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US Airways Pilots Back At The Table  
User currently offlineFA4UA From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 812 posts, RR: 20
Posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4366 times:

http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/040121/0026000015_1.html

Those poor employees! It's just terrible they have to go back to the table again to cough up more money!

Does anybody know the last time US posted a profit (quarterly or yearly)?

FA4UA


The debate continues... Starwood or Hyatt... which is better
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRsmith6621a From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 194 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4330 times:


A pitty when the big boys in the big office wont cut their bonuses completly either.....how much more must the employee give back.....

Fortunatly they(the pilots) would qualify for Bushes job training program if USAir closes.....

Regards



Did You Ever Think Freedom Could Be this Bad
User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4329 times:

FA4UA, I don't remember the last time US posted a profit. I also don't quite know where they're going to go with this. US's employees are making less than Southwest's by a pretty good amount.

It's entirely possible for US to fly it's pilots and F/As more productively, but they are not doing it. There is no explanation as to why. The only thing I can think of is that there are so many inefficiencies built into US that without a major overhaul, they can't fly them more efficiently and productively.

Right now US's cost per seat mile is at 9.5. They want to go below 8.0, which is where Southwest is, but they've either got to rework their whole system or pay the employees about half what Southwest pays.


User currently offlineIslandHopperCO From Micronesia, joined Dec 2003, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4322 times:

>Those poor employees! It's just terrible they have to go back to the table again to cough up more money!

My cousin is a ticket counter agent at USAir with a high school diploma. He works around 30 hours a week and makes more than I do, plus travel benefits. I have a masters degree and work full time as a computer tech instructor. Union pay makes no sense in the real world, and just ends up losing jobs for people. Look at US steel and textile industries for an example.

Besides, management isn't even asking for paycuts, just productivity improvements to match successful airlines like Southwest. "Poor" employees indeed.


User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4313 times:

Union pay makes no sense in the real world, and just ends up losing jobs for people. Look at US steel and textile industries for an example.

Even if steel and textile workers were paid minimum wage, those jobs would've went elsewhere. The bottom line is what counts and who ever is willing to do the job the cheapest will get the work.


User currently offlineInnocuousFox From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2805 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4207 times:

"Those poor employees! It's just terrible they have to go back to the table again to cough up more money!"

Those poor employees! It's just terrible that their company ceased to exist!




Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
User currently offlineUadc8contrail From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1782 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4150 times:

ifox,
those poor employees??????are you saying those poor employees brought usair to the edge?????please,,,,,,enlighten me on your thoughts about deltas predicament......



bus driver.......move that bus:)
User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4149 times:

Fox:

I'm not sure it's going to do any good if US doesn't do something about the way it operates on a day in day out basis.

For example, US now has wages below Southwest's level by a good bit, but they are still using 8 people on the ramp to turn a 733 or similar size/type airplane. Southwest uses three. There are a load of problems with the way US accomplishes any given task.


User currently offlineAA717driver From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1566 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4093 times:

PiedmontGirl--I saw the same thing at TWA. No matter how productive you are while on the airplane, someone in the company will waste it--and more.

TWA had pilot reserve staffing at or below 10%(AA is at or above 30%) and rarely ran short. AA runs itself out of reserves all the time. But it didn't matter at TWA, the IAM would get upset about someone's lunch break being shortened and have a slowdown and trash the schedule.

Good luck.TC



FL450, M.85
User currently offlineTOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3297 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4061 times:

PiedmontGirl, you've hit the nail on the head. It's not about pay cuts any more. It probably never needed to be. It was the easy way out. It was easier to cut pay rather than change work rules...



User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4044 times:

AA717driver:

Those 8 people on the ramp are 3 ramp rats, 3 mechanics, and 2 cleaners. The mechanics, represented by the IAM, push and deice airplanes. It's not like they push an airplane and then go work on a generator or something. That's all they do. The guys in the hangar who actually fix things call them Tug Slugs.

The two cleaners are also represented by the IAM and F/As are not permitted to touch trash once the airplane arrives at the gate. If they do and the IAM files a grievance, the F/As are docked four hours pay each and that pay is given to the IAM. This means that boarding is often delayed and then the passengers feel like cattle and the F/As and agents are in a complete panic trying to get the airplane out on time. This little set up gives the janitor control over when the airplane leaves. Arrrrrrrgh!!

All this contractual mess with the IAM survived the bankruptcy. That really blew my mind. As expensive as it is and as unnecessary as it is, it survived.

PI figured its reserve staffing for both F/As and pilots at about 10% (it would be less when things were tight) and we never ran out of reserves. At US, it's 30% or better and it's forever being out of reserves. I am unsure how it accomplishes this.

I'm not sure anything is going help US until it changes itself. It's got to make some extreme internal changes.


User currently offlineBucky707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1028 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4043 times:

"It's not about pay cuts any more. It probably never needed to be. It was the easy way out. It was easier to cut pay rather than change work rules..."


Somebody finally gets it. Southwest actually pays it's people very well. The difference is they are very productive. But the unions would rather cut pay, and keep jobs, than change work rules and loose jobs.


User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4017 times:

PG: "The mechanics, represented by the IAM, push and deice airplanes. It's not like they push an airplane and then go work on a generator or something. That's all they do"

Not true. Mechanics assigned to the gate are not there just specifically for dispatch. They perform whatever flight line maintenance is required. This would include daily checks, tire changes, other numerous items ( inbound write-ups, even clear some MELs if time allows ) required to move the metal...consisitent with gate space/schedules. Any problem that would prevent the A/C being made serviceable before its flight ( in deference to the tight schedules in the hub/spoke/banks ) results in it being brought off the gate and worked at the hardstand or line hangar. It's not like every plane with a write-up goes to the hangar...the distinct minority do.

"The guys in the hangar who actually fix things call them Tug Slugs.

What about the guys on the line "who actually fix things"? It's not so black & white compartmentalized as you imply. The "Tug Slug" term is generally applied as slang for mechanics assigned to the terminal rather than the hardstand.




User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4005 times:

TOLtommy:

PiedmontGirl, you've hit the nail on the head. It's not about pay cuts any more. It probably never needed to be. It was the easy way out. It was easier to cut pay rather than change work rules...

The work rules are what cost so much. It's not the pay. It's the work rules. That is what will drain the finances and send the company over the edge. Using 8 people to do a job that takes 3? Oh, please. That's just nuts. There is no other business on this earth that hires 8 people to do the work of 3. Think about it -- department stores, computer companies, anything???? As far as I know, airlines are the only businesses that actually engage in this insanity.

Southwest's people are paid fine. Somehow everyone thinks Southwest does what it does by not paying anybody anything. That's not true. Southwest is just very, very productive.





User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3958 times:

NKP S2:

Not true. Mechanics assigned to the gate are not there just specifically for dispatch. They perform whatever flight line maintenance is required. This would include daily checks, tire changes, other numerous items ( inbound write-ups, even clear some MELs if time allows ) required to move the metal...consisitent with gate space/schedules.

Then why could we never get one to fix anything?

And why three mechanics for each flight? That's insane. You need mechanics in the gate areas, but you do not need three for each flight. You need mechanics who come to an airplane when they are needed. While they have to have access, there is no reason to have three per flight.

It is not necessary to have mechanics pushing and deicing airplanes and you know it. Because......no one else can perform these tasks and it takes three per flight.

This mess was agreed to many moons ago when US only had one gate with a loading bridge. Apparently it was never planning on having anymore loading bridges, because it foolishly agreed to this. The IAM tried to do the same thing at PI, but PI refused and stuck to its guns. I would hazard a guess that Southwest's mechanics tried the same tack with them and were also refused.

Before you ask, PI had one gate with a loading bridge when this proposal was made by the IAM. PI, however, was planning on have more loading bridges and wasn't about to pay out all that money to get an airplane pushed. Not when they could spend 3 hours training a ramp rat to do the pushing and deicing and he was with the plane anyway to off/on load bags and cargo and, very often, pull the trash from the trash cans. The flight attendants tidied up the cabin on turnarounds. This is also Southwest's operation.

Piedmont operated CLT with 9 mechanics total per shift at the terminal. Everything got fixed. That was for about the same 300 flights per day that CLT has right now.

When US took over PI's operation, they had to hire 800 mechanics for CLT alone to do all those tasks that someone else can easily perform. Like the ramp rats. It is not necessary to have someone with a mechanic's skill and training and pay to push and deice airplanes. That is an unnecessary expense and it is a luxury item that can no longer be afforded, if it ever could.

The fact is that Southwest uses 3 people to turn a 733. US uses 8 for the same size/type airplane. It is absolute insanity. Mechanics are too expensive to be doing such mundane tasks as pushing and deicing. It would be awfully expensive to have extra pilots on an airplane to arm/disarm doors and set up beverage carts don't you think??


User currently offlineOuboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4605 posts, RR: 23
Reply 15, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3945 times:

For the life of me, I've never been able to understand why a mechanic must due a push back or deice. Ramp agents due it at hundreds of airports nationwide without being a mechanic, it should be no different at the hubs and focus cities. Sure...have a few mechanics on call during that time when something needs fixed - but they don't need to be at every turn. People say that it has a benefit to catching problems...you don't see Southwest doing it, do you?

The part about Utility vs. the FAs on cleaning...that is another major one. To be honest...everyone should be able to chip in a clean the plane without having to fear union action. Now I have heard from a few that the utility people are going to be shown the door soon once the company can get the IAM back to the table. This is something that should have been done in bankrupcty...but the company doesnt' have that "luxary" anymore.

It says a lot about the workrules are US Airways when management is proposing changes to them that will allow the addition of 60 more narrowbody Airbuses WITHOUT having to recall a single pilot. That is disgusting.


User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4507 posts, RR: 34
Reply 16, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3908 times:

It says a lot about the workrules are US Airways when management is proposing changes to them that will allow the addition of 60 more narrowbody Airbuses WITHOUT having to recall a single pilot. That is disgusting.

If the pilots' union rep's tone yesterday is representative of union sentiment at US, the airline is doomed. He made it pretty clear that they're going to give productivity improvements kicking and screaming, and *only* the bare minimum they can get for mgmt. to sign off. Nice attitude. Of course a certain amount of it is Middle East-like haggle posturing, but it doesn't sound good.

Not to exonerate management for its own problems--especially the Colodny and Schofield administrations that set up the current situation--but US's productivity culture has got to change substantially. If not, other airlines that do have productive workrules will replace them.

Jim



Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3891 times:

Ouboy79:

It says a lot about the workrules are US Airways when management is proposing changes to them that will allow the addition of 60 more narrowbody Airbuses WITHOUT having to recall a single pilot. That is disgusting.

That is really amazing. It should give a real good idea of the inefficiency and general sloppiness of US's basic practices. It's not the pay that's so damaging, it's the work rules that kill you.

Those work rules are like circles of insanity. They feed off of each other until absolutely nothing is being accomplished with any kind of speed or efficiency.

There is no rational reason why everyone can't pitch in to tidy up an airplane when it's necessary. It doesn't take even five minutes to tidy up an airplane cabin under normal circumstances. About the only time it takes longer is if someone has really vomited all over everything or made some other mess that is an actual bio-hazard. Normally, the only thing left in an airplane after the passengers leave is some papers and stuff like that. You're right about that, too. That business should have been taken care of in bankruptcy.

And, you're, right -- ramp agents all over the country push and deice airplanes all the time at hundreds and hundreds of stations. They are perfectly capable of doing it and doing it well.

The first time I saw Southwest turn an airplane was about ten years ago at BWI. I watched those three people move it on out. I could see the F/As tidying up the cabin through the airplane windows. I watched the speed and efficiency and I thought "These people are going to eat our lunch because these people know what the hell they are doing." As we all know, they did, too.


User currently offlineOuboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4605 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3809 times:

Now that I went back to read my post, let me apologize for writing it on 4 hours of sleep. LOL At least everyone has seemed to master the skill of decoding my bumbling.  Smile

Jim...sometimes, with the attitudes taken by these union reps, I wish the airline would just liquidate so all of these 20+ year employees would get a dose of reality. Yes the airline has been mismanaged. Yes there are a lot reasons to be bitter. However, when it comes to saving the airline and your job or just liquidating...don't get cocky about because you'll go from flying left seat in a mainline jet to right seat in a Saab at another sirline.

Its time to sit down and give back the lofty workrules. Hell...if it is such a big deal work it out to make sure that the workrules are as efficient as Southwest's and that some pay increases are made. IOW - We'll pay you more, if you do more and work like a team.


User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3414 posts, RR: 16
Reply 19, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3764 times:

There are some terrible inaccuracies in this topic right now:

Many of the remarks made above regarding the mechanics, what they do, and how many are 100% false. Having said that, most of those remarks were true prior to US's Ch11. Ramp Agents now push and park the aircraft, they also do what US calls "utility." Basically the Ramp Agents do everything on the ramp and the cabin service except line maintenance, GSE maintenance ("ground support equipment"), and deicing (still done by line mechanics). Overnight aircraft cleaning is still done by the utility department and Overnight Aircraft checks and repairs made by the mechanics. There are no more than 3 mechanics assigned to 1st and 2nd shifts and they are there to simply perform log book entries, tire changes, minor fixes, etc. They will call in extra manpower for AOG situations ("aircraft on ground" - broken) and deicing situations that require more than the 2 or 3 mechanics. The efficiency has improved dramatically, but there is still some room for improvement.

disclaimer: this is how it was and is now set up in PVD, I have heard that this may be differant at larger and/or hub stations for US. Information has been confirmed from the interim maintenance manager for US at PVD.


User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (10 years 9 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3756 times:

PVD757:

disclaimer: this is how it was and is now set up in PVD, I have heard that this may be differant at larger and/or hub stations for US. Information has been confirmed from the interim maintenance manager for US at PVD.

This is true for out stations. The larger stations (PIT, PHL, CLT, and so on) are just as they were before. The changes that were made are not nearly large enough to do anything substantial for the airline.

The present situation was set up decades ago, but it's got to be taken care of now. It's not the pay. It's the work rules. Those rules are so expensive that they are just deadly. Even the IAM became convinced that there was no sense in having mechanics in places where there is no maintenance.

[Edited 2004-01-22 01:06:55]

User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (10 years 9 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3654 times:

pg:

"Then why could we never get one to fix anything?

That's nothing but pure anecdotal blather, with more than a bit of conjecture, and you know it. In your missives, you demonstrate an extraordinarily distorted, and uninformed view of the maint situation. The view that every dept but yours is superfluous and not pulling their weight...an affliction that seems to include a certain assinine subset in every group...and flight crews are certainly no exception. Don't let the nostalgia for the speedbird cloud your judgement; Heck, I'm ex Peidmont too, and I enjoyed the experience and will never forget it...but it doesn't trump the reality of the now...especially inconvenient because we live in it.

The day to day ops with checks and other items is remarkably fluid- The on-time stats bear this out. If any airworthy item cannot be repaired within the scheduled ground time ( no delays!!!! ) then the A/c will be put on ETR till it can be. If a non-airworthy item can be repaired ( requiring parts availability and time ) than it will be and is. If not it will be deferred in deference to the schedule. We're not delaying a flight to replace a coffemaker that we don't have in stock at that station at that time. There's a lot more behind the perception of waiting in F/C or the galley. One thing I was brought up on is not opining on what I do not have intimate knowledge on. Put another way: Ask a question...get an answer Point your finger and make an accusation...You better be right...or put your asbestos on.

And why three mechanics for each flight? That's insane. You need mechanics in the gate areas, but you do not need three for each flight

Wrong wrong wrong. What station, and what time period are you referring to?

Up till Oct '92, the ratio was 3 mechs/2 gates. After that it was 1 per gate, with utility co-performing R&D. After Oct '02 it averages slightly less than 1 per gate, with ramp doing receipt. I did not work the gates but helped support them certain times when the workload was high, doing out-of-time checks and MELs clearable before departure time.


You need mechanics who come to an airplane when they are needed. While they have to have access, there is no reason to have three per flight

See above. I should say that while I personally care not to work the gates ( to much time pressure ) having mechs do R&D while they are there anyway is not the onerous yoke you think it might be.

It is not necessary to have mechanics pushing and deicing airplanes and you know it. Because......no one else can perform these tasks and it takes three per flight.

As for de-icing, that's your opinion, nevertheless, I just thought I'd refute your "3" figure a 3rd time. Seemed most appropo. Might I also add though, that Piedmont mechs did R&D in some stations, and WN's mechs do the same in some stations as well.


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