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Old 06-17-2009, 11:32 PM   #1  
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Default Magenta Line June 17

The Magenta Line for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

“Airline pilots are highly skilled safety professionals. They are responsible for people’s lives. Airline pilots deserve the respect that their profession once had and they should be paid far more…” - Congressman Jerry F. Costello, Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee Hearing on Regional Air Carriers and Pilot Workforce Issues, June 11, 2009.


Today is Wednesday, June 17, 2009 and there are 11 items for discussion.


Item 1: Who’s Fooling Who?, or, Management Reminds Us How Lucky We Are

We work for the greatest management team in history, we have the best pilot contract of any airline, and we love it!

OK, so we’re O-for-three here but you’d never know it by reading one of management’s latest missiles. They may have aimed at our hearts and minds but, as usual, they missed low and hit us somewhere else entirely.

This article, in which management does it’s level best to convince us our bank accounts are overflowing and that our retirement programs rank right up there, with, with…uh, well, this is where their argument kind of loses steam and settles back to earth with a deflated hiss.

Thanks to the magic of reality, management’s claims are easily disproved—and we’re just the guys to do it.

Let’s talk about pay to start. But let’s also remind ourselves of one very important fact: pay rates are only about 20% of what makes a good contract. The Devil (and the real money) are found elsewhere. Larry Kellner’s office probably.

We’ll say this outright: our pay is about comparable to everybody else—at least those airlines that have made a couple of trips through BK court to squeeze every last drop of blood from the pilot’s turnips. But if you add those airlines whose flight crews have not felt the icy grasp of management’s fingers on their wallets, the story is a bit different.

Second year FO pay at Continental ranges from $57 to $75 per hour. Second year pay at those airlines who managed to pay their pilots real money and still not go bankrupt ranges from $72 to $136 per hour. Are you feeling the love yet?

Management claims that the real reason we make so much less per cockpit hour than industry-leader American Airlines is that our guys are so much more junior than AA’s and we have so many more pilots on the years 2 through 5 pay scale. Of course there’s those numbers above: everybody else makes $72 to $136 per hour in just their second year. We make $57 to $75. Figures lie, liars figure, and airline management…they just don’t do either very well.

What do AirTran, Alaska, Southwest, FedEx, and UPS all have in common? They all have higher pay rates than we do for identical or comparable equipment. And Southwest just voted down a pay raise.

While we’re tempted to call game, set, and match at this point, we say, “Oh, let’s not.” Let’s talk about what makes up the other 80% of our contract: work rules, retirement, sick leave, vacation, pass travel, health care—you name it.

How about work rules? “What work rules?”, you ask. Yes, that’s our point.

We have:

-No minimum pay per duty period
-No duty rigs
-A terrible trip rig that only triggers with excessively long layovers
-No night override
-No international override
-One of the worst sick-leave accrual rates
-Training on days off
-The lowest training pay per day
-Vacation that reduces days off based upon the number of vacation days awarded
-A contractual domestic duty-day hours longer than anyone else
-A contractual international duty-day hours longer than anyone else
-No IROs unless required by FARs
-Reduced rest at FAR minimums: 9:15 block to block
-A PBS system that has difficulty honoring seniority

Retirement:

-AA pilots will see 98% income replacement at retirement with a full, active, and unfrozen “A” fund plus a “B” fund
-Alaska pilots still have both “A” and “B” funds
-Other airlines with terminated “A” funds receive “B” fund contributions for pilots on LTD
-UA pilots get a 16% “B” fund

Miscellaneous:

-Astronomical health care costs borne by the employees
-Yearly degradations to the quality of health care selections—while employee costs rise
-A pass-travel “benefit” made unusable by load factors—while management claims we can’t raise fares
-Cockpit jumpseats placed in the hands of disinterested gate agents
-Everything else placed in the hands of the flight attendants

While we love these management softballs lobbed to our plate on the same, slow, identical trajectory, we were hoping by now that knocking them out of the park would no longer be necessary, that management would hide their faces in shame for what they’ve done to us. But they don’t hide, they continue to attack us and our families, they show their faces in public and in our classes and on our jumpseats. They show their faces a lot, actually; we guess that’s where the term “bald-faced” comes from.


Item 2: Flu-Crew Arbitration Resolved

An expedited arbitration was completed late last week in the case of our EWR-NRT Flu-Crew. The arbitrator is finalizing his decision and it should be issued by the end of this week.

While everybody will get paid, the arbitrator ruled that this was not a “safety of flight” issue.

Captain Pierce will address this arbitration more fully on Friday and will provide the actual award or a summary at that time.


Item 3: Mayor of New Orleans Quarantined in Shanghai

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and his family were detained last week by Chinese public health officials upon arrival in Shanghai. Mr. Nagin apparently had contact with an ill passenger on his flight from EWR to PVG on an unspecified airline. Although this was not a “safety of flight” issue, Mr. Nagin, his wife, and a bodyguard were released by Chinese health officials after spending four days in quarantine.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:33 PM   #2  
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Item 4: Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed: An Eyewitness Report

We are greatly interested in returning our profession to the hands of the actual professionals who practice it. To that end, we remain interested in stories like this. This is an eyewitness account of the famous “talk to the hand” flight attendant in HKG. It is even more disturbing than we first thought.

And while this item may seem to be aimed at all Continental Airlines Captains, it’s not. The vast majority of our Captains take their authority and responsibility very seriously—but some do not. We urge all of our pilots to evaluate themselves honestly and resolve to be a part of the ultimate solution to the problem of the erosion of Captain’s Authority.

Neither is this aimed at the vast majority of our flight attendants. Most of our flight attendants provide wonderful service to their customers on both sides of the cockpit door. Those who do not, and who are at the root of this problem, are the issue here.

“We arrived at the hotel in HKG and one of the IRO’s went to the hotel desk and asked if there were any suites. The desk clerk said there were and handed 4 keys to the IRO. He said these are for the Captain. The ISM came from behind and took the keys and said: ‘I hand out the room keys.’ She proceeded to give a suite to the Captain and First Officer and the other two suites were for herself and another Flight Attendant. The Captain came up to ask her about the rooms and was told that she was handing rooms out according to company policy. When he asked her where this company policy could be found she said, ‘I do not have to tell you.’, and at the same time put her hand up to his face indicating stop, and said, ‘I’m on my free time—I don’t have to deal with this.’ She then walked away. All of this from an ISM that continually interrupted us at the gate in EWR (think Safety Threat/ASAP) during the critical pre-departure planning/programming phase of flight, and all without any form of correction by the Captain. Ask yourselves: ‘Why do they truly think we work for them?’

“I would like to also add that over the last 6 months I have noticed a huge disconnect from the Flight Attendants towards the Pilots. On this particular trip, as on many others, we had traveled from EWR to just past the North Pole with only one call from the Flight Attendants and that was to bring our crew meal up—whether we wanted it or not. I had asked for a first-class salad to go along with my first class crew meal and was told none were available. Later, I called back to have a Flight Attendant come up so we could take a bathroom break; I noticed several Flight Attendants eating first-class salads in B zone galley.

“It seems more and more the Flight Attendants attitude is that the food is theirs and we can have what they don’t want if they feel like it. If you do go looking in the galley for something, I have been asked, ‘What are you doing in “my galley”?’ After 28 years of flying for 4 different airlines and walking a picket line at Eastern Airlines, I was under the impression that the airplane belonged to the Captain. Somewhere along the line some Continental Captains have become conditioned to believe their authority stops at the cockpit door. Gentlemen, I am here to tell you that is NOT the case. For far too long we have allowed our profession to be pushed down while some Captains sit back and take the point of view that they do not want to get involved or they don’t want to **** the Flight Attendants off. Let me remind you that Federal Law places the Captain in command of the entire aircraft and it is time to take the responsibility that comes with that. If you, as a Captain, don’t want to act like a Captain and take command of the entire crew and aircraft, some thought should be given to either bidding back to First Officer or retiring and allowing those of us willing to be Captains to bid the position and start taking our Command Authority back!

“I believe one way to help this situation is during the briefing. The Captain should ask the ISM, ‘Who will be responsible for checking on the Cockpit and how many times can we expect calls during the trip?’ It is stated in the FA’s Policies and Procedures Manual that this briefing will come from the Captain and is CAL SOP. This will let them know in NO uncertain terms that we require them to follow their own SOP and check on us according to the schedule briefed by the Captain. Their P & P manual is on the flight ops website. Check out what it says and get involved! We are locked in a small room without food and drink while they continually eat, drink and use the lav anytime they want.

“On our way home from HKG, and after much discussion, we decided to contact dispatch and ask for a Chief Pilot and an Inflight supervisor to meet us on arrival in EWR. We knew that with the ISM’s hand to the Captain’s face we would not be able to talk with her and resolve this conflict. A Chief Pilot met us, listened to our incident, and was very supportive and somewhat shocked that a Flight Attendant would put a hand in the face of a Captain. This is obviously a ‘THREAT’ to the safety of any flight and as concerned professionals I urge you to step up and file an ASAP and indicate it is a ‘Threat Report’.

“The Inflight supervisor showed up and we explained the incident to her. At first she was on the side of the ISM and seemed to have her mind made up—until she heard about the ‘hand in the face’. At this point she began a turn to our side. We explained that we thought she missed our point on the ‘hotel rooms issue’ and that the hotel clerk CLEARLY had 4 keys and was attempting to hand the keys to the Captain, by saying ‘these are for the Captain’. At that moment the light went on and the supervisor said, ‘Oh, she was wrong and those rooms should have gone to the pilots.’

“The Chief Pilot also made it clear to the Inflight supervisor that if a Flight Attendant ever stuck her hand in his face she would be immediately removed from the trip. She agreed and said that she would have a talk with her.

“When the Inflight Supervisor left, the Chief Pilot made it clear to us that it is TIME all of our Captains start acting like Captains and taking our profession back.

“I have flown for 4 airlines including Eastern Air Lines and I have never seen some Captains be so disconnected. We are licensed and trained professionals and the airplane belongs to us. A few years ago, before coming to Continental, I was flying as a Captain on a MD-80 for a non-scheduled carrier. One day I was flying PIE to MCO to EWR. We did a quick stop in MCO then we would go on to EWR. The aircraft was full and as I was leaving the airplane to go to Ops in MCO, I saw a flight attendant in civilian clothes sitting on one of the cabin jumpseats. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was riding the jump seat to EWR! I said, ‘You got on my jumpseat in PIE and I didn’t know about it?’ She didn’t say anything except she was going to see her boyfriend. I promptly told her she would NOT be going on MY jump seat. When she told me I couldn’t do that I simply called the VP of Flt Ops and told him I removed her and why and he said, ‘I’m behind you 100%.’

“Gentlemen, the aircraft is ours, from the cockpit to the cabin, and it includes the galley and jumpseats. If flight attendants don’t start treating us fairly and with respect, we do NOT have to allow them to ride on our jumpseats. A few jumpseat denials while trying to commute home or to work, and their treatment of us will change in a positive way. They are NOT in our chain of command. Several times I have called back and said to the Flight Attendants that I need them to sit down for upcoming turbulence and have been told, ‘The Captain is in the bunk. I don’t have to listen to you.’ Yes, this is true! And when I told the Captain, what did he do? NOTHING! Some of our Captains need to start acting like Captains; let’s take this Airline and Profession back!

“Even under the Frank Lorenzo regime a Captain’s authority was intact. Somehow, many of the current cadre of Captains has given up, feeling indifferent and only wanting to be concerned with things related to flying. A Captain is responsible for the entire flight, not just the cockpit. We need to be involved in the entire flight and not give control for everything else to the Flight Attendants. That is why we are now having problems—we have abdicated to the questionable flight attendants for so long they believe they do not have to answer to us any longer.”

Your LC 170 Officers remind you that our profession belongs to professionals—those who have trained long hours, worked terrible jobs to become more qualified and employable, and those who have risked it all while flying in defense of our freedoms. The option was open to our flight attendants, just as it was to us, to become pilots. We chose our paths—and they chose theirs. Their choice is not our imperative. Our responsibility begins far ahead of the nose of the airplane and continues long past the tail. It includes the galleys and bunks and starts before the flight pushes from the gate when, as commanded by FAR 91.3, we make ourselves familiar with everything related to the safe conduct of our flight. It doesn’t end at the hotel, either. We are the leaders of our crew and while we may be off-duty, our responsibility for the care and safety of our crew never ends. We are responsible—that’s why we place the burden voluntarily upon our shoulders—and why we, above all others at our airline, are in a class by ourselves.

Gentlemen? Ladies? Today is the first day in the battle to take our profession back. Our opponent is management and those management allows, for their own purposes, to degrade us and treat us with disrespect. Dress for war—it’s coming.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:35 PM   #3  
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Item 5: Flu Exposure—Just a Little Bit Late on the Notification, There, Eh?

We got this from one of our pilots. A friend of his, a 756 FO, got a call from management about a week after returning from Rio. The call was to tell him that he had been exposed to the H1N1 virus on his flight the week earlier.

Sometimes we open our mouths and no sound comes out. Then we shake our heads.

All we can do, apparently, is urge management not to keep these things to themselves and perhaps notify those possibly infected with life-threatening viruses in a somewhat more timely manner. If it’s not too much trouble.


Item 6: Management Issues Guidelines for Engine Overhaul

Flight operations management, in conjunction with Maintenance Control and Tracking, today issued a joint CCS Pilot Bulletin on the proper method of engine removal, overhaul, and replacement.

“We saw what flight operations management did a couple of weeks ago with the “e-Sign-in” bulletin thing and we thought, heck, if they can get the pilots to troubleshoot the computers and printers without getting paid for it, we could get them to do our overhauls for us,” said a Maintenance Control supervisor. “When we got the data on how much sit time the pilots had between their flights in and out of our IAH and EWR hubs, and when we found out there was a provision in the pilot’s contract for sitting around the airport on alert, we realized what a gold mine all those empty hours were for us.”

Instructions and overhaul manuals will soon be placed in all pilot’s V-files. Pilots are urged to familiarize themselves with the engine removal and replacement protocol. While maintenance coveralls will not be provided, special arrangements for our pilots to purchase these coveralls have been made with the Continental Airlines company store for a 2% cash discount.


Item 7: Mr. Kellner’s Pay Calculator

Mr. Kellner earned his money again this week. At last week’s shareholder’s meeting, he had to face a salvo from Captain Jay Pierce followed by a barrage from Michelle Bixby. And all this while maintaining that same grin on his face that shines down upon us from the safety demo video.

When the history of Contract ’08 is written, when the turning point in our effort against management is sought, the line will be drawn directly to the June 2009 shareholder’s meeting.

According to Forbes Magazine (April 30, 2008 issue) Mr. Kellner’s total compensation for 2007 was 10.3 million dollars. Extrapolating forward, this means that Mr. Kellner has made:

This week: $198,072.00
June 1, 2009 to date: $594,216.00
2009 year to date: $4,499,064.00

We heard that Mr. Kellner bought another house in California this week.


Item 8: Request for Committee Volunteers

All of our committees need volunteers. If you are one of the many somewhat selfish and untested among us, if you are interested in committee work, if you have special artistic talents of any kind, or if you just like to chew the legs off your dining room table, we want you to help your fellow EWR pilots. If you are interested or have previously expressed interest via e-mail or a phone call, please confirm your continuing interest in an e-mail to Captain Kaye Riggs, Secretary-Treasurer, LEC 170 at [email protected]. Please put your name and the word “Volunteer” in the subject line.


Item 9: Special Request For Chairman of the EWR Council 170 Membership Committee

Due to numerous unsatisfactory membership issues, we are conducting a search for a EWR Council 170 Membership Committee Chair. Duties will be limited to a few tasks for which you will be showered with gratitude, followed by a banquet in your honor where you will receive many parting gifts. During your term of office, you will have hundreds of volunteers at your beckon call who will do things like walk your dog and pick up your dry cleaning—and pick up after your dog.

In the mean time, your duties will be light and pleasant, requiring almost no coordination with ALPA National, and almost everyone will speak to you with warm regard and respect. For those who don’t, your many assistants stand ready to remove the foul presence from your vicinity and have them shot.

Our sole goal is to ensure that everyone is in good standing come the big day for the Contract ’08 vote. Pay up—and let your voice ring out! I AM…SOMEBODY!


Item 10: Next Meetings

Please join us at our next local council meeting. Check back here in a couple of weeks for the date.

Our next MEC meeting has been scheduled for July 14-17, 2009 at the union building in Houston.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:36 PM   #4  
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Item 11: Chairman’s Editorial

I apologize in advance for the length of my editorial this week. I believe, however, the length is necessary because of a number of important topics that need to be discussed.

Over the past few weeks, as we have traveled throughout our system, Tara, Kaye and I have received overwhelming support and well wishes from many of our pilots. Amazingly, many of these pilots have been from our brothers and sisters in other bases.

We want you to know just how much we sincerely appreciate your support and respect. We also want you to know that we “get it”, we understand that we must continue to earn your respect and support every day through our actions as elected representatives. We will never take for granted your support and respect and we will work to the best of our abilities to move forward and build on the foundation we have created. We promise to always actively listen to what all of you have to say.

We have just completed our first quarter of our first year as elected representatives and I have asked that all of us, as LEC Officers, evaluate our own performance. After the election last fall, the three of us came up with our 30, 60, 90 and 120 day plan. Now we need to compare our actual results to our planned goals and make the appropriate adjustments as required to keep our plan moving forward.

Personally, I would give myself passing grades for the first two months of my term in office. However, May 1st I transitioned from a reserve line to a regular line of flying. With regard to returning phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner and holding to my commitment of spending a day a week in the crew room, I now join the ranks of some of the “Friends of Fred” and must give myself a well deserved “F”.

As the Seinfeld soup Nazi might say, “No more line for you!” I have bid a reserve line again for July. I fully intend to take advantage of my extra time at home and once again respond to all my phone calls and e-mails in a timely fashion and I will restart my weekly crew room visits. If I have yet to respond to your e-mail or a phone call, I ask for your patience. I am now responding to the hundreds that have accumulated over the last few weeks. International flying with five or six pond crossings and mixed in Lima - Newark redeye flying (which, in my opinion, is unsafe due to no IRO or adequate first class crew meals) plus a check ride on days off don’t mix well with an elected representative’s ability to adequately perform his job for our largest base with over 2300 pilots.

In the near future we will begin Phase Two of our communications plan. This includes a state-of-the-art, newly designed LC 170 website. I have asked the well-respected Captain Tim Boyens, our LC 170 Education Committee Chairman, to prepare many of his writings and charts to be added to the website. Your officer’s vision for this website is a well designed, clean and fresh looking site that is constantly updated. The new website will be the cornerstone of our ongoing education campaign to make all of our pilots fully aware of why we need massive gains in every section of our contract. Other additions include committee pages for all LC 170 committees, the unveiling of our “ACRAP” report, and the ability of non EWR-based pilots to sign up for The Magenta Line blast mail.

Also, as part of Phase Two of our Communications plan, will we will start a EWR LC 170 weekly Code-A-Phone message. As many of you know, I am a student of the old school of union representation. I believe that in the past, and to some extent today, many ALPA carriers and APA have used the old fashioned Code-A-Phone system to their advantage. Non-verbal communication, such as The Magenta Line, while essential, cannot convey things in the same manner as voice inflection or tone—and these are essential to making sure the message is understood in proper context. The weekly LC 170 Code-A-Phone message will be one more way for our pilots to become informed. Remember, information is knowledge and knowledge, properly applied, is power.

Last week I was able to attend the Continental Shareholders meeting. I was joined by over 260 of our brothers and sisters—almost half of them from Newark. My sincerest thank you to the many EWR pilots who made the personal sacrifice to travel to Houston to attend this important unity event.

Captain Pierce gave an outstanding seven-minute speech that covered a full range of topics, including many issues that, quite frankly, are completely unacceptable. Some of the items discussed by Captain Pierce weren’t contractual items—items such as Captain’s Authority, the overall respect of our pilot group by our managers and other employee groups, and the unnecessary hostage taking of 147 of our union brothers and sisters.

Michelle Bixby, the wife of Continental pilot John Bixby, spoke as a shareholder and gave a very heartfelt and inspiring speech from the perspective of a Continental pilot’s wife. It took a lot of courage to stand up to our senior management team, the Continental Board of Directors, and several Continental Shareholders, and deliver this very powerful message. My personal impression of Mr. Kellner’s and Mr. Smisek’s body language during Captain Pierce’s and Michelle Bixby’s speeches? Mr. Kellner looked as if he was at the dentist and having several teeth pulled—Mr. Smisek couldn’t even look the speakers in the face. I saw two men who were outraged that lowly pilots would dare speak such words in their presence and the presence of their peers. Watching their body language alone was well worth the effort of the trip down to Houston.

On behalf of my fellow LEC Officers, thank you Captain Pierce and Michelle Bixby for a job well done. The EWR LEC Officers would also like to thank SPSC Chairman Captain Mike Jones and his team for a well executed Stockholders unity event.

I am sure many of you are asking who won the bet. Well, it appears IAH beat EWR by five or so pilots. I was ready to make good on the bet but IAH LEC Chairman Wayde Beckman asked me to hold off until the special MEC meeting in July so there could be a recount and the final numbers could be presented. It’s absolutely amazing to me that the numbers would be so close considering Houston’s home field advantage. While I may have lost this one by a nose, I will always very gladly bet on our EWR pilots. You guys are well worth the risk and the return goes far beyond the short term gain or loss of an innocent bet. The only way we will achieve our goal of an industry-redefining contract is with the EWR pilots firmly behind us.

As you know, I have made mention many times in the past about one of my union mentors, retired United Airlines Captain Rick Dubinsky. Today, I would like to end my editorial by writing about another one of my union mentors—former Continental and Continental Express pilot and union leader Captain Mike “Papa Bear” Loftus. During my early days of volunteering for committee work at the IACP, Papa Bear took me under his wing and taught me much of what I know about unions and unionism. At the time, Mike was the CALEXP Liaison under the IACP single-union structure of the Continental and Continental Express pilots—his position today would be called Express Jet MEC Chairman.

Mike was an amazing union leader who truly had the respect and support of his constituents. He had, and has, a heart of gold and would take the shirt off of his back to help his fellow union brothers and sisters, and he did just about every day. My aspiration has always been to “be like Mike” in all my union endeavors.

In some small way, I will be forever tied to Papa Bear because of the events that unfolded on January 25, 1998—Super Bowl Sunday. It is a day I will never forget. I was just sitting down to watch the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre play the Denver Broncos when my phone rang. It was my union boss, IACP Strike Committee Chairman Captain John Prater. To be concise, Captain Prater told me my career was on the line and it was my job to set up a tail on then—Continental Executive Vice President C.D. McClean and Human Resources Vice President Mike Campbell. They were traveling from Newark Airport to a secret NYC downtown location to an emergency session of the Continental Airlines Board of Directors—the Directors would decide on either a full-blown Delta acquisition on one hand or some type of code share deal with Northwest on the other. The problem? I lived over an hour from the airport and Captain Prater gave me less than an hour’s notice.

During those days, our airline was owned and controlled by David Bonderman, the senior partner in Air Partners, a Fort Worth investment firm. Mr. Bonderman wanted to sell his controlling stake in Continental, and by far the leading contender that day was Delta and their CEO Leo Mullins. The Continental pilots were in a very unfavorable position that day. You see, although many of the economics of Contract ‘97 were negotiated and only a few items remained, when that day began, we were still working under Contract ‘95. Our scope clause under Contract ‘95 was essentially one line: “management’s best efforts”. If Mr. Bonderman sold his controlling interest to Delta, they were going to essentially acquire our airline—not merge. The catastrophic problem to the Continental pilots was the very powerful 1998 DAL Contract vs. our weak IACP Contract ‘95. Our scope section and career expectations were not in the same league as Delta. This left us in an extremely weak position; I believe if we were acquired by Delta on January 25, 1998, the Continental pilots that did go over to Delta would have essentially been stapled to their seniority list, and many of our pilots would have never survived the acquisition.

I was able, via numerous frantic phone calls, to locate someone who could follow Mr. McClean and Mr. Campbell once they got off the airplane in Newark. My operative kept after them as they went to their waiting limousine. He got the license plate. Captain Prater called in a favor from a law enforcement friend and got the name of the limousine company. Mike Loftus used his resourcefulness and quick thinking and got to a phone in the Continental Express Chief Pilot’s Office to call the limo company with a Continental caller ID. Papa Bear claimed he had a stack of very important papers and urgently needed to get those papers to the managers who had just been picked up in Newark or his job was on the line. Everyone believes Papa Bear; he’s got that kind of voice. Bingo! The limo company dispatcher bought Papa Bear’s story, and the address of the undisclosed location of the emergency Continental Board of Directors Meeting was soon in his hands.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:38 PM   #5  
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Our IACP leaders then called Gordon Bethune and threatened labor unrest if a Delta deal was done without adequate seniority and merger protection for the Continental Pilots. Gordon and the Continental pilots were married that day. Gordon needed an excuse to help persuade Mr. Bonderman to turn down the Delta acquisition and go with the NWA codeshare. Gordon and many of his friends, like his buddy C.D. McClean, were going to be out of a job if the Delta deal came to fruition; it was clearly going to be Leo Mullins’s company. And that is exactly what happened—Bonderman was persuaded to cut the deal with NWA and we got to finish negotiating Contract ‘97. Contract ’97 brought the Continental pilots into the ball park with our peers for the first time since the certification of the IACP— the contract also included a real scope clause.

That following Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, there appeared a full-page article that very accurately detailed the events of Super Bowl Sunday—including the now-famous quote from Delta CEO Leo Mullins: “You mean this deal fell through because of labor?”

I remember Mike Loftus telling John Prater after the event: “That was great! Just like Mission Impossible! In my next union life, I want to come back as a member of the Strike Committee!”

Mike Loftus tragically lost his beautiful and very talented daughter Madeline in last February’s Colgan 3407 crash near Buffalo, New York. Madeline was just beginning her very promising adult life when this catastrophic accident occurred. Last week, Mike testified on behalf of the families of Colgan flight 3407 before the Congressional Transportation and Infrastructure Sub-Committee hearing. I am proud of Captain Loftus and was honored to watch his very courageous and eloquent testimony. I strongly encourage you to view Mike’s heartfelt presentation by clicking on the link below and then again on the link for viewing the hearing; it’s located about half way down the page. Then, scroll ahead to about the two hour and fifty three minute mark.

http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetail.aspx?NewsID=932

I also ask you to watch and listen carefully to some of the Congressmen’s remarks with regards to the respect we deserve in our positions as professional aviators.

There are also comments and some outrage by members of the Congressional Committee directed toward Gulfstream Airlines. If you unaware, Gulfstream is a Continental Connection carrier in Florida; it’s also well-known as a “pilot mill”. The right seat at Gulfstream is for sale to anyone who can come up with the cash. It is literally flown by student pilots—student pilots flying Continental passengers. In my opinion, Gulfstream is an unsafe airline—they have had numerous safety violations over the years—and an airline I would never allow my family to fly on. I often wonder how our senior management can live with themselves. It must be the muscle of money triumphing over the small urge to do what is right. As long as there are no “incidents”, they rationalize it like they do all safety at Continental Airlines: safety within feasibility!

Remember, we, as pilots, stand in the gap between management greed and the safe and comfortable operation our passengers deserve. We deserve a contact that recognizes this.


As we close this week, please remember our 147 hostages and their families.


“Most recently, a FAA investigation accused Florida-based Gulfstream Airlines of overworking their pilots and breaking aircraft maintenance rules. Former pilots reported seeing parts fall off of the planes and that records were changed or erased. - Congresswoman Louise Slaughter before the House Aviation Subcommittee on Regional Air Carriers and Pilot Workforce Issues, June 11, 2009


Captain Jayson Baron, EWR Council 170 Chairman
[email protected]

First Officer Tara Cook, EWR Council 170 Vice Chairman
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Captain Kaye Riggs, EWR Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer
[email protected]
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:52 AM   #6  
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" Let me remind you that Federal Law places the Captain in command of the entire aircraft and it is time to take the responsibility that comes with that. "

Should those COEX captains be held responsible for the misdirected unaccompanied minors being on their aircraft?
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:06 AM   #7  
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Originally Posted by CAL EWR View Post
Somewhere along the line some Continental Captains have become conditioned to believe their authority stops at the cockpit door. Gentlemen, I am here to tell you that is NOT the case.

The Chief Pilot also made it clear to the Inflight supervisor that if a Flight Attendant ever stuck her hand in his face she would be immediately removed from the trip. She agreed and said that she would have a talk with her.

When the Inflight Supervisor left, the Chief Pilot made it clear to us that it is TIME all of our Captains start acting like Captains and taking our profession back.

Gentlemen, the aircraft is ours, from the cockpit to the cabin, and it includes the galley and jumpseats.

Even under the Frank Lorenzo regime a Captain’s authority was intact. Somehow, many of the current cadre of Captains has given up, feeling indifferent and only wanting to be concerned with things related to flying.
When compared to the issue of flight safety, we have done very well over the years insuring that First Officers have both the tools and the support to assertively assist a Captain. I am convinced that if I were to disconnect the autopilot and intentionally fly toward high terrain or a level 5 thunderstorm, even the weakest of our F.O.s would at least speak up.

Yet I am not so sure that we have reached the same level of empowerment when it comes to the issues of Flight deck authority and contract compliance. We occasionally have Captains allowing blatant violations of hard fought for contractual provisions and the above types of discounting of Captain's authority.

We need to work to further foster an environment where our F.O.s are sufficiently supported in the instance that they feel they need to assertively redirect Captains who go down the one way dead end street of allowing contractual violations and erosions of authority to continue.
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:25 AM   #8  
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Should those COEX captains be held responsible for the misdirected unaccompanied minors being on their aircraft?
Let's not muddy the waters. There is a clear and well established protocol for the handling of unaccompanied minors. That protocol does not involve the cockpit. It is the Captain's responsibility to safely transport those traveling as such and to notify the arrival station that U.M.s are on board. That was done. The recent screw ups were poorly trained ground staffers and inattentive flight attendants at one of our subcontractors. Quite sure your point has nothing to do with the topic.

Ultimately however we will all be "held responsible". If lawsuits are filed and the airline looses, it will mean less money in the coffers. My experience has been that the most money I ever made at the airline was when we ran a good operation and the corporation was making so much money they could neither hide nor steal it all.
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:30 AM   #9  
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A lot of your captains are scabs. A lot of the ones who are not scabs took the job knowing they would be flying right seat to scabs. A lot of these individuals deserve no respect. I'm getting ****ed off just thinking about these pricks. There are a lot of decent people that were hired there in the last few years, but this type of treatment should not surprise you. The thing that really blows my mind is the scabs took the job in the early eighties for $43,000/year in 1983 dollars. New hires today make $30,000 in 2009 dollars. What's wrong with this picture? I know CAL is not hiring right now, but they were last year. Good luck to you guys. Your scabs set the stage for this type of treatment.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:00 AM   #10  
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More great stuff from our EWR LEC.

Keep it coming and I'd love to see our IAH base follow suit with the same tone.
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