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$1M less retirement at SWA than UA/DL

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$1M less retirement at SWA than UA/DL

Old 01-09-2023, 12:02 PM
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Default $1M less retirement at SWA than UA/DL

These charts are taken from the United Airlines Contract Comparison Guide published in the first quarter of 2017. The charts show the difference in retirement growth at various airlines on two different career trajectories (narrow body only as we are limited to at SWA versus a wide body career path as is available at the other "Big 4" airlines). The assumptions the charts are based on are explained in the notes at the top of the image.

The bottom line to me is that, after 30 years, the retirement savings of a pilot at UA or DL, based on company contributions to retirement funding, is approximately one million dollars greater than that of a pilot at SWA. A pilot at AA would have approximately $500K greater retirement savings than a pilot at SWA.

After 30 years, the retirement fund of a SWA pilot would be worth $3.759M.

On a wide body career path, after 30 years, the retirement fund of a UA pilot would be worth $4.709M, at DL $4.694M, and at AA $4.261M.

On a narrow body career path, after 30 years, the retirement fund of a UA pilot would be worth $4.159M, at DL $4.165M, and at AA $3.762M.

IMO, this illustrates one aspect of the giant disparity in career compensation between pilots at SWA and the rest of the Big 4. To me, it's just one more reason why we need GIANT improvements across the board to result from the current round of contract negotiations.

I suppose another way to look at it is that pilots at SWA value the "psychic wage" and the "luv culture" and all of the other "benefits" of working for the "quirky", "fun-loving" Texas airline so much that we think it's worth a million dollar hit to our retirement funds over the course of our careers. That says nothing of the hit we are all apparently willing to take in so many other areas of our lives for the privilege of working for the home of "The Southwest Shuffle."

Of course, since these charts were published in 2017, they do not include the improvements to retirement funding that have occurred since then at a couple of other places like Alaska and Delta (if they approve/ratify their AIP).
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Old 01-09-2023, 12:06 PM
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"The Southwest Shuffle"

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Old 01-09-2023, 01:15 PM
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Big Deal


Do UAL pilots get SWAG points.

Do they get the honor of paying for their own hotel and or Uber

Do they get the privilege of paying for their own employee parking


The list goes on and on what WN pilots get that UAL do not.
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Old 01-09-2023, 02:56 PM
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Someone needs to put out some charts that look back on the previous 30 years and compare actual career earnings and retirement savings at all the airlines. That would be interesting to see.
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Old 01-09-2023, 04:09 PM
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The note says those charts are based on 1000 credit hours per year…so 72.5 tfp/month? Or the other way around? Math is hard
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Old 01-09-2023, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Smooth at FL450 View Post
The note says those charts are based on 1000 credit hours per yearÖso 72.5 tfp/month? Or the other way around? Math is hard
It would be the other way around, so around 96tfp a month.

I am also assuming this chart counts the current disparity in our DC 15 percent vs their 16 percent, a difference which is almost certain to be remedied this contract.

Where SWA is risky is the 10 percent chance that you are going to go on long term medical. The company quits funding your 401k and profit sharing just as soon as you run out of sick trips. THAT absolutely needs to get fixed asap. Imagine how much money the company saves by screwing pilots that get sick with cancer and other long term illnesses. LUV indeed.
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Old 01-09-2023, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by e6bpilot View Post
Where SWA is risky is the 10 percent chance that you are going to go on long term medical. The company quits funding your 401k and profit sharing just as soon as you run out of sick trips. THAT absolutely needs to get fixed asap. Imagine how much money the company saves by screwing pilots that get sick with cancer and other long term illnesses. LUV indeed.
YUP! This is 100% my line in the sand for contract 2020. Not only does the company need to harmonize all the disability plans, loss of license, AND treat those who are out on medical with dignity and respect ó whatever solution they ultimately provide needs to continue to fund retirement until pilot retirement age. If thatís not in there, Iím a hard NO.
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Old 01-09-2023, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ZapBrannigan View Post
YUP! This is 100% my line in the sand for contract 2020. Not only does the company need to harmonize all the disability plans, loss of license, AND treat those who are out on medical with dignity and respect ó whatever solution they ultimately provide needs to continue to fund retirement until pilot retirement age. If thatís not in there, Iím a hard NO.
^^^^^^This is my line in the sand as well. I just hope there are enough of us. We are all one medical emergency from being cast aside.
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Old 01-09-2023, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by e6bpilot View Post
I am also assuming this chart counts the current disparity in our DC 15 percent vs their 16 percent, a difference which is almost certain to be remedied this contract.

Where SWA is risky is the 10 percent chance that you are going to go on long term medical. The company quits funding your 401k and profit sharing just as soon as you run out of sick trips. THAT absolutely needs to get fixed asap. Imagine how much money the company saves by screwing pilots that get sick with cancer and other long term illnesses. LUV indeed.
My understanding is that Delta's AIP is proposing 18% for their B-Fund after two years. We will have to significantly beat that if our retirement is going to come close to competing with the value of a DL or UA (or even AA) pilot's retirement fund after a typical 30-year career trajectory at one of those places versus a typical career trajectory at SWA. Not only can a pilot at one of the other Big 4 airlines upgrade more quickly, but they also will typically go on to fly wide bodies.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON, besides the tired old rationalization, "Because that's the way it has always been done in this industry," that we have to limit ourselves to basing our contractual demands to the confines of narrow body pilots. There is no law that says we have to do it that way.

In fact, in 2012, a judge from the Eastern District of New York shot down the argument made by the US Airlines Pilots Association (USAPA) that a proposal from management was unreasonable because it didn't conform to industry standards: "USAPA argues that defendants' proposal is unreasonable because it does not conform to industry standards as USAPA defines them. In order to assess this contention, the court would be forced to assess the substantive proposals of each party and to weigh their reasonableness. Doing so would take the court beyond the permissible scope of a bad faith bargaining inquiry" (US Airlines Pilots Ass'n v. US Airways, Inc., 859 F. Supp. 2d 283).

Not only was the court not interested in "industry standards" in the context of assessing bad faith bargaining but it realized getting involved in the discussion of what is "industry standard" and what is not was outside of its authority. It didn't find the company in violation of the requirement to "exert every reasonable effort to make and maintain agreements" because it proposed something that was outside the bounds of the union's conception of "industry standards." Neither would SWAPA be found to be in violation of the RLA, despite what people like TD and CK might assert, if SWAPA demanded the best career compensation package, narrow body or wide body, in the entire airline industry.

The only party that is binding us to the idea that we must limit ourselves to strictly narrow body contract comparisons because that's what we think is "industry standard" is ourselves. We have bought into the self-limiting conceptualization that the only "reasonable" way to approach contract negotiations is through the prism of metrics lke other narrow body pilots' compensation structure and narrow body revenue per seat mile figures. The company luvs us for that.

In 2023, economic power resides on the side of pilots. There are not enough pilots willing to fill in as scabs in the current environment to provide the company with the comforting notion that they could break a pilot's strike with replacements. And, after the Great Christmas Meltdown of 2022, the company absolutely does not want to present our customers with another airline shutdown scenario any time again in the next several years. Right now, pilots, and especially SWA pilots, have unprecedented economic leverage if they wield it correctly.

In a 1988 RLA case, referencing a Supreme Court decision, one federal district court judge put it this way: "the labor laws allow economic strength ultimately to control the establishment of contract terms, regardless of which side may have better reasons for its position" (Independent Federation of Flight Attendants v. TWA, 682 F.Supp. 1003).

Regardless of how "reasonable" or outside the guardrails of perceived "industry standards" the company thinks it might be, SWA pilots have the economic power to demand and receive not just the industry-leading narrow body contract, but the industry-leading contract, period. Now is not the time to settle (again) for less than we deserve and less than we can achieve.

Last edited by Lewbronski; 01-09-2023 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 01-10-2023, 03:56 AM
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I wonder how many people (FO and CA) are clueless as to how behind some of our stuff is compared to DAL...

If someone says in response to at Delta you make XX a month and only have to fly 80 hours " well, we can just pick up a couple of trips and make more..."

Im gonna bring a ghost pepper, eat it, and wipe my hands all over everything on their side...

And that's just the minute tip of the ever growing iceberg...
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