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Old 07-04-2007, 07:33 PM   #1  
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TonyM's Avatar
Joined APC: May 2007
Posts: 26
Default LOA Bottom Line...STV.

A vote for this LOA is a vote to send a lot of people half way around the world, for three months at a time. It isn't beyond the possibility that it could affect almost the entire widebody seniority list for just the HKG FDA.

The money/incentives will cause people to bid the FDAs or not...that is free market, which is fine with me. Forcing someone to go against their will for that long is not acceptable.

Below is the letter that I sent to the union. It's long, so it won't bother me if you don't read it, but here it is. Feel especially free to make fun of the LOA 'wish list' at the bottom. (my apologies for the generic formatting, it's a cut and paste from Word)

The LOA: In a word, it is disappointing. If it were only the incentive and compensation portion of the LOA that were disappointing then you probably wouldnít be getting this e-mail. Iíd chalk it up to differing expectations. The LOA would either be ratified or not, folks would either bid it or not, and that would be about it. It is the concessionary aspects of the LOA that most concern me, followed closely by the vagueness of many aspects of the LOA.

Iím exactly the demographic to whom this type of assignment should appeal (single, no kids). Honestly, Iíve never been intently interested in bidding an FDA, but certainly could have been convinced if the incentives were right. My initial reaction to the LOA was, ďNot even close. I guess I wonít be bidding those places.Ē The more I think about it, the more that initial reaction was correct. There are just too many unknowns, like how do I get my medical updated in HKG or Paris, what about medical insurance coverage overseas, what to expect the bid-packs to be like, or even what aircraft will be operated. I realize that some of the operational things can and will change, but Iím sure that the company knows how the FDA will operate and I certainly canít bid it without some insight into that nor can I support this LOA for the crew force.

The deal breaker for me is the STV D.7 provision. Without this, crewmembers would bid the FDA on the merits of the LOA, but nobody could be forced to man the FDA in other than a SIBA fashion. With the STV language, six times the number of crews needed to man the FDA could be STVíd for three months at a time, on a rotating basis. If HKG were a 100 crew base, thatís 600 CONUS based crews-- that would include every Airbus F/O and almost all of the Captains (about the same for the MD-11). A third of those crews would go twice in a two year period. Even if the FDA were half this size (50 crews), Captains and F/Oís bidding 50 percent in CONUS could be forced to go overseas for three months at a time for little more compensation than extra per diem.

Worst case, the company could keep the STV going for 42 continuous months, if the FDA were to be closed 42 months after opening, and some of those crews would go three times. In fact, the company could open a multi-aircraft FDA and do this to MD-11 and A-300 crews concurrently. They could open and close the FDA every 24 months and continually staff these FDAs with CONUS crews. Granted, these last few scenarios may be unlikely, but even if one crewmember can be involuntarily placed in an FDA for any period longer than a normal bid-monthís work days, then I will be against the LOA.

The STV provision completely gives back a basic part of our CBA that allows individual pilots to decide whether they bid the FDA. It also makes the LOA apply to a lot more pilots than just those who plan on bidding the FDAs. It has far reaching effect s high into the seniority list. If the company wants temporary crews overseas for longer than a SIBA assignment, they need to offer significant compensation to entice pilots to voluntarily bid it. We should not allow our pilots to be sent against their will.

As a union, our goal should be to negotiate an LOA that fills the FDA seats with pilots on the property and minimizes the number of new-hires that have to accept an FDA as a condition of employment. In the short time that Iíve had to ponder this LOA, here are some (not all) things that should be included in any agreement that sends a pilot to an FDA:

Education costs for English speaking schools.

Include Medical Coverage with specific provisions for the FDA.

Pilots should be Pre approved to return to a CONUS domicile if after fulfilling the time commitment the pilot cannot hold a lateral seat-bid in CONUS. (i.e. A CDG-757 Captain who still canít hold NB captain stateside after 3 years. That pilot is pre-approved to bid back to WB F/O if he/she desires to return from FDA).

Tax equalization so that the company pays all of the foreign taxes and the pilot bears the lesser tax bill as if the he lived in CONUS, or at the FDA (whichever is less). It seems that the current LOA gives the Expat tax benefit to the company.

Class of service IAW the CBA. LAX-HKG is a First Class ticket, not Business.

COLA and housing allowance in line with actual cost of living in the local economy.

New-hires assigned to FDA as a condition of employment get 2nd year pay for their 1st year. Fifty to Sixty grand in HKG or Paris just wonít cut it.

New-hires assigned to FDA trigger Passover for that aircraft seat regardless of base, eliminating the loophole that the company has created with the purple nugget program. They could hold a bid today, allow all the ANC F/Os to bid MEM; then they could lateral the ANC crews to MEM and cancel the bid of the more senior F/Os without recourse. That would save a lot of training costs in the short run.

Approximate number of crews and aircraft types to be utilized as well as approximate bid pack construction.

It should not include any provisions which are concessionary or change the current CBA to our detriment. Exceptions can be made for operational requirements like the GT from HKG to CAN.

Thanks for reading, I realize that it turned into a novel and it might not be the only one that youíve received recently. If you want, you can reach me on my cell xxx. Iím heading east to the desert with my Ďotherí flying job, but should be back this weekend.

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Old 07-04-2007, 07:53 PM   #2  
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Posts: 2,626

Very good letter. Thanks for the effort.
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:01 PM   #3  
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BrownGirls YUM's Avatar
Joined APC: Jun 2006
Posts: 478

This person gets it.
I would only add that the GT thing needs to be detailed. Pick up crewmember at home? (most won't have cars), GT deviation?

The single, most important statement Tony makes here is:"

""It should not include any provisions which are concessionary or change the current CBA to our detriment.""
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:03 PM   #4  
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Position: 767 FO
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Can we blow this up and post it on the union board.
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:08 PM   #5  
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Joined APC: Jan 2007
Position: MD-11 F/O
Posts: 356

Flood your LEC's with a modified copy of this letter! Nice job
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:39 PM   #6  
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Joined APC: Jul 2007
Position: Airbus F/O
Posts: 15

I would like to take this opportunity to voice my concerns on the ongoing negotiations of the Hong Kong pilot domicile. First, let me premise this by saying that I am always grateful for all the hard work that our union officers put in on behalf of the membership.

This LOA will set the precedent for all future international domiciles and will not just affect the 80 or so pilots based in Asia. It is crucial that the pilot group demands FedEx to act like the Fortune 500 company it is. There is no reason that this negotiated LOA should not be comparable to those received by employees at other international companies.

Living in Asia in general and Hong Kong specifically is expensive. The Herald Tribune recently ran an article listing Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world for expatriate workers. Housing, schooling, personal transportation costs are all elevated compared to living in the States. A compensation package should be negotiated that takes all these expenses into account. I do not feel that it is right for the company to expect us to have to lower our standards of living in order for them to have an Asia domicile. I also do not feel it us unreasonable for us to expect a negotiated agreement allowing us to live at our present standard of living.

Housing in Hong Kong will cost $8500 and up. The proposed $2700 housing allowance falls far short of being realistic. Cathay and Dragon Air pilots receive $8000 plus a month in housing allowance. Regardless of their pay should we not get at least an equivalent amount?

For those of us with school age children, education is also a major expense. We do not have the option of sending our kids to public school. School in Hong Kong costs a minimum of $15000 a year per child. British school in Hong Kong is $45000 a year per student. The payment on school tuition is considered a cost of doing business for every other company doing business over seas. Should it not be for FedEx?

Pilots and more importantly their families endure significant hardships and inconveniences when accepting an international posting. Everyday events like buying groceries, going to the bank, paying the bills all take on new meaning when trying to do them overseas. Dealing with the cultural differences and red tape of living in Asia is both stressful and tiring. I am sure this is one of the reasons that the families of every international company get at least one if not two fully paid trips back to the States every year. Once again it is a cost of doing business for these companies. Should it not be for FedEx?

There was considerable fear in Subic Bay that the union will not “ go to bat” for us on these issues because it will only affect the 80 pilots living overseas. I am sure that FedEx has plans for expansion in both Asia and Europe. How long is this issue only going to affect 80 pilots? The importance of a fair and equitable agreement, one that addresses housing, schooling, transportation, and health care costs is crucial to the quality of life for the portion of the crew force who now and in the future choose to work overseas for FedEx. In negotiating this LOA all these issues should have been addressed. They were not. FedEx must step up to the plate and act like the international company that it is. It may sound like a lot of money but we are not going over seas on holidays. We are going to work hard and try to make a living. We should not be penalized for that. For every other international company it is just a cost of doing business. Should it not be for FedEx?

I am sure that in Memphis $2700 and month for housing sounds like a lot but in Hong Kong it will not get you a cardboard box between the train tracks and the garbage dump. It would also be nice to be able to send my kids to school so they too can have all the opportunities in life that I have been fortunate to have.

I really think we have to take this opportunity to show the company that we are tired of being treated like second class citizens. We must vote no and hand this LOA back to them.

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