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Old 10-13-2008, 12:01 PM   #1  
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Default A Question for American Pilots

American Airlines Pilot Union Considering Changes

It looks like the APA union board wants change. I poked around the internet a bit and it sounds like the board wants national officers that are willing to work with management a bit more. In my short years working as a union member I have seen that there are some people that are anti-company no matter. I realize that management often cannot be trusted, but these people are convinced that managers can do not right.

Is this a case of the national officers dead set against management no matter what, or is it a case of a pro-company board trying to take control of the union?

Either way it sounds like union leaders have a tough job ahead of them with the poop sandwich American Airlines leadership keeps trying to throw your way.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:13 PM   #2  
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Good difficult question.
Our last APA president in 2006 told the membership that we had to work with management very closely. They called it PLI Performance leadership incentive. They (management) were still touting "Pull together Win together" the CEO's slogan form 2003 when we ALL took 23.5% pay cuts and they changed our work rules and reserve system. Captains that moved backwards to FO took greater pay cuts. We also became more productive. But in 2006 our APA president announced that the Company is "unsustainable" and we the pilots must take immediate pay cuts again. AA made a public statement that they were not "unsustainable" (to show a brave face to Wall Street).
That president of APA was not re-elected. He did get a lot of votes though (NOT MINE).
The new APA president I voted for. I think they are tough with AA right now and need to be.
Effective today we lost our ASAP program for self disclosing errors/mistakes/dangerous situations. My understanding is the company AA wanted to be able to deem "reckless" and be able to terminate pilots that make mistakes.
Our old ASAP program offered immunity to 99% in order to identify errors or prim rose path situations in many situations.
In my opinion we have so many things going on right now plus contract negotiating that the company is dragging it's feet on and they are blaming everything on APA.
But to answer your question, "trust everyone but cut the cards"
In a perfect world with honorable airline management, I would welcome the opportunity for the Union to work together with management. But that can't happen this year, next year. Because management took bonuses every year (In April 2007 managment at AA awarded themselves ALL of 2006 profits). Yet in September 2006 AA managment told APA that "if your pilots want to earn more money they have to fly more. We do not have money for pay raises." "Oh management bonuses are contractual and we do not have to explain them to you, you just don't understand Executive compensation."

This is just a start of why many of us don't wish to have our union "work with" management right now. They are AArogant.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:49 PM   #3  
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That story is a pile of crap, probably planted by Arpey or Redding. The President of the APA is smart and tough, just like he ought to be. The orgy of executive bonuses coming out of the pockets of line pilots is over. Get ready to rumble because the fur is going to fly next year whenever we can get released for self-help.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:22 AM   #4  
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7576FO,
I think that I have disagreed with you before but,... on this, I'm with you, mostly.

Working for a contract that maximizes pilot pay for sitting at home or securing a high guarantee that does nothing for the bottom line is JUST AS BAD as paying execs to get bonuses for losing money because it's in the Executive Compensation package.

If guys say that it's in the contract that I can sit at home and get paid, why scream when management says it's in their contract to get bonuses?

I do understand the part about pilots taking cuts while management doesn't. It's wrong but they are in the position, with the board in their hip pocket, to say our package stands and will be paid for with labor concessions.

I don't agree with either side but it is in both of their best interests to find a solution closer to the middle without burning down the house.

ASIDE - Them pulling the ASAP program is huge. Definitely a strong arm tactic that I hope you guys stand up to.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:47 AM   #5  
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Spanky wrote,
Working for a contract that maximizes pilot pay for sitting at home or securing a high guarantee that does nothing for the bottom line is JUST AS BAD as paying execs to get bonuses for losing money because it's in the Executive Compensation package.

Here's some data. At AA our reserve guarantee is 73 hours. Our line holders guarantee is 64 hours.
Our lines are built to 78 hours each month.
When I got on with AA it was 75 or 76 hours for lines and reserve was something like 72:48 guarantee.
In the old days on reserve International one would only fly one or two trips a month. Those days have been long gone since 2003 when the employee groups took pay cuts to keep the company and stockholders from bankruptcy.
Now reserves all to often are 80-85 hours a month.

If one were to compare AA to UAL we do not fly a lot.
United my understanding is lines constructed 89-95? hours a month.
This is what we pilots (me) are afraid of productivity. "Sure" give them some productivity, build the lines to 83 hours" some say. I don't think so. In 2003 we became more productive.
We have some (very few) lines that are very unproductive, and you pay the penalty. How about Lima Peru 23 days flying, 8 days off. Does that sound like staying home with full guarantee to you? That doesn't sound like staying home at all.
Also a little history, we did not get trip trade with open time at AA until 1997. There was only pilot to pilot trades and from what i've known not much of that was going on. So you flew your line. Occasionally Crew Sched would call and reassign you.
Many of us (me) came to this profession because of the time off.
Spanky, so you know where i'm coming from I was a regional Captain for 9 years. I flew stand-ups 4 nights in a row for 35 hours a month (that is fatiguing), I flew 8 legs and a deadhead in one day more than I ever remember.
One of the overriding themes in APA history is that we negotiate against ourselves (meaning, we present our offer to mgmt, they say "Oh, no way" APA says "ok, how about this?") That sounds like give and take negotiating, but in reality it is not.
We have some pilots right now asking APA to trim it;s proposal down to 4 or 5 items. Our NO's think that'd be negotiating with ourselves. I agree, that's our proposal, AA mgmt wanted to open early over 2 years ago. Soooo, negotiate.
So while mgmt stalls, we get to watch another mgmt bonus payout next April and the next April.
Here's the numbers 2007 175 million-ALL of 2006 profits divided up to 900 managers.
Working employees (that helped save the company and shareholders form BK)
nada!
2008 65 million fourth quarter put AA over the 500 million for 2007 to pay out profit sharing to pilots/FA's rampers/mechanics it was 506 million. Mgmt did not intend to pay out the 6 million as profit sharing to employees, but eventually did.
So, mgmt said they would pay out up to $800 to all employees. No-one got $800.
Sick time was deducted form the $800. No-one got a check for more than $424. Most checks were in the $200.-400 range.
These are employees that saved the company (being dramatic? maybe)
While the top 5 managers gorged themselves on the 65 million.
And the 65 million paid out one month after the Super 80 (MD-80) fiasco. At which time over that month, our CEO said it was his fault. But he still took his millions.
Since we're on topic of AA pilots don't fly too much. We don't, but consider this. I fly Quito Equador, a lot! It's a two day tip trip. UIO Quito is 9,325 above sea level. At best you might be lucky to sleep sort of OK. So you man up and cafe' con leche' or cafe' negra, to fly one leg home. Collect your 70 hours pay for 7 trips.
Well next month there is a Montego Bay turn attached to Quito's day two.
So you have two pilots that did not sleep well last night in a high altitude city, flying three legs today.
We also fly to La Paz Bolivia. 13,325 feet above sea level. Try a whole month of that for 78 hours. Feels like 95 hours!
BOG is also 8,300' not too bad if it's one leg home, but try a Grand Cayman turn and you're asleep on I95 driving home.
We used to call our mountainous cities HIT cities. We used to get check airmen to train and check us on these tricky cities.
Not anymore, they replaced face to face training with a computer program that is barely adequate. I watched one on Mexico city last year. It was well, there are some things that just cannot be covered.
So this is just an example of 78 hours can feel like a lot. Ask any airline pilot how they feel after a month of all nighters, or red-eyes?
Back in 2003 and after, everyone was "well the union and the company are finally going to work together on things" But it just didn't happen.
And the ringing in my ears of "Pull together-Win together" by our CEO and management team still haunts me.
Management has since 2004 renegotiated their stock options and contracts thru 2013 for G Arpey CEO if he stay employed with AA. Those stock options will be honored with new stock if the company goes into/out of BK.
That's a win-win for all upper management.
I agree that the best companies unions and management work together.
Not perfectly, but at least willing to work together.
I will restate, management has made their bed. There are many many issues right now that require attention.
AA has mishandled Eagle.
AA and BA IB?
AA has maintenence issues that I get ramp checked in Equador because AA is listed as carrier in distress?
AA wanted the ability to label pilots reckless on the ASAP program and teminate those pilots. Yet, rampers cannot not be terminated for reckless behavior.
One last note about our 64 hour guarantee. Only your last trip in the last 7 days of the month is pay protected for cancellations. But if you are running two hours late and a reserve crew comes out to fly your trip you do not get paid. Therefor, the 64 hours. So I never really know if i'm gonna get paid my 78 hours.

Hope this answers a few questions. And this is not directed at Spanky.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:41 PM   #6  
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Exclamation ASAP Gone???

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7576FO View Post
Effective today we lost our ASAP program for self disclosing errors/mistakes/dangerous situations. My understanding is the company AA wanted to be able to deem "reckless" and be able to terminate pilots that make mistakes.
Our old ASAP program offered immunity to 99% in order to identify errors or prim rose path situations in many situations.
Disgusting! What a bunch of losers!

Interesting post, and your last one as well, 7576FO...
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:47 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B757200ER View Post
Disgusting! What a bunch of losers!

Interesting post, and your last one as well, 7576FO...
Spot on, 7576!

Yes, ASAP is gone because management wanted language in there to punish pilots and APA did not.
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:18 AM   #8  
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My hats off to you guys! Perhaps with fuel dropping like a manhole cover and the economy pulling out in '09 you'll have all the leverage you could ever need! Best wishes and fly safe.
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