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Old 08-21-2007, 04:46 PM   #1  
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Default SKYWEST to Vote on ALPA

Will SkyWest pilots unionize?
ALPA asks mediation board for an election to determine issue

By Paul Beebe
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 08/20/2007 11:59:47 PM MDT


The Air Line Pilots Association on Monday asked the National Mediation Board for an election to decide if SkyWest Airlines pilots want to be represented by the nation's largest airline pilot union.

ALPA decided to seek an election after receiving enough interest from SkyWest pilots in joining the union, ALPA said in a letter mailed to about 2,700 aviators.

It isn't clear how many pilots have signed cards authorizing the union to request a collective bargaining vote. On Monday, ALPA spokesman Pete Janhunen refused to reveal the number because the union doesn't want to tip its hand to the company.

Over the past year, ALPA has said it had obtained authorization cards from more than half of St. George-based SkyWest's pilots. But it declined to approach the mediation board until at least 70 percent had indicated their support for a vote.

"We think we are going to win the election. ALPA doesn't play to lose. Our senior leadership and the [SkyWest pilots] organizing committee agree that the time is right to file the cards" with the mediation board, Janhunen said.

SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said the airline would not comment because it had not been informed by the union. In the past, the airline has said it is opposed to a pilots union.

"We haven't been notified of anything of this nature, so I can't really speak to the topic," Snow said.

SkyWest pilots are the largest nonunion group of commercial aviators in the country, according to ALPA.

The rapidly growing regional airline flies passengers for Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Midwest Airlines. It has hired about 2,000 workers this year, including hundreds of pilots, and has plans to hire more to keep up with growth.

In the letter to pilots, ALPA said the mediation board will hold the election after it compares the authorization cards with company employment records to verify the showing of pilot interest in an election. The board also will put together a list of eligible voters. That should take 60 days.

The board will then mail confidential telephone voting instructions to the pilots, who likely will have 30 days to cast their ballots.

Janhunen said pilots will vote on two questions - whether they want a union to represent them and whether that union should be ALPA. Simple majority votes are required, he said.

ALPA hasn't detected widespread dissatisfaction with SkyWest, Janhunen said. Instead, SkyWest's rapid growth has made pilots feel uncertain about their jobs, he said.

"Usually, in this kind of case, [pilots] realize they don't have an enforceable [labor] contract, they don't have an agreement that guarantees any aspect of their careers," he said. "There comes a point for pilots when scraps from the master's table are no longer a sufficient diet."

The union's reluctance to pursue a vote until now may be based on past failures by pilots to affiliate with a union. An effort in 2004 failed when only a third of eligible pilots voted for an in-house association to act as their bargaining agent. An organizing drive by ALPA in 1999 also failed.

In May, a federal judge barred SkyWest from interfering with organizing activities by the SkyWest Pilots ALPA Organizing Committee. The association won a restraining order blocking the airline from preventing pilots from posting and handing out literature and wearing ALPA insignia on pins while on duty.
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:07 PM   #2  
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To the Skywest pilots:

It is absolutely true that ALPA is far from perfect. I just went to an ALPA meeting where I butted heads with an ALPA "volunteer" because I thought he was going overboard but I ask you to think about the following.

When JA bought ASA the first thing he did was try to make us take a 13% pay cut on our F.O.'s. Because we had a contract (a binding legal agreement) we simply said no. If we did not have a union, he could have imposed those pay rates on us and we would have no recourse.

If that doesn't do it for you because it is abstract information from another carrier, think about this.

When Skywest got 700's on property, I've been told that Ja said fly it for the 50 seat or "combined" rate and we'll work something else out later.

nothing happened for a long time until he bought ASA and tried to force us to work for the rates SW has (without all the great bonuses you enjoy)

RESULT: SW pilots got an "over ride" that brought them up to ASA pay on the 700.

Unions are not the answer for everything, but they do allow coordination, legal binding contracts, and the betterment of industry standards. WE WILL ALL HAVE A BETTER LIFE IF SW has representation.

There is a pilot shortage for regional jobs, we will be, if we are not already, in the drivers seat.

Jump on board, let's improve the entire industry, it's worth the dues.

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Old 08-21-2007, 07:34 PM   #3  
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For those that are planning on NOT opting for alpa. Be careful if you do vote. The way it looks there is going to be an option to vote for alpa, sapa or none of the above. If you vote for SAPA to be our union but more people vote for alpa, ALL union votes go to ALPA. Best just to not vote at all and have it count as a no vote. Mr. Stickwiggler. While I empathized with your situation and know that SkyWest going union would drastically help ASA, I have to think about my family and my QOL. My biggest concern with us going union would be the integration of the pilot lists. I'm fairly senior here at SkyWest but not at all compared to your group. Truth is I just don't want to give up my good trips. Life is good here. I've worked for a union before and its was not a good experience. Once bitten twice shy I guess. For all you pilots on the fence, just know that if we go union your seniority number will change, and for most of us it will not be for the better.
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:41 PM   #4  
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The way it looks there is going to be an option to vote for alpa, sapa or none of the above. If you vote for SAPA to be our union but more people vote for alpa, ALL union votes go to ALPA.
This doesn't look fair. If this is true how should I look at this? You ALPA guys expect me to WANT a union that would try to pull crap like this. I feel uneasy just thinking about it.
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:58 PM   #5  
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To be fair, I don't think that Alpa is responsible for that. Thats just how it is. In other words, it would read something like this. Do you want a union? If so which one ALPA or SAPA. If you choose "Yes I want a union" and there are more "UNION" votes (a combination of sapa and alpa) than non union then we will have a union. Whoever has the most votes, sapa or alpa will become our union.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:08 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by WAVIT Inbound View Post
This doesn't look fair. If this is true how should I look at this? You ALPA guys expect me to WANT a union that would try to pull crap like this. I feel uneasy just thinking about it.
Frankly SkyWestPilot1 either doesn't know what he is talking about or he is trying to scare you and others on purpose. What ever your seniority number is now will be what it will be if ALPA gets certified. In the event there is a merged list between ASA and SKW the two groups (assuming SKW is in ALPA) would sit down together and negotiate the combined list. It is highly unlikely JA would merge ASA and SKW as there is no advantage for him to do so. With two separate companies he can bid flying in markets that would otherwise be contractually prohibited by the big boys. Additionally he can whipsaw the two pilot groups against each other by dangling growth for cheaper rates. If the ASA and SKW wanted a merged list it would be a battle royal to make it happen. The last thing JA wants is one big pilot group to deal with, so don't worry about your seniority. Remember this, on the internet anybody can say any thing they want and the next thing you know it's gospel. Do a little research and think about what the industry would look like without unions. Think about a 1% raise over three years. Think about how much SKW is making and how tough it would be for them to just keep you up with inflation. Think about what you paid for gas three years ago and what will it be three years from now. SKW management will pour you a big glass of Koolaid but it's not because they are your friend. They are very happy to have you work for them and glad-hand you like a good ol' boy as long as you sell your skills cheap.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:09 PM   #7  
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I bet you this vote turns out no in a landslide, like 80 percent no. I have never met a skywest pilot that was unhappy.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:24 PM   #8  
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YAKflyer
You may very well be right. I'm not an attorney, I am only passing on the info that I got while visiting the ALPA meetings setup at DEN and ORD. I have been to several of them and had a lot of questions. One thing that struck me as odd was the fact that most of the ALPA folks that traveled for those meetings to talk to us were current ASA pilots. I began to question why they were so excited about the thought of us becoming union. Eventually the info came out that I mentioned above. Again, I'm not an attorney, and its very possible that the ALPA guys were wrong.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:47 PM   #9  
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YAKflyer
You may very well be right. I'm not an attorney, I am only passing on the info that I got while visiting the ALPA meetings setup at DEN and ORD. I have been to several of them and had a lot of questions. One thing that struck me as odd was the fact that most of the ALPA folks that traveled for those meetings to talk to us were current ASA pilots. I began to question why they were so excited about the thought of us becoming union. Eventually the info came out that I mentioned above. Again, I'm not an attorney, and its very possible that the ALPA guys were wrong.
I didn't want to come across as attacking you, but I do think you either misunderstood what they were saying, or were misinformed. BTW your posts about how the election process works are correct. If there were four unions trying to organize an employee group and combined they got 51% of the group to vote yes, the one with the largest number of votes would represent the employees even if it only got 13% of the votes.

No doubt ALPA has made some bad moves in the past, but it is a bottom up organization where the local MEC's send more direction up than they ever receive down. In any event, any mistakes that may have been made were made by volunteer pilots who were doing what they thought best at the time. ALPA is not run by professional union bosses. Most of us came to this job because of the standard of living the pilots of the majors have enjoyed for the past 40 or 50 years. The only reason the standard exists is because our grandfathers fought for it using ALPA. I doubt most of those who turn their noises up at ALPA would want to try for the brass ring if they weren't riding on the coattails of those who made the profession what it is.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:48 PM   #10  
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YAKflyer
You may very well be right. I'm not an attorney, I am only passing on the info that I got while visiting the ALPA meetings setup at DEN and ORD. I have been to several of them and had a lot of questions. One thing that struck me as odd was the fact that most of the ALPA folks that traveled for those meetings to talk to us were current ASA pilots. I began to question why they were so excited about the thought of us becoming union. Eventually the info came out that I mentioned above. Again, I'm not an attorney, and its very possible that the ALPA guys were wrong.
Actually I believe you are a correct. A total majority vote for a union would result in a union...exactly which union would be determined by whichever group had more votes.

But I doubt many people will vote to certify SAPA...SAPA doesn't want the power, so why on earth would you vote to give it to them?
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