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Old 07-10-2008, 05:50 AM   #11  
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Originally Posted by ComeFlyWithMe View Post
Yes I realize the above question is an invitation to flame me. And I will not dispute this. But I have an honest question and, as someone about to begin this career, I would like an honest answer.

Are unions to blame for the current state of pilot pay, QOL, and working conditions? Here is why I ask: After 9/11, when the major airlines were all losing money, they all went to the unions and begged for wage concessions. The unions, fearing massive layoffs, obliged, and the low pilot pay we say today is a reflection of the unions' judgement in that situation. I noticed that the people who WEREN'T asked to "make sacrifices" were the airlines' non-union employees. Not just executives, but everyone from the non-exec folks in the corporate office down to the baggage handlers. From my perspective, it looks like having a union is like having a spokesman yelling "cut my pay!," since it's easier to bully a single entity rather than a bunch of independant workers. Pilots used to make as much as engineers, architects, and lawyers. None of those groups are unionized, and as independant workers their employers can't cut all their pay in one fell swoop. It seems as though pilot pay has dropped because the unions legitimize the process of cutting pay. From what I've seen, only in a unionized workplace can management look every employee in the eye and tell them their pay is being cut.

What are your thoughts on this? I'd like to be enlightened here.
Unions are not really to blame for the downward spiral of pay over the last twenty years (not just since '9/11'). Each individual pilot who has voted, volunteered or acquiesced to lower pay, whether it be in conjunction with a unionized carrier, or who has just sold out the profession on his or her own, is responsible. This has been a continual slide down the drain since the mid-1980s.

The current state of ALPA and the other lap-dog pilot unions is a symptom, not the cause, of low pilot pay. Pilot pay is now low in all air carrier companies, whether the pilots are subject to collective bargaining or not.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:24 AM   #12  
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I grew up and to this day don't particularly care for unions. Having said that, I can not imagine working for AMR Corp. without having the protection of ALPA. I have never once (in 8 1/2 yrs) been called to the office for disciplinary issues, but have seen many who have. Some earned it. Some didn't.

Also, I have volunteered on the Aeromedical and HIMS Committees for six years, and can tell you that the ALPA Drs. are second to none, and HIMS HIMS - A Substance Abuse Treatment Program For Commercial Pilots really helps those in need. I have gotten back more than I've given.

Bottom line- you (and your pilot group) get out of your union what you put in.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:54 AM   #13  
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Unions could be doing a better job. Having said that, there would be no such thing as negotiations for concessions without them. The company would immpose them, and we'd have to take it.

Just like your government, your union is only as strong as those running it. If it's members take an active roll it will do a much better job than if they just sit idly by. Remember, it's your money.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:19 AM   #14  
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I'd say that the unions really aren't the problem, (as stated by everyone else) the pay would have come down whether you were unionized or not, it's just a matter of if you'd agreed to it (union) , or it was imposed (non-union) there's also the chance that the union could have voted down concessions. But in which case, the company would probably have gone bankrupt, and restructured anyway, lowering the pay during the process (while awarding themselves a large bonus i might add).

What i see as a huge problem in aviation is that you can't market experience. yes, it's the only thing that will get you the job with Delta, NWA, Southwest, or many other airlines, but pilots are essentially picking what they believe to be "quality" outfits that should be around in a few years, or, picking the best "salary" available. Any most other professional fields, your resume and experience gets you the opportunity to negotiate a pay rate that you and the company feel is adequate. Here, they don't, and as long as you can't, no company is going to fight over getting an employee, you're just another toothpick in the box.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:46 AM   #15  
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Originally Posted by flynavyj View Post
Any most other professional fields, your resume and experience gets you the opportunity to negotiate a pay rate that you and the company feel is adequate. Here, they don't, and as long as you can't, no company is going to fight over getting an employee, you're just another toothpick in the box.
That is an interesting observation. People always complain that management treats them like a number and not an individual - and yet, the union itself insists on using a system where the only thing that is allowed to determine your value is your date of hire. People complain that management de-humanizes them, and yet the system the union insists on following seems to take any/and all individual value away from the employee outside of his hire date. Interesting.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:00 AM   #16  
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Originally Posted by higney85 View Post
The problem with Unions is that the current political arena does not allow unions to work as intended (The RLA not implemented as designed is a slap in the face). While I did vote for Bush last go-around, I am highly disappointed in the lack of union support from the politicians in Washington.

On top of the political climate that has changed since the advent of Unions is the fact that overall in the social circles the "american way" is cheaper, bigger, better, more and in the workforce its "may the best survive". These factors only make picketing useless and further frustrates everyone involved in the union drives towards better work rules, wages, and QOL. The "american way" has morphed the workforce demographic over the last few generations over managment groups claiming higher wages and better work environments in place of no unions, due to that fact the CEO/management pay has grown exponentially since the disbandment of many unions in many different labor arenas while the blue collar, and in many instances lower white collar workers have suffered.

Just my thoughts at 6am.

ALPA. One Voice, One Union!

DING DING DING we have a winner
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #17  
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Unions are necessary in aviation but they could have implemented policies in the past to help pilots today with issues with pay. Say union regional carriers had a barrier to entry clause in their contracts requiring 2000 hours miniumum for a regional FO. What would of this done to regional pay? My guess is it would go up.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:36 PM   #18  
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:11 PM   #19  
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Unions themselves aren't the problem...their apathetic membership and blatant lack of unity is.
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:23 PM   #20  
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Originally Posted by ComeFlyWithMe View Post

....I noticed that the people who WEREN'T asked to "make sacrifices" were the airlines' non-union employees.
Good point!

... they were simply fired without the option of keeping their job with sacrifices.
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