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Seniority List

Old 03-17-2009, 02:36 PM
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My wife and I took our son on a college tour over spring break. He doesn’t really know what he wants to do yet but we thought it would be nice to show him some campuses. During the tour of one of the campuses, I was delighted to run into an old acquaintance, Barbie. I used to see her on deadheads but I hadn’t seen her in awhile and I wondered what happened to her. Let me tell you, she is doing great. Did you know that she just turned 50? She told me that she is not flying the airways anymore and is back in college still being the career girl that she has always been. She is taking some really interesting classes and she started to get my son excited about going to college. She joked that she had even learned how to spell seniority, but she still used the spell checker “just in case”.

She told us about one of her economics classes and it reminded me of some recent discussions here on the forum that seem to equate furloughing junior people with capitalism and doing something to amortize the costs of flight crews over the entire group as somehow less than capitalistic. I am pretty sure that these posts are not from pilots at my airline because I have yet to talk to one of them who is in favor of furloughing even if not furloughing means lower incomes for themselves. Perhaps it is because I tend to fly with a lot of junior people. Others on this site have posted rebuttals to the capitalists that are much better articulated than mine, but Barbie added something that has been overlooked by these self-described capitalists. They have forgotten how they came to have seniority themselves.

In the early days of aviation there weren’t many passengers. There were several reasons for this but the budding industry did not produce planes that had many seats or could carry much of a load. The pilots also couldn’t navigate without looking outside and they could not keep the airplane right side up when they got in a cloud because they had no attitude indicator or gyro. People were scared of airplanes and crackups (that’s what they called them back then) were relatively common. There were many other things going on as well like limited weather reporting, no communications, no ATC, engines that frequently quit… You get the picture.

In spite of all these apparent obstacles, aviation itself actually thrived. The 1920’s and 1930’s are called aviation’s golden age. However, a lot of people were also killed. One of the ways that aviation companies were able to make money was the airmail flight. Even though the airmail contracts were relatively lucrative for the owners of the companies, the requirements to complete trips on time were stringent and the penalties were high for canceled flights. Pilots were frequently faced with flights that stretched the limits of their experience, equipment, and weather. These trips were also done primarily at night. If a pilot decided that his limits were going to be exceeded and thus cancel the flight, the company’s backup plan was to fire the son of a b____ and then get an even less experienced poor b______ to complete the trip and thus become a new captain.

The pilots who were still living quickly realized that this system did not lend itself to a predictable career progression or a long life. So, they came up with a system that has evolved into the seniority list we have today. All pilots on the seniority list thus support each other. If it were not for the junior pilots accepting and supporting the senior pilots, even when the junior pilot may be more experienced and competent than the senior pilot, the system could not exist and would fall apart.

Paradoxically, the seniority system also benefitted the aviation companies themselves because it leveled the playing field somewhat, allowing for a fairer competition between competing companies.

The seniority list is not a perfect system by any means, but it is better than the one described above. If we did not have a seniority system then furloughs would be accomplished in a very different fashion. In a way the heroes of seniority are the junior people for accepting this less than capitalistic system. They are the ones who should be for capitalism. They work the most, and get paid the least.

Then Barbie told me that she had just written a paper where she attempted to say that if you want to strengthen your airline, then the junior pilots support the senior pilots on the way up and the senior pilots support the junior pilots on the way down. I told her I thought that one of the cargo carriers might actually have a provision in their work rules that automatically reduced the hours for everyone if there was not enough flying. She thought that sounded pretty progressive, but then she pointed out that she is still just a student.

Last edited by CurtissRobin; 03-17-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:33 AM
  #2  
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Hey, I'd still do her. What does the rest of that gobbledgook mean?
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:57 AM
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Son of NMB?
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:05 AM
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This has gotta be DM's project submitted from New Zealand during the "Expository writing that builds Unity"/Leadership Seminar.

Course Outline:
During this three day course we will wax poetic about our noble intentions and re-invent ourselves as the global leaders of our individual unions. Ambiance will be enhanced by Caviar, Champagne, Corky's BBQ, and guided tours of the New Zealand Rain Forest including the set where "Lord of the Rings" was filmed. Following a "surprise" guest speech by President Obama about the importance of creating an air of self-importance, individual seminar participants will author a missive intended to ring a noble tone and a new idealism using an implausibly ridiculous allegory all while trying to minimize a condescending tone. Paternal direct references to "Flying the Line" must be incorporated.

Each participant running for elective office will receive a limited edition replica "Ring" with the inscription:

"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them"

IFALPA will provide members in Hobbit attire if the participants want to practice ruling MiddleEarth.

Sorry CR......couldn't resist. I found your other two posts informative....this one was silly.......because everyone knows that the Barbie is still Hot!!!! Except in this day and age......she's also loose.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:14 AM
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Sorry...Barbie is made in China. Until the Commies stop manipulating the value of their currency, any ideas she has about capitalism and market based economies must be regarded with a high degree of suspicion; however, she is still very doable.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:35 PM
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Wow,

I think that is Mary Ann from Gilligans Island
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:42 PM
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You mean this Mary Ann..

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by AerisArmis View Post
...
U R ANC Bound?
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