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Reminder of the importance of pilot unity

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Reminder of the importance of pilot unity

Old 05-30-2009, 07:57 PM
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Default Reminder of the importance of pilot unity

I stole this post from another board but thought it would be good reading for many on here.

Attention all pilots who want to improve our situation. For all pilots old and young who worked hard to get here. For all pilots who on daily basis are treated as thou they are not an important part of there airline. Read up, because this is exactly how ExpressJet and all other airline management wants you to feel... why?? Because if they can trick you into thinking your self worth is less, then they can get away without paying you more (and you won't argue about it). I believe it could be considered the herd effect. I realize most of you understand that you are the most educated and determined people at the airline. So start acting like it.... lets start acting like captains who make the decisons around here! Do not let anyone boss or pressure you anymore!

I'll leave you all with this from a british business writer Charley Harley. He wrote that companies were, in a crucial way, the sum of the people who worked for them. This meant that they had all the responsiblies of responsible people. It was not enough for them to make a profit. It was also vital that they served their communities, provided decent salaries and benefits. Companies had a moral as well as an economic purpose. The best employees wanted to work for good companies with good cultures, not just those that maximized profits.

borrowed from the continental pilots, "the magenta line"....

“This Used to Be a Hell of a Profession”

Before departing EWR on a recent 777 flight across the globe, and on a day that Colgan Airlines and the Buffalo crash dominated the news, one of the First-Class flight attendants, in full view and earshot of a cabin full of passengers, asked this of one of our IROs crewing the trip: “How many check rides have you failed?”

On another recent flight, an ISM, after grabbing the hotel keys from the Captain, stuck her hand in his face and said: “I’m on crew rest—I don’t have to listen to you!”

On any given day at any station in our system, we can be told by a gate agent: “I don’t have time to process the jumpseat for you. You’ll just have to take the next flight.”

What do these, and a hundred other slights we are subjected to day in and day out, have in common? They are all directed at the most competent, well-trained, and highly-experienced employees at Continental Airlines by some of the least competent, ill-trained, and inexperienced people Continental management could find to staff that particular position on that particular day.

Although common courtesy is most uncommon these days, these incidents are only about courtesy on the surface; what lies below is what we need to be concerned about—and start making plans to stop before it goes any further.

I have had a pet theory for years. Most of you who know me have heard it before and roll your eyes when the subject comes up in my presence. The short version of the story is that I believe we are treated the way we are by management and by those who work the lower-tier, less-skilled jobs here (and who are allowed, virtually every time, to get away with their bad behavior) for one simple reason: if they can treat us poorly with impunity, and if they can get away with it long enough, we might start to think about ourselves in the same way they think about us—as overpaid prima donna bus drivers, plying a trade they could surely ply, if only they had the advantages we did. The benefit to management for pulling this off is huge: if we think little of ourselves, we may demand little in return for our skills and experience.

As it turns out, I was right.

I got the following from a guy I know from one of the internet aviation boards who is also a Continental pilot. See if any of this sounds familiar:

“It's becoming painfully obvious that much of this is driven by corporate psych strategies. Much happens to us on a daily basis that isn't by chance and much of it isn't obvious to us at all. I wonder if its intended effect benefits management after all or if it is, in fact, counter-productive. Marginalizing pilot contributions seems to be at the top of the list.

“Most Fortune 500 corporations in the US employ psychological strategies against their employees. They shell out many millions to specialty firms for these strategies. Ours does seem to be most effective.

“I took some (Airline) MBA course work in the early 90's at Dowling College. During our labor relations class, one of the other students unearthed a mid 80's AMR (Bob Crandall) study that was quite interesting. One of the points focused on essentially ignoring pilot contributions to the operation and highlighting those of the least critical (cleaners, catering, etc). The stated goal was to 'meld' all groups to a common level. Meaning, the guy who's folding the seatbelt was just as important as the guy who successfully landed the DC-10 in gusty crosswinds. All of it was geared to lowering pilot cost's (B-Scale, C-Scale).

“Another strategy was eliminating pilot-only parking lots, buses, cafeterias, etc. Heavy integration with the lowest paid workers of the airline (cleaners, ramp, etc.). Something to do with self esteem and view of self was behind that bullet point—although it’s been too long to remember the exact goal. I'll let you come to your own conclusion on that one. A lot happens to us that we are not aware of. Yet it changes our lives more than we can imagine.

“Just consider, adjusting Contract 97's first step increment, 12 year 757 CAPT Rate for the Govt's stated CPI (12 years of inflation) would take it to $239/hr from $169/hr where it is today. Do you think all the hocus pocus works? You've got to give it to them, they are good at what they do.”

Yes, they are “good at what they do”. But we are better. We are the best and most highly skilled employees of this airline. We work nights, weekends, and holidays—for no extra pay. We stay awake all night and fly our aircraft with precision and land at destinations with low clouds, no visibility, gusty winds, and slick runways. We get non-revs on after they’ve been abused by gate agents, we make the CASS system work to ensure that not only our pilots, but the pilots of other airlines can get to their bases—or get home to their loved ones. We solve catering, maintenance, ramp, and scheduling issues. We prepare our aircraft for flight, sometimes showing two hours or more ahead of push time to ensure we properly plan our flights over some of the most unforgiving terrain and some of the broadest oceans in the world—and we don’t get a dime for it. We work on our days off—because management says we have to keep the airline running and on schedule. We sacrifice our families, too—we miss birthdays, anniversaries, school plays, and soccer games—and family members who pass away without us at their side. And when a crew makes a mistake and pays with their lives, we honor them in full dress uniform as brothers in arms and we weep for them and wonder how their families will cope with the awful loss of the husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sons, and daughters.

We are the best at what we do—and we will not be diminished by managers who could never do what we do if they had a thousand years to prepare for it. We are the best at what we do—and we serve our airline safely and skillfully despite the thoughtless and cruel comments and treatment we sometimes endure at the hands of those lesser than us in every way. We are the best at what we do—and we demand proper recognition for it—today, tomorrow, and in every possible way.
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:04 PM
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Great Post !!!
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:08 AM
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That's probably the best post I've read in some time and hits the nail right on the head !

G'Day Mate and thanks
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:21 AM
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This poster does a better job of articulating my thoughts then I can, this is off a different forum.

I'll add this also...

Captains? BE CAPTAINS!

We started to hammer this last week and a couple of events since have highlighted this issue yet again.

We get paid to command and make command decisions. We are given all the tools we need in the FAR’s. Sometimes even the Ops Manual helps us out. We just had out NRT crew get paid and while management seems to think the Captain did not make the right decision, an arbitrator surely will.

The point is this: everything this airline does, from selling tickets, to cleaning the lavs, to catering the airplanes, to checking baggage in at curbside, is designed to do one thing: move people from A to B. And in the process of moving those people from A to B there is only one place on the airplane where every decision from outside the airplane can be accepted, modified, or overridden. It’s the ultimate place for stopping the buck: the left seat.

For far too long, we have allowed others to make our decisions for us. The Ops Manual has grown over the years from a couple of hundred or so pages to almost 1,000 pages today. Most of that growth was an attempt to diminish us as pilots and substitute canned words and responses for cockpit judgments and decisions.

We must decide: Do we want to be paid and treated as skilled and responsible professionals? Or are we content to be labor, operating our heavy equipment in the manner we are directed to by management and subject to their whims when we stray from the path they set for us—sometimes after the fact?

If you are faced with a decision, if you have to make a call, if you are treated with disrespect by your flight attendants, your ground crew, your caterers, your schedulers—or your supervisors—remember who and what you are: you are The Captain—and you are In Command of the aircraft. Command is sometimes an unpleasant task, and sometimes you must make decisions that will not be popular—but that is why you command instead of take a popular vote.

First Officers, you aren’t off the hook, either. Monitor and respectfully challenge your Captain if you see him shying from decisions or failing to stand up for his crew. We monitor and challenge when we manage threats and errors when we fly, why not do it outside the airplane, too? We can take control of our profession again—but every one of us has to make it happen; it will not be given back to us freely.
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Old 05-31-2009, 09:00 AM
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Print this out and post it in your crew room!
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:35 AM
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Excellent posts. It shows you how management really is trying to encourage the dive to the bottom in terms of professionalism. It's in their benefit if we don't feel like professionals, because they then don't have to pay us like professionals.
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:31 PM
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Great post, finally a post that isnt gonna start a cyber war.
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:03 PM
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That was a great post. Every pilot should read this.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:27 PM
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The problem is some airlines will terminate guys for arguing with an ignorant gate agent, a lot of guys would rather let the gate agents walk all over them than have a term hearing.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:11 PM
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"Can't stand ya" is that you??
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