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Can WN Sustain Paying Employees Top Dollar?  
User currently offlineDALNeighbor From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 599 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2815 times:



Can WN continue to increase or maintain top pay rates in the industry and be profitable? Will workers from other airlines demand to be compensated just as much as WN employees? Will WN have to ask for pay freezes or concessions from it's employees?

Full Story:
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/13680251.htm

....A big question is whether that advantage will be enough. In the next few years, Southwest faces higher costs for fuel and labor, its two largest expenses. Meanwhile, competitors Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways have used the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to lower their costs so they can afford to match Southwest's discount fares.....


Wright Amendment = Federally Engineered AA Price Gouging
43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTexan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4284 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2769 times:

They also receive the highest prodcutivity per worker, which is what makes the higher salaries and benefits possible. When the productivity cost saved no longer balances out the salary and benefit increases, then they will have to look at reducing those two items.

Texan



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2746 times:

Quoting Texan (Reply 1):
They also receive the highest prodcutivity per worker

Do you have a source for that info? Just what does prodcutivity mean anyway? Does WN use a cattle prod to cut costs and increase productivity? Thought I'd ask a Texan.  Wink

DL757Md



757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2731 times:
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DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Dl757md (Reply 2):
Do you have a source for that info?

In terms of measurable productivity, I believe WN's aircraft utilization is higher than the competition. In terms of human productivity, it comes down to dedication. WN employees are fiercly devoted to the company, and go the extra mile whenever possible. Pilots throw bags, execs serve drinks, and people work late and put in extra hours to get the job done.

Shortly after 9/11, while most other airline employees were threatening legal action and strikes in the face of impending layoffs, WN employees organized a massive (voluntary) donation program, and ended up (IIRC) donating around a million dollars to the company to help make up for the 9/11 downtime. Most hourly workers, myself included, did not clock in that day, despite working around the clock.

I believe that's the productivity to which Texan was referring.




2H4





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User currently offlineNateDAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2702 times:

The historical record says yes.

WN has been profitable every year since 1973. I don't see any reason why they can't continue to treat thier people well and make money.

I hadn't flown WN for 10 months until Thursday, when I did DAL-HOU. WN has done a great job developing a culture of productivity and service. Employees really seem to go the extra mile to make the planes run on time and keep the passangers happy. That's why they win.



Set Love Free
User currently offlineDALNeighbor From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2681 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 2):
Do you have a source for that info?

The link to the article above says WN has 71 employees per aircraft and the industry average is 110. That might suggest that management has better designed operations that require less work to produce aircraft trips.



Wright Amendment = Federally Engineered AA Price Gouging
User currently offlineTexan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4284 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2665 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 2):
Do you have a source for that info? Just what does prodcutivity mean anyway? Does WN use a cattle prod to cut costs and increase productivity? Thought I'd ask a Texan.

Cattle prod? Hell no! Herb goes out there with two six-guns strapped to his belt and motivates the employees the real Texan way! Get your facts straight  Smile

Actually, the key lies in cross utilization of employeees. The contracts calls for employees to perform tasks outside the normal scope of their jobs in some cases. This means that pilots can help load bags or clean the airplane if the process is moving slowly, small stuff like that. It helps efficiency which in turn helps the profits, which are then funneled back to the employees through raises, bonuses, or increased benefits.

Texan



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
User currently offlineJeremy From United States of America, joined May 2001, 668 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

Actually, the Pilots are not supposed to throw bags anymore.
There may still be some who will, but it is not encouraged.
A Pilot was injured once, which put a quick halt to that.

The one thing I will say about the productivity of employees, is that it also creates a lot of on the job injuries. I have worked for 4 airlines, including WN and the OJIs at WN out number the other 3 airlines combined.

I will agree that employees at WN are generally happy, but the farther you get from DAL, the less happy they are.
There were many employees at my station that would curse WN and do things to hurt the company with their apathy.
If that continues to spread, it will be dangerous.



You are now free to be sexually harassed and then terminated for filing a complaint--Southwest Airlines to me.
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26714 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

Quoting Texan (Reply 6):
Herb goes out there with two six-guns strapped to his belt and motivates the employees the real Texan way!

Nah, he just pulls the cigarette out of his mouth and burns them with it  Silly



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 2):
Do you have a source for that info?



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
In terms of human productivity, it comes down to dedication. WN employees are fiercly devoted to the company, and go the extra mile whenever possible. Pilots throw bags, execs serve drinks, and people work late and put in extra hours to get the job done.

This doesn't answer as a source for that info, and is more stuff that "should" increase productivity... but for example if someone from an unnamed department starts dinkering around in my work thinking they'll "do the easy stuff" so all I have to do is the most technical stuff... it often takes me more time to complete my task than if I did it myself from scratch. I'd imagine an efficient ground worker loading baggage is more efficient when he's doing his routine that he's done 1000 times before, than with a new set of unexperienced hands in the works. But regardless, you didn't answer the questioned asked... because that's not measureable, concrete, nor a source.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
Most hourly workers, myself included, did not clock in that day, despite working around the clock.

I'd be dipped in fecal matter before I'd work off the clock for an entire day, but that's just me. Just as Southwest supposedly couldn't afford revenue hits from 9/11, I myself couldn't afford to lose $180 that quickly either... and I have alot less money in the bank than a multi-billion dollar corporation like Southwest... and Southwest can raise fares just by choosing to do so... I can't choose to make more money.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2179 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 9):
But regardless, you didn't answer the questioned asked... because that's not measureable, concrete, nor a source.

According to MIT's Global Airline Industry Program, WN's total labor expense per ASM was more than 25% below that of United and American, and 58% less than US Airways. In 2001, Southwest produced 542,050 available seat-miles per employee, as compared to 369,790 at American and 373,400 at United. By this measure, the productivity of Southwest employees is over 45% higher than at American and United, despite the substantially longer flight lengths and larger average aircraft size of these network carriers.

Source: http://spacestation.mit.edu/airlines/index2.htm



What's that? Still not good enough for you? Does 2001 data somehow not count? Well, in 2005, WN's headcount per aircraft was 72. American Airlines, on the other hand, had a ratio of 128. It's all in each company's SEC filings.





Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 9):
I'd be dipped in fecal matter before I'd work off the clock for an entire day, but that's just me. Just as Southwest supposedly couldn't afford revenue hits from 9/11, I myself couldn't afford to lose $180 that quickly either...

I'd rather give up $180 from time to time and work for a company that offers job security, and....well...is still in business, rather than hoard my money and become a number on a long list of layoffs.

But that's just me.

 Wink




2H4





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User currently onlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4849 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2164 times:
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Quoting Jeremy (Reply 7):
There were many employees at my station that would curse WN and do things to hurt the company with their apathy.
If that continues to spread, it will be dangerous.

You wouldn't be refering to OAK would you? From the way they load the aircraft and document their loads on the DR, they seem like a bunch of fools!  irked  From what I hear, the folks in OAK are the most unhappy in the entire system. But then again, just look at the geography...

It is true, especially on the ramp level, that there are a few that don't buy into the whole "Southwest Spirit". There are a few bad apples out there, but generally, we are a happy bunch.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2130 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 10):

What's that? Still not good enough for you? Does 2001 data somehow not count? Well, in 2005, WN's headcount per aircraft was 72. American Airlines, on the other hand, had a ratio of 128. It's all in each company's SEC filings.

That's all I wanted, and the original questioner wanted, a cold, hard, documented fact. Could have posted it the first time, without the attitude.

However, headcount per aircraft is still an arguable number... those "heads" are loading, ground handling, and gate agenting Express aircraft along with the mainliners in many stations... and those Express aircraft aren't "owned," unless they are actually accounted for in those numbers despite not being owned... which would be hard to do considering some of those airlines get new regionals as often as I get new shoes.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 10):

I'd rather give up $180 from time to time and work for a company that offers job security, and....well...is still in business, rather than hoard my money and become a number on a long list of layoffs.

But that's just me.

I'd rather keep my money, and my job, hence why I don't work for an airline... but that's just me. If WN fooled you interns into thinking giving up your pittance for a day or two would be responsible for keeping the whole shebang afloat, they've got the exact kind of employees the want. Face it, they got billions in the bank, they could have just stopped expanding if they were in trouble.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2107 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 12):
If WN fooled you interns into thinking giving up your pittance for a day or two would be responsible for keeping the whole shebang afloat, they've got the exact kind of employees the want.

WN has never even suggested such a thing. Humor me and explain "what kind of employees they want". I'm sure it will be a fun read.  Wink




2H4





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User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5297 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

I remember reading in the Chicago Tribune an interview with an analyst. It might have been Mike Boyd or Ray Neidl. But, the view was that WN is facing some potential problems.

The contracts all come up for negotiation within the next 2 years, and the pilots start this year. Every union is looking for wage increases proportionate with WN's increases in profits.

WN's CEO has said that while unionized employees will be rewarded, they can't get the raises that they seem intent on getting.

So, either WN faces a serious potential for a strike at some point, or it starts to cave in the way UA caved in with the pilots in 2000. The latter will throw off the cost structure. The former risks alienating WN's employees and its passengers.


User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5582 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2092 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 12):
If WN fooled you interns into thinking giving up your pittance for a day or two would be responsible for keeping the whole shebang afloat, they've got the exact kind of employees the want.

But see, you missed the point.

This was not a request from management; it was a spontaneous and voluntary show of solidarity by the rank and file employees. The fact that they did this speaks volumes about the respect they have for their company, reflecting (in turn) the respect the company shows for its people.

===

I'd like to see a citeable source for the allegation above that WN has higher on-job injury rates. That is certainly inconsistent with what I have understood, but I am always ready to be proven wrong.

Warmest regards.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineDreamflight767 From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2092 times:
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This may be an incorrect statement, but WN only pays "top dollar" now that other airlines are experiencing cut backs.

User currently offlineWe're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 19
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2047 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 9):
I'd be dipped in fecal matter before I'd work off the clock for an entire day, but that's just me.

And you're exactly the type of employee Southwest doesn't want. If you don't get their philsophy yet, you probably never will.



Dear moderators: No.
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8508 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2036 times:

Quoting DALNeighbor (Reply 5):
The link to the article above says WN has 71 employees per aircraft and the industry average is 110.

That's largely because they don't fly long hauls to London or Singapore. That makes a difference. But WN employees are also more productive, as well.


User currently offlineSean-SAN- From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 771 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2031 times:

FYI WN pays ramp and csr employees the same or less than most airlines. For instance, WN starts rampers out at 8.75 while many airlines start in the $9 range (even ones like Skywest.)

Pilots do make more than most 737 pilot-peers, but that's only post-cutbacks and after their recent contract. Before that, a DL 737 captain was making around $50k++ more.


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2008 times:

Quoting We're Nuts (Reply 17):

And you're exactly the type of employee Southwest doesn't want. If you don't get their philsophy yet, you probably never will.

I'm heartbroken. There's nothing more I wanted to do than move to Dallas to work for WN corporate  sarcastic ... because I'm surely not 737 qualified nor will I ever be, and I can make a heck of alot more than someone kicking bags around, or passing out peanuts, no offense to anyone. But you know what, my company treats us employees right, we treat it right, and I'll still never be going in there for a day of no pay... and our profit margins are alot higher than WN (like I said, non-airline industry).

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 14):


The contracts all come up for negotiation within the next 2 years, and the pilots start this year. Every union is looking for wage increases proportionate with WN's increases in profits.

As is what typically happens with unions... and is typically what drags companies' profits the ground a few years later... leading to the cuts... which then makes the company profitable again.... and so the cycle continues.


User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2000 times:

It'll be an interesting study if/when WN feels pressure to the point where they have to ask for concessions...
I bet they'd get them.....employees would see it as investing in the company, and I doubt that you'd see mgmt award themselves $$$$$$ bonuses while asking for concessions. Of course, that would work ONCE if they didn't formulate some ROI plan for employees or if they abused the situation.

I find it amazing that people see WN as the whipping boy......all I see now is posts from WNers defending themselves.


User currently offlineHZ747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 1703 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2000 times:
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Quoting Dl757md (Reply 2):
Do you have a source for that info? Just what does prodcutivity mean anyway? Does WN use a cattle prod to cut costs and increase productivity? Thought I'd ask a Texan.

Very interesting question... I am not sure want it means for FAs, but for pilots WN was getting 12 extra hours in flying time per month, for approximately the same salary, according to a friend who was a financial planner for US Airways in Virginia. He pointed to WN's shorter segments generally speaking point-to-pont network which allowed this discrepancy.

He made the claim over a year ago, long before the merger announcement and was let go post merger.

The additional tidbit of information which was interesting was the cost per seat mile. For WN it was just over $0.06/seat mile and for US it was $0.098/seat mile. Thinking about the number of seat miles available and flown, it was very clear to see why WN was doing so well.



Keep on truckin'...
User currently offlineBigB From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 613 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1982 times:

Quoting Aogdesk (Reply 21):
I find it amazing that people see WN as the whipping boy......all I see now is posts from WNers defending themselves.

No offense but I see a lot of typical WN haters trying to talk WN down posting in this thread. If you be around threads awhile, you will know who is on what side.  Wink



ETSN Baber, USN
User currently offlineDALNeighbor From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1925 times:

Quoting Sean-SAN- (Reply 19):
Pilots do make more than most 737 pilot-peers, but that's only post-cutbacks and after their recent contract. Before that, a DL 737 captain was making around $50k++ more.

So do the pilots or other workers at other airlines ask for compensation closer to WN? Or do the workers at UA, AA, DL, B6, etc just accept the fact that they will make less as a way to make up for the higher non labor cost as compared to WN?



Wright Amendment = Federally Engineered AA Price Gouging
25 Radelow : It's the Wal Mart vs. Costco attitude. Wal Mart pays it's employees peanuts and has: - High turnover - Higher costs for loss prevention - Less product
26 OOer : You cant compare WN with anyone besides B6 and AirTran maybe. Why? Well how many 777, 767, A300, 757, and 738-800 does WN operate? None. Each one of
27 Ckfred : OOer: But it is fair to compare what WN pilots make to what AA 737-800 pilots make. I don't have the exact figures, but I do know that, comparing capt
28 Dl757md : You aren't the only one's who have done these types of things. Talk to me when you buy the company a new 737-700 voluntarily. Yes, but what percentag
29 2H4 : That's a good point...management certainly deserves credit. I think the two factors go hand-in-hand. I was referring specifically to the week after 9
30 Ntspelich : Yeah, that's why one of my Coworkers (a ramp supervisor) cleared over $100k last year. Yes, he worked some OT, but still that's not a pretty bad livi
31 RachelBDL : I'd say very very little. Coming from a small station, the only contracted people we use are the cleaners on RON aircraft, and local mechanics if we
32 SonOfACaptain : Actually, it doesn't. A LOT of things have happened since 2001. For instance... ... is not remotely true anymore. US pays more for fuel than employee
33 Wjcandee : This is something that WN management (at least used to) spend a lot of time thinking about: How to "push" the culture into the smaller stations and t
34 LTBEWR : Don't forget too, that often (as noted on this website) they may not always be the lowest fare between 2 points, sometimes some majors may be cheaper.
35 Supa7E7 : WN can have fewer employees because of their small network and low number of airports. WN does its thing, but to compare it to United or something ("m
36 DATAMINER : AAI has 64 employees per aircraft. But this exercise is pointless. Yes WN can maintain wages as they are, as long as they are content to make industry
37 Av8trxx : Some things never change! Over 10 years and counting. Same old crap. Most at that station couldn't stack Legos and think 30 bags belong at the back o
38 Icetitan447 : What does WN pay their CSR's? Just curious.
39 Tornado82 : I was going to invest about $1000 into WN listening to how everyone brags here on A.net, then started reading some financials more closely, and notic
40 Lat41 : Pay peanuts, get monkeys! Happy, well compensated workers will do a better more productive job. Seems to be working for WN!
41 DALNeighbor : It's my understanding that they top out over $24/hour.
42 Tornado82 : Assuming 40hr weeks, that's $50k/yr approximately. Not bad.
43 Post contains links DALNeighbor : In addition, the added flexibility of picking up shifts and working overtime shifts probably gives the workers earnings potential in excess of $75-80
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