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Southwest-AirTran Crew/Employee Merger Issues  
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5589 posts, RR: 8
Posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 14352 times:

With the purchase (pending) of AirTran by Southwest, I was wondering what the major crew integration issues would be?

I know I have seen variously discussed the issues of maintenance, crew bases, and pilot and F/A seniority integration but I was thinking a single thread on this aspect alone would be a good thing.

My main questions are the following:

What does the addition of the 717 mean for the maintenance crews? Is it outsourced or did AirTran do it in house?

Besides the obvious addition of an ATL crew base, will this affect other crew bases?

How will the pilots likely be integrated? I assume that SWAPA were involved on some level of discussions prior to the purchase.

Thanks,

Tugg

[Edited 2010-09-27 13:15:16]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineyellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6165 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 14275 times:

With WN saying they will expand MKE...I would suspect a crew base would be there too.


When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 14242 times:

Quoting tugger (Thread starter):
What does the addition of the 717 mean for the maintenance crews? Is it outsourced or did AirTran do it in house?

They do a lot of it in house but the major checks are done in Miami at a contractor.

Quoting tugger (Thread starter):
Besides the obvious addition of an ATL crew base, will this affect other crew bases?

ATL base will be an addition as will the MKE base. MCO will be assimilated into the WN crew base already there.

Quoting tugger (Thread starter):
How will the pilots likely be integrated? I assume that SWAPA were involved on some level of discussions prior to the purchase.

I dont think they really were involved in the first phase of this. Now of course AALPA and SWAPA will be involved. This really was worked with a very very small group of people.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 14208 times:

I would look for SWAPA and FL ALPA to work toward something similar to DL/NW, with the intent of the Nicolau Arbitration in mind.

I'm sure neither side wants to see an HP/US or AA/TW type situation come about.

In my opinion, these two pilot groups are way too classy for that.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 14195 times:

Quoting tugger (Thread starter):
What does the addition of the 717 mean for the maintenance crews? Is it outsourced or did AirTran do it in house?

FL currently does most maintenance in-house with Avborne @ MIA doing heavy maintenance.

Quoting tugger (Thread starter):
How will the pilots likely be integrated? I assume that SWAPA were involved on some level of discussions prior to the purchase.

That's a really good question. Will they merely tack the FL pilots at the bottom of the seniority list or will they use their FL date of hire as their seniority date and place them on the list in that manner. What makes this interesting is that FL's pilots are represented by ALPA (They merged their in-house NPA union into ALPA earlier this year.) and they've been in contract negotiations for several years. I would venture to guess that since there are two different unions involved with this employee group, they would have to hold some sort of election.


User currently offlineswatpamike From United States of America, joined May 2004, 581 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 14098 times:

Hello All

Wondering if Airtran ramp agent are unionized?

Cheers

Mike


User currently offline2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1069 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 14029 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 4):
That's a really good question. Will they merely tack the FL pilots at the bottom of the seniority list or will they use their FL date of hire as their seniority date and place them on the list in that manner. What makes this interesting is that FL's pilots are represented by ALPA (They merged their in-house NPA union into ALPA earlier this year.) and they've been in contract negotiations for several years. I would venture to guess that since there are two different unions involved with this employee group, they would have to hold some sort of election.

A third possibility would be to rank and incorporate pilots by hours flown..... This could also be done with the crew.


User currently offline2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1069 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 13993 times:

Another issue: The clash of cultures... Southwest operates a very specific culture (and screens people it hires for the "right" customer service attitude). Airtran operates to a different customer service culture (there are similarities - but they are not perfectly aligned).

While I really do not see that big of union issues in the merger per-say; I do think that perhaps as many as 25% of the Airtran employees won't be the right culture fit with Southwest - and will be shown the door at some point...

My overall estimate is that about 25% of Airtran employees will be really good fits, about 50% can adjust or work with the Southwest system, and about 25% will have problems.

That will be the more interesting dynamic to watch long term.


User currently offlineairfrnt From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2826 posts, RR: 42
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 13927 times:

So far it seems like WN has learned from the F9 debacle, and is not saying much publicly. I doubt that WN leadership is going to give WN's unions a veto like he did with F9. It should be interesting to hear the details.

User currently offlineMLD9S From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 13897 times:

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 2):

ATL base will be an addition as will the MKE base.

I'm just curious why you think MKE would stay as a base? Southwest has numerous cities with much larger operations than AirTran's MKE operation that are not crew bases. Cities like Denver and Los Angeles (both with 100+ daily departures), San Diego and Nashville both have a good number more flights than I believe Milwaukee does. None of those cities are bases.

Las Vegas (the largest city in their system in terms of daily departures) only became a base two years or so ago.

Salt Lake City wasn't kept as a base after the Morris acquisition.

So why do you think MKE will remain a base?


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 13871 times:

Quoting swatpamike (Reply 5):
Wondering if Airtran ramp agent are unionized?

Nope. Unions have been trying on and off for well over a decade (I was at FL for the 1999 IAM campaign.). I know back during the 1999 campaign, FL put all of the ramp, gate, and reservations agents under a single employee class (customer service) in order to make it harder to unionize.


User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13784 times:

Quoting MLD9S (Reply 9):
So why do you think MKE will remain a base?

MKE is only an extension of the ATL base, it can be flexed up or down as the need of the flying lines are done for that month. Southwest has said they want ot grow MKE and Airtran is certainly not going to stagnate there. But as an extension of ATL it can be Flexed back in very quickly. But at a certain point the lay over costs in these cities where you fly alot to get to be to high thats why MKE became a base for FL. Sure they could have just built MKE layovers into the trips but, they saw it was cost effective to cut those costs and build the crew base. Im sure southwest will look at all options. MKE could be co terminal with Midway which essentially keeps it intact.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineGr8SlvrFlt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1606 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13711 times:

FL heavy maintenance is also done at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida. As of today, FL is still planning on adding several hundred new FAs in MKE and making it a domicile.

User currently offlineN200WN From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 784 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 12425 times:

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 2):
ATL base will be an addition as will the MKE base.

Move the MKE Crew Base to DEN.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 12394 times:

Quoting swatpamike (Reply 5):
Wondering if Airtran ramp agent are unionized?

Nope. They've been trying for quite some time now much like they have with DL and have always lost out.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineUnited960 From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 11997 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 4):
That's a really good question. Will they merely tack the FL pilots at the bottom of the seniority list or will they use their FL date of hire as their seniority date and place them on the list in that manner.

After the McCaskill-Bond amendment to the 2008 omnibus bill passed, no one can staple another union group to the bottom of their seniority list. This legislation was the product of employee leaders from TWA after the AA seniority stripping, as well as from activists in AFA and other major unions. McCaskill-Bond has re-established the seniority protection language in section 3 and 13 of the original Allegheny-Mohawk Labor Protective Provisions, the set of government policy prescriptions that governed seniority mergers prior to deregulation. After McCaskill-Bond passed, union groups have to either mutually agree on a fair integration, or the case is sent to arbitration. No one is going to get away with a repeat of AA-TW. Note that seniority stripping is not being tried in UA-CO and was not tried in DL-NW. In the UA-CO case, for example, the AFA unit at United - which represents the much larger group - is proposing full, date-of-hire seniority for everyone involved. They have clearly indicated that there will be no attempted "land grab" from Continental people. Hopefully that will set the tone for the AirTran-Southwest deal.


User currently offlineusafdo From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 11741 times:

United960...thanks for the post.

So will the pilots & F/A's go by date of hire or by company seniority date?

There doesn't seems to be much else that would be fair...


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 11733 times:

Quoting usafdo (Reply 16):
United960...thanks for the post.

So will the pilots & F/A's go by date of hire or by company seniority date?

There doesn't seems to be much else that would be fair...

It will either be one or the other. I must say the WN folks are great people (at least the ones i've run into) and they guys at FL will be welcomed to the Southwest family. I am happy for them.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineAV8orWALK From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 11634 times:

I have a friend who is sweating bullets. He lost his job at WN about 5 years ago because he acquired too many points for poor attendance. He was immediately hired by FL and has worked there ever since. He is not eligible for re-hire at Southwest. Is he gonna be out of a job?

Interesting times ahead!

Cheers
Drew MCO



The safest place to be in an airplane crash is on the ground.
User currently offline2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1069 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 11513 times:

Quoting AV8orWALK (Reply 18):
have a friend who is sweating bullets. He lost his job at WN about 5 years ago because he acquired too many points for poor attendance. He was immediately hired by FL and has worked there ever since. He is not eligible for re-hire at Southwest. Is he gonna be out of a job?

In a case like this - he will be transferred to SW as a "new/grandfathered" employee (labor law). What happens after that depends on his record with Airtran. If he cleaned up his attendance record he probably has no concerns. If he has still had an unusual high rate of missed attendance - then he will soon find himself let go after the next series of poor attendance.


User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 11459 times:

Quoting AV8orWALK (Reply 18):
I have a friend who is sweating bullets. He lost his job at WN about 5 years ago because he acquired too many points for poor attendance. He was immediately hired by FL and has worked there ever since. He is not eligible for re-hire at Southwest. Is he gonna be out of a job?

Interesting times ahead!

Trust me if he hadn't cleaned up his attendance by now he wouldn't be at Airtran. There tolerance for tardiness is is very swift.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineAlias1024 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2759 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11322 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 17):
Quoting usafdo (Reply 16):
United960...thanks for the post.

So will the pilots & F/A's go by date of hire or by company seniority date?

There doesn't seems to be much else that would be fair...

It will either be one or the other. I must say the WN folks are great people (at least the ones i've run into) and they guys at FL will be welcomed to the Southwest family. I am happy for them.

It will likely look similar in method to both the controversial Nicolau award from US/HP and the arbitrator's decision from DL/NW. I expect to see something along the lines of relative seniority with some tweaks here and there and fences around domiciles. I do not expect to see date of hire or a staple job.

Quoting United960 (Reply 15):
Note that seniority stripping is not being tried in UA-CO and was not tried in DL-NW. In the UA-CO case, for example, the AFA unit at United - which represents the much larger group - is proposing full, date-of-hire seniority for everyone involved.

Depending on when the hiring waves were at the respective carriers, date of hire could be extremely advantageous to United's flight attendants. Or, it could be extremely beneficial to CO flight attendants. Or neither. I don't know the specifics in this case, but a proposal of DOH doesn't mean one group isn't trying to take advantage of another.



It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
User currently offlineSeaTran From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11201 times:

I previously flew for AirTran and currently fly for SWA. I am cautiously excited about this deal.

The 717 is a GREAT airplane. I see SWA keeping the 717's. We are already in the process of retiring -300's and replacing them 1 for 1 with new -700's. My guess is that the 717's will be used to accelerate the retirement of at least some of the -300's. And that is a very, very good thing...at least from a pilot's perspective. AirTran has a lower operational cost basis than SWA. They do that with a two airplane fleet. There's no reason to expect that SWA's cost's will rise significantly by incorporating the 717.

There will need to be a lot of thought and wisdom put into the seniority integration. SWA pilots will not be happy with an arrangement that does not significantly benefit current SWA pilots. AirTran pilots will be receiving a SIGNIFICANT pay raise by coming over to SWA. There will need to be a correspondingly SIGNIFICANT offsetting benefit to SWA pilots in exchange. Most likely, this will need to be achieved through a very favorable seniority integration.

AirTran has an outstanding company culture...at least among the flight crews and station personnel (outside of ATL). I enjoyed coming to work at AirTran. Believe it or not, in several ways, AirTran culture is more like Southwest culture than Southwest culture is like Southwest culture. When I was there, AirTran's flight crews were significantly younger than Southwest's crews. I believe this has a very noticeable difference in the atmosphere on the job. AirTran had a much more youthful and high-energy and fun feel to it than does SWA. Don't get me wrong, SWA is a GREAT, GREAT place to go to work. It's simply an older company, with an older and more entrenched work force. I'm excited for the AirTran guys and girls to join us here at SWA.


User currently offlineseven3seven From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 318 posts, RR: 23
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 11145 times:

AirTran pilots get huge pay raises, much better contract work rules including working less, better benefits, and access to 8 pilot domiciles eventually.

What will SWA pilots get thats fair and equitable? Better seniority, hopefully.



My views are mine alone and are not that of any of my fellow employees, officers, or directors at my company
User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 11135 times:

Quoting SeaTran (Reply 22):
AirTran has an outstanding company culture...at least among the flight crews and station personnel (outside of ATL). I enjoyed coming to work at AirTran. Believe it or not, in several ways, AirTran culture is more like Southwest culture than Southwest culture is like Southwest culture. When I was there, AirTran's flight crews were significantly younger than Southwest's crews. I believe this has a very noticeable difference in the atmosphere on the job. AirTran had a much more youthful and high-energy and fun feel to it than does SWA. Don't get me wrong, SWA is a GREAT, GREAT place to go to work. It's simply an older company, with an older and more entrenched work force. I'm excited for the AirTran guys and girls to join us here at SWA.

You are very correct to a degree. There are great people in the Atlanta base both crew and other wise but the ATL station personnel is held to a far different metric then anyone in the FL system and so they are very different.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
25 Post contains images Alias1024 : I'm not sure I agree that SWA pilots should get better seniority because AirTran pilots will get raises. They aren't taking anything from the SWA pil
26 tugger : How does the new the sub-fleet of 717 and their pilots affect the merging of the pilots seniority lists? Right now two-thirds of AirTran pilots fly th
27 Jetfixr757 : I see you all have great questions, but can you give them a chance to figure it out, half you all don't even work for either carrier. Get real people.
28 Atlwest1 : Very very true. I work for One of them as well and basically its been announced its time for those who it will affect to absorb comprehend. After tha
29 USAirways787 : I as well work for one of the carriers, and a lot has already happened within the past 24 hours. I won't speculate but it has become a reality all to
30 FlyASAGuy2005 : I don't know about carriers outside the US but most here, training is on the companies dime. If you are flying the 737 as an FO and with your seniori
31 Post contains links ManuCH : As there are now official WN/FL merger threads, this one will be locked. Please continue discussion here: WN/FL Merger: Impact On Employees (by Modera
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