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Is Seniority Killing The Airline Industry?  
User currently offlineDutchflyboi From Netherlands, joined Apr 2008, 333 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14354 times:

An article appeared online (USA Today's Today in the Sky), where an interesting point is raised:

'Employees should have the right to move within the industry should their carrier cease to exist. Seniority should not be a shield for some to hide behind. Rather it should promote stability for those experienced workers that choose to offer their services for hire in an open market."

It goes on by suggesting:
'it is high time that organized labor puts down its swords and constructs a national seniority list'

I think that there are plenty of pilots / flight attendants out there, if they could retain their seniority, would leave where they are and apply with other carriers if they could 'bridge' their seniority.

What does everyone think?
the link to the article is here:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...em.aspx?type=blog&ak=66385097.blog
and the link to the business week article is here:
http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyl...hives/2009/05/is_seniority_ki.html

219 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineManu From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 406 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14320 times:

That's how it works on the open market for jobs. Isn't it the individual company that puts forward the seniority list, along with the union? They're basically forcing people to stick with their current company. Sort of the concept of the golden handcuffs in the IT field before the bust earlier this decade. Move, and your stock options are worthless...

User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14276 times:

There are some that argue that airlines within the same union (ex all ALPA airlines or all Teamster airlines) should have and honor a national or union wide seniority list. The idea was widely scoffed at until furloughs started taking their toll, then it all of a sudden didn't look so bad. It was a way to retain the impartiality of the senoirity system while giving members more mobility. I sort of doubt it will happen any time soon, but it is an interesting idea to consider.


Proud OOTSK member
User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14268 times:

I've suggested a national seniority list many times, as it would solve a lot of problems in the industry. I also think it would improve quality-- a guy with 10 years experience at DH is probably a better CRJ pilot than a guy with 2 years experience at OO, but if OO hires the ex-DH guy, they pay their guy more.

I'm not sure it's fair to suggest that "organized labor" opposes a national seniority list. Rather, the problem is the variety of unions that represent workgroups at different airlines. Why should ALPA help APA guys (or worse, G7 guys) out? If the airline industry had a UAW-type union situation, where one union represented pilots and f/as at all unionized carriers, I suspect that labor wouldn't oppose a national seniority list.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10343 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14220 times:

So, what you're basically suggesting is that the workers are actually working for the union and not the company??


Or maybe we could have the old Soviet system, where the workers all worked for the government and all businesses are nationalized.  

To me, it hardly seems fair if someone is working for another company, is laid off or fired or whatever and could come into another company and bump out or down those employees that are already working there. Seems it would eliminate any employee loyalty you might have. You'd have a workforce of mercinaries, just looking for the buck and, honestly, wouldn't have much loyalty to the customers, either.

You could end up with a system where someone is laid off at a small carrier, with 20 years and bumps someone off at a larger carrier with only 10 years, but in reality, much more actual experience with a large carrier.







[Edited 2009-05-05 13:42:28]

[Edited 2009-05-05 13:46:49]


"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineDutchflyboi From Netherlands, joined Apr 2008, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14167 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 4):
Seems it would eliminate any employee loyalty you might have.

Maybe, or you could create happier employees, who would not stay employed somewhere, where they don't want to be. There are lots of unhappy employees at the airlines but are not leaving due to the fact that they can't /won't give up their seniority or pay. Personally I would not want to be somewhere if I am not happy there, but a there is a fair amount of unhappy people working at airlines, that would leave, if they could bring their seniority (even if it was just for pay purposes), like you have in other fields where you get paid for your experience and qualities that you have.


User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14162 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 4):
To me, it hardly seems fair if someone is working for another company, is laid off or fired or whatever and could come into another company and bump out or down those employees that are already working there.

But isn't it equally unfair that when AA hires a guy with 2 years at CO and a guy with 20 years at CO, they get the same pay?

One of the problems here is that different pilots who have, say, 10 years flying experience may not necessarily get paid the same amount if they are flying different equipment. If all 15-year pilots got paid the same, the "bumping" wouldn't matter so much. I don't think anyone is suggesting that airlines should fire their own less experienced pilots to hire more experienced OAL pilots, and I don't know why airlines would do that. It's not in their interest to do that.

Quoting Mayor (Reply 4):
You'd have a workforce of mercinaries, just looking for the buck and, honestly, wouldn't have much loyalty to the customers, either.

I'm studying to work in an industry that has a de facto national seniority list (attorneys who change firms are certainly paid based on their experience), and I don't think this leads to a mercenary attitude. Can you point to some industries where this is a problem?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineCV880 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1124 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14137 times:



Quoting Dutchflyboi (Thread starter):
'Employees should have the right to move within the industry should their carrier cease to exist. Seniority should not be a shield for some to hide behind. Rather it should promote stability for those experienced workers that choose to offer their services for hire in an open market."

So the employees of a 'failed' carrier (EA) should have the right to bump employees at DL with lesser seniority? Or auto workers at a failed company should be able to bump those at a competitor?

So much for loyalty.


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14051 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 4):
To me, it hardly seems fair if someone is working for another company, is laid off or fired or whatever and could come into another company and bump out or down those employees that are already working there. Seems it would eliminate any employee loyalty you might have. You'd have a workforce of mercinaries, just looking for the buck and, honestly, wouldn't have much loyalty to the customers, either.

You could end up with a system where someone is laid off at a small carrier, with 20 years and bumps someone off at a larger carrier with only 10 years, but in reality, much more actual experience with a large carrier.

Agree 100%


This is a bad idea full stop.

Here's a hypothetical scenario:

John Smith works for Airline A. He's been a ramper for them for 2 years. He works his ass off to provide good ground handling service to the customers and goes the extra mile to keep the flights he's working on-time.

Joe Blow works for Airline B. He's been there for 5 years as a ramper. He's a lazy ass who just does enough work to not get in trouble. He doesn't give a rats ass about the customer and couldn't care less if his flights go out late. He decides he doesn't like Airline B anymore and wants to move to Airline A. Because of a national seniority John Smith is bumped out of his job by Joe Blow even though John Smith totally out performs Joe Blow hands down.

This scenario could happen with F/A's and Front Line staff as well.

The concept of seniority based privelages is horseshit to begin with.

You want that sweet 10am-6pm shift with weekends off? Earn it.



Word
User currently offlineToTheStars From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 264 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14014 times:

Anyway...that is a beautiful picture that accompanies the article.


TWA-Airline To the Stars
User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14013 times:



Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 9):
Because of a national seniority John Smith is bumped out of his job by Joe Blow even though John Smith totally out performs Joe Blow hands down.

Has anyone suggested bumping?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10343 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 13987 times:



Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 9):
The concept of seniority based privelages is horseshit to begin with.

I agreed with you until you said that. What's wrong with seniority within your company? How else is someone to be rewarded with vacations or shifts other than with seniority?

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 9):
You want that sweet 10am-6pm shift with weekends off? Earn it.

And, how, pray tell, is that accomplished? Seems like in that case, seniority IS the fairest way instead of people sucking up to management to get better shifts.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineDutchflyboi From Netherlands, joined Apr 2008, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13971 times:



Quoting CV880 (Reply 7):
So the employees of a 'failed' carrier (EA) should have the right to bump employees at DL with lesser seniority? Or auto workers at a failed company should be able to bump those at a competitor?

Absolutely not. The article doesn't talk about people being able to bump someone out of a job, the article suggests that the new hire at the new airline would carry their seniority with them. For pay and schedule purposes.


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13946 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 12):
And, how, pray tell, is that accomplished? Seems like in that case, seniority IS the fairest way instead of people sucking up to management to get better shifts.

No it's not the fairest way. Perhaps a mix of seniority and performance reviews would be the fairest way.

I've seen many a great employee get shafted for a good shift or vacation time by a bad employee just because he was senior. It's especially bad if the difference in time worked with the companies aren't much. Imagine being denied the vacation time you need by somebody who accomplishes half of what you do in a day simply because they were hired a month before you.



Word
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10343 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13946 times:



Quoting Dutchflyboi (Reply 13):
Quoting CV880 (Reply 7):
So the employees of a 'failed' carrier (EA) should have the right to bump employees at DL with lesser seniority? Or auto workers at a failed company should be able to bump those at a competitor?


Absolutely not. The article doesn't talk about people being able to bump someone out of a job, the article suggests that the new hire at the new airline would carry their seniority with them. For pay and schedule purposes.

Isn't that the same thing? Otherwise, what use would their seniority be when it comes to schedules except to displace someone else out of their shift?



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13912 times:



Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 14):
No it's not the fairest way. Perhaps a mix of seniority and performance reviews would be the fairest way.

How easy is that to accomplish in the airline industry? This isn't a factory, where we can say that X made 300 widgets in his shift and Y made 400 widgets. I wonder if the added cost of evaluation is a good use of resources.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineDutchflyboi From Netherlands, joined Apr 2008, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13889 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 15):
Isn't that the same thing? Otherwise, what use would their seniority be when it comes to schedules except to displace someone else out of their shift?

When you used the word bump, I read it as being able to bump someone out of their job (that they would displace someone). That should not be the case.


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 17, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13871 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
How easy is that to accomplish in the airline industry? This isn't a factory, where we can say that X made 300 widgets in his shift and Y made 400 widgets. I wonder if the added cost of evaluation is a good use of resources

My second job is a part-time ramp gig for a non-unionized ground handling company.

They do performance reviews every 3 months. They look at how many times you're late, your willingness to work (ie: do they have to pull your teeth to get you out to the flight). Your willingness to help other crews. Do you perform your job functions safely? Do you follow procedures properly? When you are working a flight are you performing your tasks expeditiously or do you just sonter around? etc. etc.

There's many things that can be looked at.



Word
User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 18, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13847 times:



Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 18):
There's many things that can be looked at.

Everything you mentioned works well to separate the people who are bad at the job (or have a bad attitude) from those who are mediocre and better.

With respect to pilots at least, though, I'm not sure that the metrics you suggest will ensnare enough pilots that we can create a meaningful scale. The vast majority of pilots fly the routes they are assigned and complete the flights safely.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 19, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13812 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
With respect to pilots at least, though, I'm not sure that the metrics you suggest will ensnare enough pilots that we can create a meaningful scale. The vast majority of pilots fly the routes they are assigned and complete the flights safely.

Yeah that is true. Pilots are a whole different animal. There's no room for poor performance in the first place so performance reviews would be impossible.

I wasn't thinking about pilots while writing my posts. Mostly ground staff.



Word
User currently offlineJbernie From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13755 times:

not knowing all of the ins and outs of the aviation industry & unions, but would it be possible / fair / reasonable that when changing airlines etc you keep the years served, get the equivalent pay at the new company but seniority wise you would slot in below all other employees with the same level.

So Joe Smith with 20 years moves from A to B, keeps the 20 years, gets the 20 year pay but is the lowest in seniority of all employees with 20 years?

Or as a variation, you can move but would lose only 1 or 2 years of seniority at the new company?

Though I wonder, with this seniority in place, do the airlines not poach the top union employees from other airlines? Surely there would be no incentive to switch between companies if you are a top employee?


User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13755 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):
But isn't it equally unfair that when AA hires a guy with 2 years at CO and a guy with 20 years at CO, they get the same pay?

Exactly. The whole concept senoirty-based benefits is IMHO horrible-- but I can understand it within an employer, especially if you have a large group with essentially the same qualifications.

The senority system essentially rewards loyalty to an employer, not qualifications, work ethic, etc. (I'm certainly not saying that the majority of people with high senority are lazy or unqualified, mind you). What advantage is it to the employer to reward someone with 20 years at their competitor?

Quoting Mayor (Reply 12):
I agreed with you until you said that. What's wrong with seniority within your company? How else is someone to be rewarded with vacations or shifts other than with seniority?

Some other measure of qualifications. In the case of airline pilots it could, for example, be time logged on transport category aircraft -- this information already logged, right? (I've read NTSB reports referencing the number of hours the PIC/SIC had), amount quality of training, etc.

Vacation time could be tied to the same qualifications or years of service with the same employer; allocation of vacations could be first come first served (i.e. you get your vacation on the calendar first, those dates are yours).

My compensation at my current employer has nothing to do with my senority, and everything to do with the my value to the orginization and the qualifications I hold. It works well. I am not underpaid, and can book vacation more or less at whim, as long as I don't have any prior obligations.

I worked for a heavily unionized employer (a state university) and the union/senoirty system is what ultimately drove me from it -- the most senior person in the department was making an ungodly amount of money, didn't have any skills to suit the position he was in, was lazy, mistake prone and generally useless, but the union wouldn't let administration touch him.

Meanwhile I was perpetually stuck at the top step of my pay grade and despite my value to the orginization (I booked real cost savings, good PR, and general innovation) I couldn't be paid what I was worth... so I left.



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3204 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13705 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 4):
To me, it hardly seems fair if someone is working for another company, is laid off or fired or whatever and could come into another company and bump out or down those employees that are already working there.

True it doesn't but it represents another major problem that leads to substandard workplaces...i'll explain in just a second.

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 9):
Joe Blow works for Airline B. He's been there for 5 years as a ramper. He's a lazy ass who just does enough work to not get in trouble. He doesn't give a rats ass about the customer and couldn't care less if his flights go out late. He decides he doesn't like Airline B anymore and wants to move to Airline A. Because of a national seniority John Smith is bumped out of his job by Joe Blow even though John Smith totally out performs Joe Blow hands down.

Very very good point!
Unfortunately the very same point argues against seniority all together. Why? It ignores merit and purely looks at time served.

Okay so here is the problem with seniority at in Industry level. Remember if the INDUSTRY is to be healthy we need to look at it at an industry level. Senionrity distorts the market for labour. Basically you start at one carrier and plan on staying there as long as you want to work in the industry. The problem with this is in the process, merit, effort and ability at basically completely ignored. Now while a whole stack of staff memebers may think "this protects my job, time served etc" they're forgetting it also lets BAD EMPLOYERS and BAD MANAGEMENT force good staff to "put up and shut up". Why? In other industries, employers compete for the best talent. Let's look at the market for Lawyers or say Architects or even say a Chef for just a second.

Those firms who are the best run will tend to attract the better people. This in turn will lead to better company outcomes, which in general is a key componenent of a more successful firm. Those who are badly run, those who are short sighted etc will loose good people to their more successful counterparts. In small firms this can be apparent straight away but over time even in very large organsations, you'll see the difference. Look at some IT companies.... some are known as "the place" to work if you're bright and hard working. Others are rather mediocre at best.

What the seniority system does, in a misguided atttempt to protect labour's rights, is remove the right of staff to vote with their feet in regards to the competency of their company. These days its completely common for plenty of professionals to change companies every few years. With this comes the ability to move up the ladder, to renegotiate wages (I'm more experienced now and therefore am worth more) and to go somwhere they both like and see opportunity. It also gives them the ability to have a vote of no confidence in a company that doesn't see their talent, or is short sighted in general. Think frank lorenzo. Think about his 1980s antics...and if he thought he was going to loose 40% of his staff to American(and others) over the 4 months do you think he would have ever attempted half of the moves he did? Of course not. It would have been suicide in the process. And if he pushed on anyway then that suicide is absolutely what should happen to the company because crazy people like that damage the hard work at places who do the right thing. They need to remove themselves from the market place. But talented staff shouldn't have to wait to this point to leave. As for the bad staff... its an unfortunate fact of life but maybe they should consider doing something else they're better suited to with their lives.

Basically the whole system stuffs up the idea of supply and demand. It's artificially restricting the supply of labour. What this in turn does is restrict the way the market would then evolve.


User currently offlineSlimShady From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 194 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13686 times:

Question: Seniority? Hell, Unions have been working this way for 50 years, why should they change???

Answer: well, ummmmm, because we have always done it this way....

Attention people in Unions and Management: this aint the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, or 80's anymore.

Seniority shouldnt = pay or stature. On the job performance should. Long story short... If you dont perform, you are out, just like the rest of the friggin world. A young energetic person with a positive attidue and talent with 3-5 years who provides value should be rewarded more than a lazy, grumpy 30 year vetran who does barely enough to stay out of trouble. Often times, the 30 year grump gets to keep his job while the young, energetic and positive guy gets laid off. Now tell me how that is good for a company????

As an employee, you should consistently provide value. I know there are many good senior employees , but the lazy, grumpy, crotchety FA's and Pilots and mechanics who are bad performers hide behind some stupid union clause, and therefore cant be fired when they should be for bad performance, when in other industries, they would be shown the door pretty quick..

One of the reasons most airline people dont leave is because they know they will be sent to the bottom of a seniority list at another company. This, in my opinion, is why so many people feel "trapped" in thier job. People always complain of low morale, etc when it comes to labor groups, but seems like union employees kind of indrectly fall into thier own trap. The old saying, "if you are that unhappy, just leave" takes on a whole new meaning, because if you leave, you will be working midnights in the toilet shop or something... If you are a pilot or FA, you get stuck on the On-Call shift on midnights flying the redeye.

The agreements between Unions and Management over the years are why airline's cost structure are soooo friggin high.

Bottom line, I hope unions are losing thier foothold in the airline world and are being knudged out. Maintenance wise, modern times are catching up because domestic and international MRO's are slowly knudging out the highly paid 40 year union mechanic who's first loyalty is to the Union, then to the airline. Good riddance.

Dear legacy airlines Unions and Managment: The times have changed. Please catch up with with the rest of the industries in the USA, or suffer the same fate as the Big 3.

I am anti union, cant you tell? It isnt the unions fault, managements are just as much to blame for the agreements. It takes two to tango you know...


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3589 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13633 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):
But isn't it equally unfair that when AA hires a guy with 2 years at CO and a guy with 20 years at CO, they get the same pay?

It has been the unions that have made these rules. Seniority should mean nothing, it should be experience and productivity.

Quoting SlimShady (Reply 24):

 checkmark 

Well stated. The unions are much like the government, they make rules with the best of intentions, they don't like the net results, so instead of scrapping the whole premise that screwed things up, they try to tweak it around the corners.


25 Transpac787 : How do you, pray tell, propose that this is objectively quantified?? I'm especially interested to know how you suggest a pilot's on the job performan
26 Transpac787 : Also, before everyone goes shooting their mouth off on irrelevant union tirades (far too late though, I'm afraid), please know that at non-union carri
27 Brilondon : Exactly. No. To use your own example, employee A who has 20 years seniority and an employee with 2 years seniority would most likely be after complet
28 Stratosphere : I take it from that statement that you work for an MRO. Well I have been a member in 2 unions and I can tell you I never had loyalty to the union ove
29 Lufthansa : as I said before, it increases the company's bargining power. That doesn't make it good for the industry as a whole. Most companies...if you asked th
30 RFields5421 : Those are nice thoughts and concepts, but unfortunately unworkable in a large system. There is a system proven to be more unproductive than the senio
31 Brilondon : Not crashing....
32 Ikramerica : There should be no such thing as "20 year pay" unless anyone can prove that an employee with 20 years experience is more valuable than one with 10. T
33 Mariner : Which leads you to some sweeping generalizations. Of the five profitable US airlines this past quarter, three are unionized. Southwest - which has be
34 VHSMM : I find it hard to believe that people can try to defend any seniority-based promotion or pay system. Good performance should be rewarded, at all level
35 ADent : If the unions are going to abolish company based seniority the airlines should consider switching to a a contractor (instead of employee) based system
36 413x3 : brilliant. just who I want in control of a 800k lbs flying missile. Some 100hr trust fund baby
37 Jhooper : We've beat this dead horse many times over. First of all, why would an airline hire someone with 20 years of experience (at 20-year pay) when they cou
38 Dispatchguy : Never gonna happen - seniority rules all in this industry, for better or worse. If you dont like it - move on to something else. If I work for 4 years
39 CRJ200FAGuy : Passengers could rate the flight. How was the landing? Did the pilot talk too much on the pa? Could you understand him when he did talk?
40 HAL : I've said it before - the seniority list for pilots is all about safety! Yes, SAFETY! Your safety as a member of the flying public. Several posters he
41 Cubsrule : Wrong. It's correct that they are DOING completely different jobs. If they're pilots, the 20 year guy is probably a captain (on widebodies?), and the
42 Silentbob : I hope you aren't implying that just because someone hasn't been fired that they've actually done something to earn the benefits granted by union sen
43 Flighty : Instead of seniority, why don't we hand out jobs based on political affiliation? Or race? Or physical strength? Why seniority? For overall society thi
44 HAL : And just a word to the anti-union people here: two of the most successful airlines in the US are heavily unionized, Southwest and Hawaiian. In fact, S
45 MD11Engineer : Don't forget that seniority was introduced first by the company management to tie staff to the airline, so that they would have to start all over aga
46 CB97 : Seniority is the only unbiased way of determining who gets what, period. If you go to a performance based review for shift bids or pay incentives, the
47 NorthstarBoy : Those who pillary people with no desire to constantly move up should consider that there are large numbers of people in the workforce who A: just want
48 Cospn : 413x3 " brilliant. just who I want in control of a 800k lbs flying missile. Some 100hr trust fund baby " Well said, Lets get rid of all the airline wo
49 AirTran717 : Training from one company to another varies with equipment type, obviously. The FAA sees to it that training and regs are enforced and monitored. But
50 Hiflyer : Of course there is no reason at all to have unions in the airlines industry....unions are the direct response to poor management...and we all know the
51 Airproxx : Well that's actually a kind of "bumping"!
52 TN486 : Gentleman, here is my 2 cents worth. To get anywhere in this world, one has to earn it, one needs to keep learning, one needs to stay on top of ones g
53 Mayor : Well, remember that we're not just talking about pilots, here. In my own, non-union, experience at DL, seniority had nothing to do with picking holid
54 Cubsrule : ...and, again, no one is suggesting that it should be (at least not in this thread). Why don't non-union airlines do it?
55 Mayor : Well, unless I completely misread this thread, there were several that were advocating just that.....industrywide seniority.
56 Cubsrule : Industrywide seniority doesn't mean bumping...
57 Mayor : Maybe not in the strictest sense of the word, but it does amount to the same thing. Employee A at an airline may have 15 years with the company and e
58 Cubsrule : I can certainly see the merits of an industrywide seniority list for pay only. The fact that B has 20 years at another company doesn't have to affect
59 Mayor : It may not be bumping someone out of a job, but it would certainly affect that person's pay and vacation at work. What employees could be less happy
60 FlyDeltaJets87 : That doesn't create happier employees - it creates employees who will demand more - which I'm not saying is necessarily a bad thing, just stating the
61 Dutchflyboi : Seniority is used at most US airlines that I can think off, unionized or not. That how people get their schedules, pay, vacations.
62 Cubsrule : Why is ZERO loyalty bad? Certainly, we don't see a pattern, in this country anyway, of great success in heavily-unionized industries and horrendous f
63 Eghansen : It isn't just airlines. In the US, most municipal organizations (police departments, fire departments, school districts, etc.) use seniority. I work
64 Transpac787 : No motivation to work. The employees would be completely apathetic if their airline lived or died, it would then just all be about the paycheck. To h
65 Pegasus1 : Those who don't want to move on are not necessarily lacking in motivation or costing a company its profits. Many people continue to do a particular j
66 Cubsrule : Isn't the paycheck the motivation to work? Can you point to some industries with portable seniority where everyone slacks off?
67 Goaliemn : Just like this. I work in IT. I've been low man on the totem pole, as far as seniority, but I had the highest pay. My pay was based on my experience,
68 Transpac787 : Could you possibly be any more myopic?? What about days worked, shifts, vacation, days off, etc. All of these things are seniority-based. If seniorit
69 Cubsrule : Correct, and they will for the foreseeable future. But that doesn't change with a nationwide seniority system. When AA hires you, they don't tell you
70 RFields5421 : My father was a welder for International Paper for 34 years. Union and seniority system. For five years before that he struggled trying to help his s
71 Transpac787 : However, there is one thing that is absolutely certain and that you do know for sure: the only place to go is up. So if you remain loyal to your comp
72 Cubsrule : The fact that people can be hired in above you isn't what affects motivation, though. The factor affecting motivation is the fact that people ARE hir
73 Jbernie : Given the seniority structure, do any airlines actually try to poach senior (unionized) staff from another airline or does that never happen? Surely (
74 AuroraLives : I beg to differ..... As an IT contract worker, it could be said I have no company loyalty at all. However, I care deeply about the success of my clie
75 Post contains links Aviateur : I wrote a similar, if longer and more detailed story on airline seniority a few weeks ago. From everything to nothing. The seniority system blues ...
76 Flighty : I totally disagree. Race based employment selection (such as promoting whites over blacks) is completely unbiased and predictable. That does not mean
77 Brilondon : Tee Hee You did not say this. You did not differentiate between the two employees. To answer your question about it making sense, yes it makes perfec
78 Cubsrule : I'm not sure what was unclear about "a guy with 2 years at CO and a guy with 20 years at CO." Clearly, they are different. You still don't understand
79 Mayor : Under the current system, they will, indeed. They both start at the bottom. Under a nationwide seniority system, they would slot in, wherever their s
80 Sbworcs : I can only give an idea from my employment based on non airline business. Peoples jobs fall within pay bands with increments within those bands. An ad
81 T5towbar : This is the airline business. You know what you are getting into when you took the job. This is a seniority based job based on your hire date. Nothing
82 Dutchflyboi : true, but under a nationwide system, if they move, they would get the same benefit.
83 Mayor : So you'd have a nomadic working group, constantly on the move, just to try and move up the seniority list.
84 StuckInCA : But that's how it works in most industries and most professions. It means that you have to work hard to be a good employee and not rely on your senio
85 Mayor : But, under the system proposed on here, that wouldn't make any difference. No matter how good a worker you were, someone could still come in an bump
86 Nwaesc : That seems like a pretty accurate assessment to me...
87 Pegasus1 :
88 Transpac787 : Transpac787 is 22 and feels that company seniority is fair and the proper way to do it He also works in the industry, unlike what I'd guess to be abo
89 Lufthansa : This view is only seeing half the picture. What you're doing is saying the incumbent system works best this way. But what you and half the others are
90 Transpac787 : You say we are missing the point and then you make a half-cocked argument like this. Talk about an epic swing & miss.... Please, Lufthansa, please...
91 Cubsrule : Would you object to paying based on "nationwide seniority" but scheduling/slotting based on "company seniority?" Seems like that might be a reasonabl
92 Transpac787 : Total time is completely unrepresentative of the larger picture of a pilot's experience. Who's to say that a FLAP (I'll be impressed if anyone knows
93 Brilondon : I call that loyalty to your clients and if your clients are not sucessful then you would run out of work. I see where you are coming from now, if two
94 Lufthansa : Easy. Every pilot has a log book for a start! You're confusing a company structure for dismissing experience. These things are two different issues.
95 FlyDeltaJets87 : If an employee leaves Airline A to go to Airline B, Airline B owes them nothing to start. They're only worth what Airline B says they're worth. If th
96 Transpac787 : I think you're confusing absolutely everything. You are almost aruging *for* seniority now, saying the more experienced crews should fly the larger a
97 Lufthansa : No transpac you haven't. Because many of those same things are considered experience. EVERY INDUSTRY looks at experience. It absolutely counts for ev
98 LoveTheSkies : I have been working as a F/A for almost 20 years and while serving a drink or meal has not changed much, it’s my experience of dealing with extraord
99 JOEYCAPPS : Skipping a majority of the posts above, I have to say... I was under the misconception that working towards seniority (and the privilages that come al
100 Lufthansa : So you really think you do a better job? You really think you consistantly deliver a higher standard of service and that people that are 'below' you
101 Beeweel15 : One thing that I don't like is the fact that companies do not recognize employees seniority. For example there is a ground handling company at JFK tha
102 Nwaesc : Amen! Wow, that statement should garner a few comments... Their primary role is one of safety, but you already knew that, right? Lastly, if working i
103 Dutchflyboi : True, we are there for the safety of the people on board, but let's get real here for a second... the main part of our job is service. Yes, I know, w
104 Lufthansa : Primary role maybe... but not their only role. If you really believe that then why are intercontinental flights staffed with more FA's then neede for
105 Transpac787 : Great. Why don't we just make the entire economy a centrally-planned communist one while we're at it.... You're talking about having the payscales of
106 RFields5421 : Honda has a more heavily invested, stronger seniority system than the airlines - in their industrial manufacturing divisions. Apple grew into somethi
107 RFields5421 : And before you ask, there have been several dozen airlines world wide which has started with and tried non-seniority systems in the past 30-40 years.
108 ItalianFlyer : This article is p@ssing allot of people off and has inflamed plenty of heated discussions in flight ops, galleys and break rooms. Personally, I think
109 FlyDeltaJets87 : The US Military has, generally speaking, done just fine with a merit based system for promotion. As it should be - within that company. Proving yours
110 T5towbar : That's true......... It's human nature. They have. But that's very different as you have a lot more career tracks amongst the enlisted and officer co
111 Mayor : I believe you're the exception to the rule. Ah, but you're not going to change human nature and that is, if you are to remain loyal and work hard for
112 Cubsrule : How is that done for pilots? No airline that I'm aware of can pay some pilots more than others simply because they feel that some are more qualified.
113 Mayor : Maybe this thread should be split into two different subjects.......one that applies to pilots, as seniority affects so many more things with them....
114 Cubsrule : Mayor, as someone who knows something about the topic, how much do you feel like seniority is representative of quality of work for non-pilot workgro
115 LoveTheSkies : I'm not sure how this sentence is supposed to end, but you may want to reread my post. I said that my experience of dealing with extraordinary circum
116 CO767FA : Why do I get the sense from your post that on the surface this would apply and underneath age, weight and looks would be a bigger factor in the decis
117 Mayor : It depends on your point of view. In my own experience, seniority=experience. Now, those lower down on the list may not alway see it, as they are alw
118 FlyDeltaJets87 : Neither system is perfect and both have their pros and cons. Like I said, on the enlisted side in the Air Force, promotions are weighted based on job
119 Dutchflyboi : Interesting statement you make. What do you mean by that? If I with 23 year of seniority can work a 3 day trip worth 30hrs, instead of a 3 day trip w
120 Cubsrule : Yes, I think that's fairly common, and I should have been clear-- military service is (obviously) quantifiable and can be (and, as you point out, is)
121 MaverickM11 : Advancement based on anything other than merit hurts the employer and the employee. Period.
122 Transpac787 : Okay we'll all just take your word for it. I guess you fail to realize how companies even without unions choose the seniority system on their own. I
123 Mayor : I can't speak for F/A's or pilots for that matter. Sorry I didn't make myself clear (I thought I did) that my experience was in cargo and ramp. I'm t
124 MaverickM11 : Such as? How did that seniority work out for the TW flight attendants?
125 Lowrider : I gotta throw the flag on this one. I have never heard of any airline giving additional seniority due to military service. Everyone comes in on the b
126 Mayor : The only way the amount of military hours would help them, is to get hired and that's about it. DL, in the non-union departments, has used the senior
127 Post contains images Dutchflyboi : Hmm, well Delta's Flight Attendants use a seniority system and don't have a union (the NW counterparts do however) guess Mayor beat me to this one [E
128 MaverickM11 : Yeah, if they decided to change to a merit based system they'd have a union faster than you can blink. Regardless, you still have the oldest flight a
129 Dutchflyboi : I assume you mean the most senior ones. There are plenty of flight attendants that are very junior who are older
130 FlyDeltaJets87 : Well our neighbor joined AA just before 9/11 but somehow has managed to avoid all the cuts immediately following 9/11 so something was saving his ass
131 Mayor : I sincerely doubt if AA's pilots' union (not ALPA) would put up with something like that.
132 Lowrider : I can think of a few circumstances that could have lead to this. First, what is "just before"? If it was a year or so, he could have had hundreds of
133 Transpac787 : Also, as was mentioned originally, the routes to the Caribbean are actually remarkably junior as the MIA-base as a whole is extremely junior bid by c
134 Stratosphere : FedEx uses a seniority system and we are non-union also
135 Nwaesc : Don;t put words in my mouth. I never said it was their "only role." I'm refuting your assertion that they're merely the hired help. Yes, safety is th
136 RFields5421 : The US Military is an ultimate seniority systems, at least for the 20 years I was in and the 16 years since I've been retired and working with the Na
137 RFields5421 : Honda, Toyota, Sony, JVC, Panisonic,..... I seem to remember some pilots discussing this back about 1973. It was when the airlines were first beginni
138 FlyDeltaJets87 : I believe he retired sometime in 2000 but I know he flew 747s with Atlas for a short time before transfering to AA. My guess is around late 2000/earl
139 RFields5421 : A valid point. One thing people tend to forget is that while a pilot's skill level and training requirements would be a white collar position in the
140 Bucky707 : I was going to say are you kidding me, but RFields covers it pretty well. Promotions in the military, for officers at least, are a joke. Much more ba
141 Cubsrule : Why is that? Unions? It has never made much sense to me.
142 Lowrider : That time frame spans about 500 seniority numbers or more. Also I would need to find out exactly what American's policy was at the time regarding ins
143 Ikramerica : I don't agree, though I guess because it's "shift work" it might be. Then again, there are plenty of white collar jobs that are hourly in various for
144 Cubsrule : That's the puzzle to me, and I think this is closest to the truth. But why do pilots get base salary + overtime? (FWIW, up until very recently, we co
145 Mayor : Well, lets just kill off those of us that have "slowed down" because we "can". That should solve the problem for all you young 'uns. Remember the mov
146 RFields5421 : Airline jobs, pilots, FA, Maintenance, Dispatchers, Service Staff are all the "production line" workers in an airline. A white collar worker is a lev
147 Lowrider : Soylent Green Company will now provide the pax and crew meals?
148 Pellegrine : Does a tech company pay an experienced software engineer from another company they're trying to court the same as a greenie just out of school? I thin
149 Dutchflyboi : It seems you have no clue what a white-collar or a blue-collar worker is. Here is the Wikipedia entry for you: 'A blue-collar worker is a member of t
150 RFields5421 : Actually it has everything to do with this topic. The seniority system applies not only to pilots, but also to all the other groups of an airline. Wh
151 MaverickM11 : Doing what? Yeah and what did I say earlier if they tried to change from seniority to merit?
152 MaverickM11 : Redacted Doing what?
153 Mayor : So, in my 33+ years at DL, I never performed the best that I could and gave the best service I could because of my seniority? Are you kidding me? Thi
154 Dutchflyboi : Thank you, same here, I guess 23 years at CO makes me lazy
155 MaverickM11 : It's human nature and basic psychology. Change the risk/reward and you change the behavior.
156 Cubsrule : It doesn't follow that pilots and other workgroups must use seniority in the same way. It may be that seniority makes sense for, for instance, ramp w
157 NWAESC : Wow! Really? Aren't almost all of them (at commercial carriers, anyway) paid by the flight hour?
158 Cubsrule : In theory they are, but the the guarantee basically functions as a base salary, so we can think of it as a salary plus overtime too.
159 AirTran717 : If you're number 40,000 on the list and another 1000 crew members is brought online every month, industry wide... Would you not be ahead of all those
160 Nwaesc : I don't speak for him, but I think in Mayor's example, he was describing a scenario of people with more seniority in other companies using their port
161 AirTran717 : That's generally how it already works, within the current structure of company seniority... a 5 year emp gets more than a 4 year, etc... most airline
162 AirTran717 : Right, but the example is flawed. Given the fact that dozens of newhires come on every month at ALL companies... you'd never be stuck at the bottom,
163 Mayor : But were NOT talking about seniority WITHIN the company. The original premise was either a national seniority list, where your seniority was portable
164 HAL : Not if your company is a very desireable place to work. For instance, at Hawaiian we only have 400 pilots, but had over 10,000 resumes sent in the la
165 MaverickM11 : How do you get that from rewarding people based on merit? Every industry does merit based promotion in some way, and there are obviously people over
166 Nwaesc : Sure, if they "only" hired off the street, and not from other companies. On top of that, unless either A) The number of new hires outweighed "transfe
167 Cubsrule : It's possible, but OTOH they'd have to pay those folks more. Today, they hire the most experienced because they get that experience for free.
168 LoveTheSkies : Don't I have more to risk (my 20 years seniority) than say a new hire? That would mean I'm more motivated not less.
169 Flighty : Yes, unions. If a nonunion company (or a private corporation seeking Gulfstream pilots) is looking for a mainline captain with over say 7,000 hours,
170 Cubsrule : That sort of puts the talent drain that people complain about into perspective. What's the incentive to stay with the airlines?
171 Mayor : I'm just basing it on what you said.....that the older, slower, higher seniority people are less productive, hence, they probably shouldn't be workin
172 MaverickM11 : That is absolutely not what I said. You clearly aren't reading things I wrote because there's no way you can get that out of what I said. You're equa
173 Mayor : My apologies.....mostly that should have been directed at this comment by Ikramerica Again, sorry.
174 Dutchflyboi : Well in general a higher seniority does mean more experience. They have been longer on the job, although a junior person can have a lot of experience
175 AirTran717 : Come on folks... As usual, these threads turn from academic discussions to personal points to be made and forced. I"m entitled to my opinion just as
176 Nwaesc : Who said you weren't? So when someone debunks your theory it is "whiny and personal." Ok, got it... Tell you what, how about explaining why the point
177 Mayor : Perhaps if you would quit confusing seniority within the company with what this thread is about, e.g. "national seniority" or "no seniority" maybe yo
178 AirTran717 : I'm not confusing anything with anything else. The same scenario applies in either case. This is really too simple to keep going around in circles. W
179 Mayor : See, this is the difference......I understand about seniority lists merging when companies merge.....I've been involved in three of them.......what i
180 AirframeAS : This is a perfect example. This is a bad, bad, bad idea to have a national seniority list. Everyone should be starting at the bottom like everyone el
181 AirframeAS : Lets not call them that. That is not appropropriate, very disrespectful and not a very nice thing to say. You can blame 100% AMFA for that all you wa
182 Cubsrule : Admittedly, it wasn't real clear, but that comment was actually about peer review for pilots, not about seniority.
183 Jbernie : But in turn if YOU go to a different airline you would return the favor and knock everyone with an original hire date after yours down one ranking. I
184 AirTran717 : No sir. I'm not confused in the least. If you understand one, you understand the other. National or industry-wide just means that this will all happe
185 AirTran717 : And one more thought.... I do realize that if you have an industry list, you can have someone from another country come here and fly for your airline,
186 AirframeAS : When you start at a new company after being at your former company for 35 years, you have to start at the bottom. You cannot just come in and bump so
187 AirTran717 : Wow! Absolutely wonderfully said. And it reiterates my point. The numbers would be staggering to figure out who gets bumped or moved up if you factor
188 Transpac787 : That's what they are. Truth hurts, huh?? Quite apropriate, as it's what they are. Oh, I see. And what they did, betraying all their coworkers so they
189 AirTran717 : THen you didn't read what I said. Using the example of how we all know a merger works, merging the seniority list in this fashion is absolutely no df
190 Post contains images AirframeAS : They're not. These are honest people trying to support their families. What on earth is wrong with that?! Please, explain to me why that is wrong. Ne
191 Copter808 : Hey, I've worked with Joe!! Yes, this would be a disaster in the making. What might work would be more of a "lateral transfer" where Joe comes in to
192 AirTran717 : Now there's something that might actually come closer to working... however I'm sure there is going to be someone who will not like it.
193 HAL : I'm afraid I can't agree with this. This view of unions is very one-sided and has been pushed hard by the management of many corporations, yet doesn'
194 Cubsrule : If that's really the goal of airline unions, they have failed abjectly. One look at the regional industry should make that pretty clear. There are ce
195 Mayor : This CAN also happen at non-union companies. One I worked for, springs to mind.
196 HAL : Maybe yes, maybe no. Regionals don't make the kind of profits that majors do, and the pay is respectively lower. The unions can't ask for, say, a sen
197 Cubsrule : Do you really think that if UA were flying its CRJs itself, they would have the same work rules as YV or G7?
198 Mayor : You may have meant that, but what you wrote implied something else.
199 Stratosphere : Yeah it was AMFA's fault...Thats why NW began training replacement workers 2 yrs before our contract became amendable..Hardly sounds like good faith
200 MD11Engineer : I think the problem comes when a union becomes too big, when the union leadership are disconnected from the rank and file and see the union as their
201 AirframeAS : Really? AMFA at NW and the rampers union at AS.... Hmmm... Didn't work out for them very well. Well within their right because AMFA more than likely
202 HAL : Very good questions. These are the points that some of the posters on this rather long thread don't understand unless they're intimately involved wit
203 HAL : No, I don't, because United is not a regional. As they are a bigger airline with larger income streams and a different cost structure, they would be
204 Post contains links Stratosphere : Really, Well read this article I think it explains what went down and how NWA really operates. http://www.iww.org/en/node/1731
205 Nwaesc : They set back the labor movement by decades.
206 Cubsrule : ...but the unions (pilots, primarily) are the reason that United does not fly CRJs and instead farms the flying out to companies with worse pay and w
207 Jbernie : Having done a few too many mergers and transitions from one application to another in IT I would they run the national list in parallel for a year or
208 AirTran717 : Okay Guys... what does the NW mechanics strike have to to with this topic? Take your squabble to another forum, please. It's totally inappropriate for
209 AirframeAS : That made absolutely no sense. Back on topic.... How on earth is the national seniority list going to be complied and who is going to be the company
210 Transpac787 : It makes perfect sense. You just pretend you don't understand it in a weak attempt to try to make a political statement on the issue. The new Civil A
211 AirTran717 : That's why it'll never work. Agreed.
212 AirframeAS : No, it doesn't. The so-called "union movement" is soooooo 1950's-60's. Outdated! And....no political statement on my part. It is only my honest opini
213 Apodino : One problem with that statement is that the regionals are all making profits (Save for Expressjet and Mesa at the moment), and the majors are all pos
214 Transpac787 : It doesn't make sense to you, obviously. To most everyone else, it does, as you seem to be the only one on here disputing it. Guess you take that "ar
215 Mayor : Well, before you jump all over someone, you need to remember that there are more workers out there than just the pilots, although I realize the "sky
216 AirframeAS : Lets just agree to disagree and call it a day. At least Mayor knows where I am coming from...and I thank you!
217 Aerorobnz : Well I'm telling you now if it meant that staff travel priveleges were included then no way.. I work for NZ and if a poxy QF/CO/UA employee got on a f
218 Mayor : I don't believe anyone was referring to travelling privileges. You're welcome!
219 Dutchflyboi : No one was. ( well with the exception of Aerorobnz) This whole post has to do with a national seniority list in the US, so people can move to another
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