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Old 11-26-2007, 06:30 AM   #1  
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Default Stewing in Their Own Juices

Caution: No soundbytes

For the Public Record:

Originally Posted by Albief15 View Post
I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but here's what I'm figuring out...we are being divided and conquered one little battle at a time, and the union is not drawing any lines in the sand.
1. Correct, you are not the sharpest tool in the shed because you lack experience in these matters. Perhaps, you will get sharper with time. To be precise, the company does not need to "divide and conquer;" it only needs to conquer. We have already divided ourselves, miserably. My one-hour PowerPoint presentation to the MEC in early 2005, was dedicated to the very notion that, over decades, we have divided ourselves into "tribes" that are perennially engaged in tribal warfare with each other. I have been writing about this for the last dozen years at FedEx and we (the entire profession) have been aware of it since at least 1983.

2. ALPA is a convenient whipping boy for me (and many others), but ALPA is the sum of its members. It is the unwillingness of, literally, tens of thousands of individual pilots to abandon failed union policies that has placed our profession in a likely unrecoverable nose-dive.

Returning here to read after several months, I am, again, astonished by this fact: Many contributors seem unaware that much of the revelatory advice and predictions that they are publishing has been discussed and dissected ad nausea for many, many years. With rare exception, their ideas do not work, they have not worked, and they will not work in modern times. The idea, as expressed by some, that "we will fix 'it' in the next contract," is an especially fantastic delusion for which there is no current rational basis.

Likewise, favorite son, AlbieF15, is completely mistaken when he states "I think our LEC design has some outstanding qualities." The fact is that the LEC system has no outstanding qualities. It is an archaic system that is broken both technically and strategically. Some of you have recently discovered how far you can get with an idea using this system. It does not work and it cannot fix modern problems. Period. Failure to fix the LEC system since Deregulation is one of the grand leadership catastrophes in airline labor history.

3. The FedEx pilots, under the ALPA banner, have, by a vote of some 93%, stripped themselves of all possible leverage with both the company and the union by doing these two things:

A. They voted to eliminate essential duty provisions that protected against "day-night swaps" and line impurity; and,

B. They voted in favor of Agency Shop.

Item A: It was learned with amazing clarity at UAL in 1981, that the abandonment of certain critical work rules is an error from which there is no return. Such an error not only causes irreparable damage to the individual pilot group, but sets a horrific standard for the entire profession. Anyone who has been around a while and paid attention, understands what happened at United, and that the pilots there never recovered from it. Now, the FedEx pilots have "repeated history" in a truly remarkable manner. In one fell swoop, they ignored the past and lost control of their most prized contractual provisions at the worst possible historical moment.

This error need not have occurred. Long-time FedEx pilot and ALPA volunteer, JS, announced to many people at the time that the new contract would be "concessionary" due to "holes in the scheduling section." These included the gutting of the "line purity" side letter, changing trip rig values, and failing to close other existing exploitable deficiencies. He urged others to vote against passage. In their wisdom, the pilots ignored this advice and, in lemming-like manner, overwhelmingly gave away the farm. No one, including the MEC and the NC appears to be interested in listening to anyone with experience.

Item B: Long-term evidence shows that Agency Shop-type provisions prevent an "effective economic feedback loop" between members and union officials, thus, permitting union officials to ignore the will of the membership. Nonetheless, the FedEx pilots overwhelmingly consented to substantially abandon control over their union officials. In my opinion, the FedEx pilots still do not know what they have got themselves into on this. The fact that several candidates for ALPA positions still believe that they can "work within the 'system'" to recover from the damage that they, themselves, voted for, shows remarkable naiveté and historical ignorance.

It has been aptly demonstrated over many years that when union members lose the ability to vote with their feet and pocketbooks, they lose the ability to protect themselves against the corrupt and incompetent behavior of union officials. Like the Berlin Wall, Agency Shop was designed to keep "you" in, and outside influences out. It is successful in both cases.

4. Pilots have demonstrated a clear preference for being "acted upon" rather than acting. This is reflected in their nearly complete impotency in responding to whatever comes down from either the company or the union...optimized pairings, FDA LOAs, Age 60, or anything else. This is a profession that has made itself helpless. How? By tolerating injustices such as "A, B and C" pay scales and FDA LOAs imposed upon junior pilots, and embracing baseless age limitations for older pilots. Somehow, pilots think they can do these things to each other without eroding their solidarity. Even the dullest tool in the shed should be able to figure this out. Whether it is at FedEx or at USAir, we are now seeing the culmination of decades of leadership and followership failure that has created internal conflicts that are probably irreparable. As one of my T-38 instructors once said when I was screwing up a final turn, "We will be lucky to get out of this with both burners."

Three years ago, the FedEx pilots could have had the world on a string. I practically begged the FedEx MEC to take the lead in our profession. But they let it slip away by following traditional ideas and methodology. Now, the pilots are operating nearly at the free and unrestrained will of management. Those who do not see this, please take one step forward and identify yourselves.

Solution: I don't think there is one at this point. Defeat is in the air at FedEx. But, if the pilots wish to have any chance at restoring leverage, these two things must happen: 1. They must immediately petition and force the union to renounce Agency Shop; and, 2. They must then abandon the ALPA model. It is failed, it cannot be fixed from within, and it must be replaced with something truly new (not ALPA-lite...FPA). It would be most refreshing if DW and others would stand up and announce that "The system we have is a failure and we must build something new." I would respect this. If the pilots don't do these things, they should plan on continuing to stew in their own juices. It is as simple as that.


Last edited by rjlavender; 11-26-2007 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:35 AM   #2  
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Another chapter of Boobie Lightpurple's "Mein Kampf". What a way to start the day.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:49 AM   #3  
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I have never before agreed with "NON-MEMBER BOB" but he does make some good points here.

- I was sold a "bill of goods" with the sales pitch the NC made before the last contract vote. I'm getting paid a reasonable amount but I gave up many scheduling advantages ("domestic solve?", city purity, DH's, over 8 hrs block).

- Senior guys like BC and DW benefited more than others (more than me!)

- I'm a bit worried I will be FORCED to work past age 60 (I DO NOT WANT TO!)

- Although I was in favor of agency shop, I'm disappointed that free-loaders like NMB weren't included (I know about the TN conditions of employment issues)
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:50 AM   #4  
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The "All Knowing" and "I Have More Experience Than You" RJ speaks his usual drivel.

1. "You lack experience in these matters". Other than you, who has?

2. "ALPA is the sum of its members" - for this you are correct, but seeing how you refuse to be a member, are you helping or hurting?

3. What makes your idea on how to fix the "broken system" the only way to effect any change?

4. Do you really think you are helping the situation or do you just like to type?
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:18 AM   #5  
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Hasn't this guy turned 60 yet?
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:09 AM   #6  
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Did somebody pass gas?
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:34 AM   #7  
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I think Bob has it wrong. The strength of or MEC or ALPA is the membership. PERIOD. But it requires each individual to take the initiative to make informed decisions. I don't know how many people did not know some of the provisions in the LOA and voted saying "It doesn't effect me, I don't plan on ever bidding it." THAT LACKADASICAL ATTITUDE IS WHAT IS GOING TO KILL US. And being a non-member because the system is not perfect is not helping the profession.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:49 AM   #8  
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Sorry your Thanksgiving wasn't as enjoyable as mine. I'm not saying life is perfect right now, but I don't buy that "defeat is in the air." Donate your time, resources, or talents to those in need, and have a Merry Christmas/Hannuka/Kwanza season.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:13 AM   #9  
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Bob, I'm still waiting for your answers from the US Airways post!!! You have NO credibility and unless you answer those questions I think you are lying in your posts.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:27 AM   #10  
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Bob: In case your forgot during your absence from the forum (Betty Ford, maybe) here are the direct questions you have refused to answer.

This from Micro's post back in September:

"Bob, Let me make it simple for you:

1. Where is the link to the USAir article elsewhere on this site (as you supposedly wrote and posted it FOR USAir)?

2. What are the name or initials of the MEC member you supposedly ate lunch with?

Step up and answer the questions or the rest of us might begin to think you might not be telling the truth. Show us all YOUR credibility!"
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