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Understanding the power struggle between pilots and employers

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Understanding the power struggle between pilots and employers

Old 05-05-2006, 02:19 PM
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Default Understanding the power struggle between pilots and employers

I'm working on a research paper for sociology. My goal is to relate Karl Marx's theories of class/power struggle to airlines and thier pilots. My problem is understanding the underlying motivations/situations of both parties. Can anyone here give me insight to what airline pilots are trying to accomplish, wish to recieve, or expect to happen with their jobs from 2000-2010?
Also, does anyone have good internet sources to understanding the airline side of it.

Other questions you may think to answer:

As a whole, do airline pilots feel like they are under constant and strengthening oppression by thier employers? For example, are employers are always pulling harder to take away things such as benefits, pay, or other aspects you enjoy about your job?

Do you see a turning point in the role the airline pilot plays in airline business? Such as the strength of the union and what authority it may have to control financial decisions in the airlines.

What about the airlines themselves, do you see the coveted airline pilot job becoming less glorified as everyone gets underpaid (comparitively) to fly RJ's in direct routes as a hub and spoke system dissolves? Agree or disagree?
Old 05-05-2006, 03:40 PM
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The framework of Marx in not really appropriate in examining a business. It is not about being oppressed or oppressing. The simple answer is that many Airlines have failed in business for numerous reasons, the most important being pricing the product to earn a profit. When the Airlines do well, the employees share in the prosperity in the form of better salaries and working conditions and it is obvious now that the opposite also happens.
The days of glamor are long gone, due mainly to the wide demographic aviation now serves.
In Aviation, job pay is highest for the safest and easier jobs and lowest for the toughest and most dangerous. Usually the higher pay is the direct result of more responsibility for a more expensive aircraft and contents and the experience and time it took to get there.
The motivation of both parties is simple- to make money, use your skills to do something useful and enjoy a work routine and lifestyle that is a bit different than 9-5. Management is also concerned with making money,but it should be noted that the desire to make money and doing it are two very different things.
Hub and Spoke is still in effect, the type of feeder has changed.

Last edited by jungle; 05-05-2006 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 03:49 PM
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Lightbulb This might be interesting smile.

I think (oh no thats bad ) that the basic problem is that airline pilots, and thier employers, have lost respect for each other, in days gone by pilots were regarded more as "dashing, daring, magnificent, men in thier flying machines" nowadays its more like "dime-a-dozen" and of course my opinion is biased but ask yourself these 2 questions,----

(1) are the pilots doing a good job?? based purely on the fact that smoking holes are becoming less i`d say yes.

(2) Is management doing a good job?? --if so why all the financial woes?
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:01 PM
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Look at this point...How many jobs require years of skill development...Medical Evaluations...Yearly recurrent Training both class work and skill applications...Oral examinations...Potentailly Headline news if done wrong...Risk and liability to human life...My fellow aviators can find more points I'm sure...Only to be told by some that know nothing about commanding in some cases a 200 million dollar machine that they should not be compensated at the extremes that were once in place...When everything works a pilot still makes life and death decisions...If you were on an airplane when "the Poop hits the fan"...How much is your life or families life is worth?...I think all pilots who fly professionaly feel unappreciated when it comes to compensation...There are so many different points to address...Good luck with your research.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:28 PM
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Thank you to those who have replied already, and I look forward to more replies.

I thought of something else though...

With loss of pension on the table for many, how do you think this will affect you and your fellow employees. Will you just deal with it and do your own investing, or will there be some sort of fight back?

In general, what do you think will happen in the next 5 years?
Old 05-08-2006, 06:44 AM
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Default Well.

Thinking forward, there will be a glut of those with Shiney New Jet Syndrome, who are willing to work for the pitiful wages all to be able to tell people that they are pilots... As this cycles thru, they start to realize that they are not going to make tons of loot, become a bit disillusioned, and then the next crop comes through, at lesser wages and fewer bennies....It is a self defeating circle....Until someone or some group, which I have yet to see(it ain't ALPA), fight and actually stand firm to get some parity in wage structure with management, and to get back the benefits that even a summer worker at Mickey D's is getting, we will continue the de-evolution of the field... The glory days are gone..With the full understanding that people have families to feed, mortgages to pay, and bills to cover, the sacrifices made to continue in this career will be its inevitable downfall. Unless some line is drawn.. The flying public is never going to cast us a sympathetic ear, believing we are ALL making 200,000 a year, have 20 days off and own 3 houses. They will never understand the continuing battle to stop the drive to the bottom because ALPA has never really campaigned to get the word out that pilots are not being overpaid, and that pimply faced kid in the cockpit is paid less than their daughter when she worked at Burger King, and has the responsibility of getting 25-93 people safely through that thunderstorm and onto the ground when the #2 engine hits the deck....While their kid smoked weed and had a friggin' timer to tell her the fries were ready...Soooooo, while I am on my soapbox, I will apologize for the rant, but this is my view... There needs to be a movement to educate both the public and future jet jockeys on what we are WORTH, and no where in that price is the fact that we sit in a shiney new jet...Because at the end of the day, that will NEVER pay our bills....
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Old 05-08-2006, 08:48 AM
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Agree or disagree:

Pay scales will drop with Legacy airlines, followed by regionals. All because new pilots have "shiney jet syndrome," and they take the jobs cheap. Then people will realize being a pilot is not worth it, which equals less people becoming pilots, and then we're back to a pilot shortage. THEN pilots will be paid well again. Supply and demand cycle...
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