devil we know that is protecting us. I know it makes a lot of pilots mad, that we can't just go on strike, but self-help works both ways. The company can impose brutal contract terms, replace workers outside the union and so on.

But, I want to emphasize this, if you think that we can go to Congress anytime in the near to mid-term future and get a better deal, you are out of your mind. If the RLA is scrapped, the thing that will replace it will be much more business friendly. One only has to look at the rising tide of "Right to Work" states to see the the GOP is slowly dismantling unions.

For argument's sake, let's say get a new law that says that we could go on strike or other self-help actions whenever we wanted. What do you think the news and customers and big business is going to do? The articles can pretty much write themselves. "Pilots making $300,000 refuse to work. Iowa family out thousands in non-refundable vacation expenses." Let's be honest about your current position within the political game. The GOP hates you because you are hampering businesses with your pesky union. Democrats hate you because pilots at major airlines can make well into the top 1% of income earners in the United States with often lopsided benefit packages. We are lucky we can still claim that we ensure safety of flight but the second that's no longer the case, the rest of America is going to come at you with pitch forks and torches if you ever decide to go on strike.

rickair7777
10-09-2017, 03:25 PM
One only has to look at the rising tide of "Right to Work" states to see the the GOP is slowly dismantling unions.



I see two reasons....

More and more Americans are "information" workers who sit at computers in offices. With a few exceptions (ie Boeing engineers), their job titles are too diverse and their daily interactions with management to close to allow them to visualize worker unity / us vs. them (and hence unions) as an option.

The kind of conversations needed to get the average person motivated enough to do something like particulate in union organization is really hard to do with the boss in the office across from your cubicle.

Since they don't benefit from unions, they are not enthusiastic political supporters.

Two, certain "up and coming" states have populations who have historically had less opportunity than folks in other regions. They are just happy to have shiny new mfg. jobs, and happy with the companies who brought them. That might change a few decades down the line.

Qotsaautopilot
10-09-2017, 04:56 PM
This whole thing is over in 30 years so it doesn't matter.

When the furloughs come down for single pilot ops just wait for the concessions to save jobs. It's going to be a slow terrible death from that point forward. Instead of trying to dismantle the RLA anyone with a few decades left should be planning for an early retirement or a second career or at least a very successful side business

CBreezy
10-09-2017, 05:27 PM
This whole thing is over in 30 years so it doesn't matter.

When the furloughs come down for single pilot ops just wait for the concessions to save jobs. It's going to be a slow terrible death from that point forward. Instead of trying to dismantle the RLA anyone with a few decades left should be planning for an early retirement or a second career or at least a very successful side business

Even if it takes 30 years to develop and certify the tech, it'll take another 20 to replace all existing aircraft. The airframes will not be cheap and $200/hr sounds like a lot for an FO but compared to the cost to develop and distribute reliable single or unmanned tech is going to be pretty steep.

StrykerB21
10-10-2017, 03:31 AM
This whole thing is over in 30 years so it doesn't matter.

When the furloughs come down for single pilot ops just wait for the concessions to save jobs. It's going to be a slow terrible death from that point forward. Instead of trying to dismantle the RLA anyone with a few decades left should be planning for an early retirement or a second career or at least a very successful side business

Not gonna happen. Germanwings.

CantStayAway
10-10-2017, 11:38 AM
Not gonna happen. Germanwings.

That's not likely to change anything. If a nut job like that gets hired somewhere again it could EASILY be repeated even with a 2-man crew. Let's just hope airlines don't hire someone that sick again.

Single pilot will happen someday (likely sooner rather than later).

rickair7777
10-10-2017, 01:52 PM
That's not likely to change anything. If a nut job like that gets hired somewhere again it could EASILY be repeated even with a 2-man crew. Let's just hope airlines don't hire someone that sick again.

Not likely with a two man crew. Germanwings dude and his ilk would be highly unlikely to try something like that if they had to fight it out against someone who is probably more desperate to live then he is to die. IMO even a FA would have prevented germanwings from ever happening just by being there. Calloway was a military veteran and martial artist but his motives were different.

Agreed that germnawings scenario is another obstacle to single pilot ops (for good reason). Single-pilot suicide happens occasionally in general aviation... you just never hear about it because it's solo with no FDR.

CantStayAway
10-10-2017, 02:27 PM
Not likely with a two man crew. Germanwings dude and his ilk would be highly unlikely to try something like that if they had to fight it out against someone who is probably more desperate to live then he is to die. IMO even a FA would have prevented germanwings from ever happening just by being there. Calloway was a military veteran and martial artist but his motives were different.

Agreed that germnawings scenario is another obstacle to single pilot ops (for good reason). Single-pilot suicide happens occasionally in general aviation... you just never hear about it because it's solo with no FDR.

Do you think FedEx 705 would have ended differently if Calloway was armed with a gun? Is it inconceivable that a crazy pilot could have a gun in the cockpit? We need to be careful about what information we post publicly, but if you answer the above questions honestly you may reconsider your stance.

tomgoodman
10-10-2017, 08:09 PM
Even if a single-pilot operation would be statistically just as safe, the public doesn’t think it’s just as safe. Competitors that still used two pilots would be sure to mention it in their advertising. No airline CEO is willing to spend a fortune for airplanes which might contain one pilot and zero passengers. :rolleyes:

rickair7777
10-10-2017, 08:42 PM
Do you think FedEx 705 would have ended differently if Calloway was armed with a gun? Is it inconceivable that a crazy pilot could have a gun in the cockpit? We need to be careful about what information we post publicly, but if you answer the above questions honestly you may reconsider your stance.

What if calloway brought a platoon of ninjas? Or a chain-gun? Calloway was an outlier.

The point is that the presence of another pilot will dissuade most casual suicide attempts, just by being there. Most people (especially depressed/despondent people) do not want to die in a pitched hand to hand combat.

sailingfun
10-12-2017, 12:44 PM
That's not likely to change anything. If a nut job like that gets hired somewhere again it could EASILY be repeated even with a 2-man crew. Let's just hope airlines don't hire someone that sick again.

Single pilot will happen someday (likely sooner rather than later).

There are currently no airliners set up for or designed to be converted to single pilot ops. Of the new aircraft slated to enter service in the next 10 years none are being designed for single pilot ops or setup to be converted to single pilot ops. The only undefined aircraft in that window is the Boeing MOM aircraft and I would place a bet it will not be either.

CantStayAway
10-12-2017, 04:46 PM
There are currently no airliners set up for or designed to be converted to single pilot ops. Of the new aircraft slated to enter service in the next 10 years none are being designed for single pilot ops or setup to be converted to single pilot ops. The only undefined aircraft in that window is the Boeing MOM aircraft and I would place a bet it will not be either.

Admittedly, "sooner" is a relative term. I believe single pilot operations will at least have begun within the next 20 years. In the grand scheme that is "sooner rather than later" (at least to me).

badflaps
10-12-2017, 06:45 PM
I don't think management types are all that keen on reducing crew. DAL's first 767's had a giant space in the cockpit where the F/E station would have gone.

ShyGuy
10-13-2017, 08:15 AM
Even if a single-pilot operation would be statistically just as safe, the public doesn’t think it’s just as safe. Competitors that still used two pilots would be sure to mention it in their advertising. No airline CEO is willing to spend a fortune for airplanes which might contain one pilot and zero passengers. :rolleyes:

I used to think that too. Ol timers and guys in our 40s, 30s, and maybe 20s probably don't want single pilot airplanes or even pilotless planes. But the current infants, toddlers, young kids are going to be raised on automation and machines. iPads in elementary schools, they're going to see more and more AP-equipped Teslas, etc. At some point, they may just become accustomed to full automation and be okay with that in planes with single pilot or even no pilot / drone operation type with someone on the ground.

hilltopflyer
10-13-2017, 12:15 PM
I used to think that too. Ol timers and guys in our 40s, 30s, and maybe 20s probably don't want single pilot airplanes or even pilotless planes. But the current infants, toddlers, young kids are going to be raised on automation and machines. iPads in elementary schools, they're going to see more and more AP-equipped Teslas, etc. At some point, they may just become accustomed to full automation and be okay with that in planes with single pilot or even no pilot / drone operation type with someone on the ground.

So probably the same time frame most people here are saying. 40 years minimum till all the older generation dies and everyone is ok with it.

Qotsaautopilot
10-14-2017, 10:33 PM
I honestly think they could figure out a way to recertifiy much if the current fleet for single pilot ops. The public is the smallest obstacle imo. I think most new cars will be driverless in the next 10 years. Once those are all over the roads the public won't care. Sure airlines may not buy single pilot aircraft just to save a few bucks on a FO unless they need the new aircraft anyway. Now if they can cheaply make current aircraft single pilot I can assure you they would love to get rid of half of us ASAP.

Today's new hires are the last generation of pilots that may see a career to retirement imo. I hope I'm proven wrong.

TallFlyer
10-15-2017, 06:11 AM
I agree that trying to amend the RLA is probably a path that pilots shouldn't try and go down, for all the reasons mentioned earlier. The ability for spontaneous self help, while the wet dream of keyboard warriors everywhere, isn't the big help you think it's going to be. As a previous poster mentioned, the headlines write themselves.

Consider also, the RLA requires employees of a particular class must bargain system wide. That is, everyone on one seniority list, under one contract. Imagine if management could get that changed. How about a legacy airline with separate seniority lists and CBAs for each base, or type, or seat, or base and type and seat. Want to change any of the above? Guess, what, bottom of that particular list and new CBA for you. Anyone want to risk that future for the ability to strike whenever you want?

Lastly, over the last decade the RLA hasn't been the impediment to great contracts that pilots think it is. Bankruptcy and the economic environment have been. Case in point, the pre 9/11 contracts of the late 90s and early 2000s, all negotiated under the RLA. But the moment the economic environment changes, the leverage changes, as well as the tools (like BK) that management is willing to pull out of their toolbox and hit us with.

rickair7777
10-15-2017, 06:36 AM
Admittedly, "sooner" is a relative term. I believe single pilot operations will at least have begun within the next 20 years. In the grand scheme that is "sooner rather than later" (at least to me).


Apparently the general public isn't keen on automated cars... and that's something which will directly benefit them (automated airliners would initially cost much more than they save, and be of no tangible benefit to the consumer at all).

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/14/opinion/self-driving-cars.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0