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Flow agreements?

Old 03-29-2020, 10:24 PM
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Default Flow agreements?

This is probably a question for better times. Why are pilots the only ones that have flow agreements?
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Old 04-01-2020, 01:25 PM
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From what to what?

Industries which have a minor league/JV and a major equivalent are few, and other industries often prefer to grow their own, starting young.

Baseball and oil come to mind, but they can more readily hire based on performance. Airlines have few performance datapoints because you basically have to screw up bad and get caught to even have a datapoint... an interviewer can't tell which candidate is so diligent that he never did an asap, vs. the asap frequent flyer who lets the SMS system cushion his slack (which is why majors fall back on entry-level checkride failures, HS GPA, etc cuz they got nothing better).

For most white-collar industries it's easier to predict success based on school performance and it's easy to fire someone who doesn't live up to expectations (or slacks off once the family obligations and burnout mounts).

Remember flow is only a carrot to staff the entry-level, they wouldn't do it unless they had to (or mainline union demanded it).
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Old 04-02-2020, 10:26 AM
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I guess it was a carrot offered from our masters rather than something the salves demanded. I figured {wrongly} that pilots would want a more secure career path before spending all that time and money. Most pilots were rich kids so easy come easy go.
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Old 08-23-2020, 04:37 PM
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The word Apprentice comes to mind.

Medical Doctors do their Internship.

The concept is not that unheard of.
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Old 08-23-2020, 04:54 PM
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It’s simply a tool to artificially lower wages to mitigate other wages which artificially higher than market would supply in other industries not unionized and are subjected to outsourcing.
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Old 08-23-2020, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kevbo View Post
This is probably a question for better times. Why are pilots the only ones that have flow agreements?
Regional airline management gets cheap labor by luring in gullible pilots by promising something they may or may not be able to deliver.

Most of their other job applicants simply aren’t that gullible.

see also, Shiny Jet Syndrome.
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by captive apple View Post
It’s simply a tool to artificially lower wages to mitigate other wages which artificially higher than market would supply in other industries not unionized and are subjected to outsourcing.
This is correct. The "flow concept", which was not really supported by APA and not negotiated by any union, came about because Doug Parker wanted to guarantee that he had a ready supply of pilots. The carrot, was to dangle a mainline job in-front of prospective regional pilots. One critical consideration to understand is that the flow arrangement is not contractual. APA cannot negotiate for someone outside their own group, nor can ALPA negotiate for someone who hasn't been hired by one of the "wholly owned", yet. So there is no contractual obligation on the part of the company but there is a commitment from the company to honor the published conditions of their flow program.

Consider however that conditions can change. COVID is a good example. I could see Doug Parker modifying or scrapping the program any time it no longer suits the corporate interest. There are repercussions in people leaving for greener fields but management works for shareholders not for pilots.

The flow concept was designed to hold down costs at Eagle. If you have a guaranteed seat at AA then the program was designed so that would be unlikely to strike or go to some other carrier. Conditions of the flow specify an acceptable attendance standard, checkride and operational standard and no significant contractual discipline problems. If an Eagle wholly owned seeks too much in contract talks, then the company farms your work to Mesa or someone else who is not part of the flow program. The company is not contractually bound to flow x number of pilots so if Piedmont or Envoy asks for too much in contract talks, the flow from that company will just stop.

The company wants the flow program as long as the industry is losing people, and AA will lose a lot of pilots over the next decade. It keeps the costs down by holding out a complete career path to the prospective pilot. If you are one of the lucky ones and everything works, you would interview once at Envoy or Piedmont or PSA, and retire in the left seat of a 777, (or whatever they have in 35 years). If it doesn't work because of an industry upset or terrorist attack like 9/11, or another virus like COVID, then you will have the career that many airline pilots of the last 35 years have had. A lot of uncertainty and possible furlough or even see your company dissolve like Pan Am, Eastern and TWA.

There are no guarantees in this industry. As long as it is working, it is a reasonably good program. The retirement numbers at AA are pretty large which should keep the line moving.
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Old 11-01-2021, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Allegheny View Post
This is correct. The "flow concept", which was not really supported by APA and not negotiated by any union, came about because Doug Parker wanted to guarantee that he had a ready supply of pilots. The carrot, was to dangle a mainline job in-front of prospective regional pilots. One critical consideration to understand is that the flow arrangement is not contractual. APA cannot negotiate for someone outside their own group, nor can ALPA negotiate for someone who hasn't been hired by one of the "wholly owned", yet. So there is no contractual obligation on the part of the company but there is a commitment from the company to honor the published conditions of their flow program.

Consider however that conditions can change. COVID is a good example. I could see Doug Parker modifying or scrapping the program any time it no longer suits the corporate interest. There are repercussions in people leaving for greener fields but management works for shareholders not for pilots.

The flow concept was designed to hold down costs at Eagle. If you have a guaranteed seat at AA then the program was designed so that would be unlikely to strike or go to some other carrier. Conditions of the flow specify an acceptable attendance standard, checkride and operational standard and no significant contractual discipline problems. If an Eagle wholly owned seeks too much in contract talks, then the company farms your work to Mesa or someone else who is not part of the flow program. The company is not contractually bound to flow x number of pilots so if Piedmont or Envoy asks for too much in contract talks, the flow from that company will just stop.

The company wants the flow program as long as the industry is losing people, and AA will lose a lot of pilots over the next decade. It keeps the costs down by holding out a complete career path to the prospective pilot. If you are one of the lucky ones and everything works, you would interview once at Envoy or Piedmont or PSA, and retire in the left seat of a 777, (or whatever they have in 35 years). If it doesn't work because of an industry upset or terrorist attack like 9/11, or another virus like COVID, then you will have the career that many airline pilots of the last 35 years have had. A lot of uncertainty and possible furlough or even see your company dissolve like Pan Am, Eastern and TWA.

There are no guarantees in this industry. As long as it is working, it is a reasonably good program. The retirement numbers at AA are pretty large which should keep the line moving.
Doug Parker wanted to guarantee a supply to AA regionals, way before he was working for AA? That's an interesting concept.
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Old 11-02-2021, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dera View Post
Doug Parker wanted to guarantee a supply to AA regionals, way before he was working for AA? That's an interesting concept.
It's true. I did union work at US Airways and he started the idea of the program there and planned on transferring it to AA. The company doesn't need a union's permission to hire people. Who the company hires and under what conditions are at the company's discretion. There was no concessionary ask to USAPA or to APA, there was also no incentive given either union, at least at the start. He didn't need their permission to try this program out. I have been retired for a while and the pilot supply problem will probably require modification of the program, however it is being run now, but it was in fact designed as a labor cost saving program by attempting to keep people at the wholly owned because they would have a guaranteed career path to the mainline.
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Old 11-02-2021, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Allegheny View Post
It's true. I did union work at US Airways and he started the idea of the program there and planned on transferring it to AA. The company doesn't need a union's permission to hire people. Who the company hires and under what conditions are at the company's discretion. There was no concessionary ask to USAPA or to APA, there was also no incentive given either union, at least at the start. He didn't need their permission to try this program out. I have been retired for a while and the pilot supply problem will probably require modification of the program, however it is being run now, but it was in fact designed as a labor cost saving program by attempting to keep people at the wholly owned because they would have a guaranteed career path to the mainline.
Eagle had flow before the merger. It was not a Doug Parker idea.
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