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Future Of Alpa  
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4124 posts, RR: 6
Posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

I was thinking about ALPA yesterday. As you all know, the USAirways pilots ousted ALPA largely due to the Nicolau award. Of the remaining mainline carriers out there, only DL, AS, HA and UA/CO are represented by ALPA (FL will most likely join SWAPA instead).

There is a growing movement at Delta to oust ALPA in favor of a new group called Delta Airlines Pilot Association (DAPA). I am not going to get into all the reasons here, but a lot of it is related to ALPA not defending DL scope as well as a lot of secrecy concerns and the like. If Delta were to oust ALPA in favor of DAPA (Reading a lot of the other message boards, it seems like there is a good chance of this actually happening in 2012), that would mean that ALPA represents the following airlines (not a complete list):

UA/CO
Air Wisconsin
Comair
Eagle
ASA/ExpressJet
Colgan/Pinacle/Mesaba
Trans States
Mesa
Alaska
Hawaiian
PSA
Piedmont
Horizon

Of that list, UA/CO is the only legacy carrier left. Alaska and Hawaiian, while good companies, serve largely a niche market. All the other carriers are regional carriers. But with ALPA only representing one of the big four, can ALPA as a group survive and be as effective? Or is it better for the bigger airlines to not have national representation? With what appears to be 70 percent of the ALPA membership consisting of regional pilots, do Mainline pilots even benefit from ALPA anymore?

(Note, this is not meant to be an ALPA bashing thread, but is meant to take a look at it from a neutral point of view. Be careful not to turn this into an ALPA bashing thread, because I feel this is an important discussion and I don't want to see the moderators close it down over that. Thank you)

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinesaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1609 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2103 times:

FWIW, I think FedEx Express (Federal Express Express.....) is also represented by ALPA.


smrtrthnu
User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3176 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2064 times:

The problem that mainline pilots are seeing (and so are regional guys for that matter) is that ALPA can not represent both without a conflict of interest.

Are you fighting for scope at UA or flying at a regional? Really can not do both

They also happen to be in a tough spot. They presided over the race to the bottom in the post 9/11 world. Most of it was out of their control, but they will take the heat from it


User currently offline727forever From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 793 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1974 times:

Good question. In my opinion ALPA could withstand the loss of Delta, but it would loose a great deal of it's influence and would start to loose effectiveness rapidly. This is something that both Moak and O'Malley need to be aware of. Scope is the issue. Sadly, Moak and O'Malley have a disconnect with the rank and file at Delta on their position regarding Scope.

It is my opinion that most Delta pilots don't really care if it is ALPA or some other organization that they have representing them. All they care about is that the body representing them listens to them and will go fight for them. Scope has been loosened for so long at Delta that most pilots feel that ALPA is not representing them which is somewhat of a mis-characterisation in that it is the Delta MEC that has not represented them for so long, not ALPA as a whole.

It would be a mistake for the Delta pilots to leave ALPA, but for this to happen the MEC needs to wake up and realize just how important scope is and make some major course corrections heading into 2012 or the DPA could become a large factor. How has the USAPA, APA, IPA, NPA, etc. worked out for their groups in the past? The smart ones have returned to ALPA while the rest have contracts that are weak or based on one issue such as hourly pay alone (IPA) or retirement (APA) compared to ALPA contracts. Typically when a divorce happens it is because of anger over some egregious act, but rarely does either side come out better off in the end.

Sorry if I have flame baited at all or gotten off topic. If Delta leaves ALPA, it will migrate towards an all regional union and eventually will go away. This would be sad considering all of the advances in both the piloting profession and aviation safety that ALPA volunteers have worked for over the past 8 decades.

727forever



727forever
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4124 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1861 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 3):

Sorry if I have flame baited at all or gotten off topic. If Delta leaves ALPA, it will migrate towards an all regional union and eventually will go away. This would be sad considering all of the advances in both the piloting profession and aviation safety that ALPA volunteers have worked for over the past 8 decades.

At this point I almost think from a Safety Point of view that ALPA would be more effective as a professional organization and not as a Union, given the conflict of interests that a Union creates, but the shared interests in safety that all pilots have.

Quoting 727forever (Reply 3):

It would be a mistake for the Delta pilots to leave ALPA, but for this to happen the MEC needs to wake up and realize just how important scope is and make some major course corrections heading into 2012 or the DPA could become a large factor. How has the USAPA, APA, IPA, NPA, etc. worked out for their groups in the past? The smart ones have returned to ALPA while the rest have contracts that are weak or based on one issue such as hourly pay alone (IPA) or retirement (APA) compared to ALPA contracts. Typically when a divorce happens it is because of anger over some egregious act, but rarely does either side come out better off in the end.

The problem with USAPA is there is a conflict of interest in their own group which makes it tough for them to really accomplish anything, and this would be true of that group regardless of who is representing them. APA is kind of a mixed bag, as they have protected the AA lifers, but have screwed over the groups that AA has brought in through merger (Think TWA). Also, SWAPA is not ALPA, and you can make the argument that they have one of the best contracts in the industry at the moment.

If the RJ flying had all been kept in house instead of outsourced (ALPA was arguably largely responsible for this), we may not even be having this discussion. But the bottom line is that there is now a noteable conflict of interest, and many pilots are fed up that ALPA is not representing them, or that their MEC is doing an awful job. (That is not for me to decide) So what happens from here.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2757 posts, RR: 45
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1831 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
But the bottom line is that there is now a noteable conflict of interest, and many pilots are fed up that ALPA is not representing them, or that their MEC is doing an awful job.

I sometimes disagree with you, but I think you summed this up best: there is an inherent problem defending both sides of the scope line within a single organization, and ALPA has totally squandered its reputation with a lot (probably most) of the mainline guys I know at several airlines. I certainly have no love lost for ALPA, and generally like the in-house union option (e.g. SWAPA) best for all involved.

Quoting apodino (Thread starter):
There is a growing movement at Delta to oust ALPA in favor of a new group called Delta Airlines Pilot Association (DAPA).

That would certainly be amazing, but I don't expect it honestly in the current political climate and with all the AFL-CIO money that would surely come out to fight it. I hope the pilots at Delta do what's best for them; that may not be the same as what's best for any other group of course.

Quoting 727forever (Reply 3):
It would be a mistake for the Delta pilots to leave ALPA

Why? I ask particularly in light of the following excellent point:

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
SWAPA is not ALPA, and you can make the argument that they have one of the best contracts in the industry at the moment.

No kidding. Most anyone at any legacy carrier would be DELIGHTED with their contract.


User currently offlineflyby519 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1082 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1743 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
At this point I almost think from a Safety Point of view that ALPA would be more effective as a professional organization and not as a Union, given the conflict of interests that a Union creates, but the shared interests in safety that all pilots have.

Agreed. ALPA does great work in the safety and aeromedical services. I wish they would stick to that and leave the company specific stuff (contracts, benefits, etc) up to each individual in-house union or the company itself.



These postings or comments are not a company-sponsored source of communication.
User currently offlinedsuairptman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 877 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1676 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 2):
The problem that mainline pilots are seeing (and so are regional guys for that matter) is that ALPA can not represent both without a conflict of interest.

Are you fighting for scope at UA or flying at a regional? Really can not do both

  

ALPA national got greedy, IMHO and went after smaller airlines and found themselves in a position of screwing over a majority of main line pilots by giving in to scope. True that the local groups where equally responsible for voting on contracts allowing scope relaxation.

A few years back I recall discussion amongst pilots of limiting ALPA to only the major or regional players.

USAPA exist simply because of greed and fear brought on by East pilots that refused to agree on fences.



GEAUX SAINTS!
User currently offlineplanemaker From Tuvalu, joined Aug 2003, 5925 posts, RR: 34
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1676 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
Also, SWAPA is not ALPA, and you can make the argument that they have one of the best contracts in the industry at the moment.

But what would happen to ALPA airline balance sheets if they all adopted the SWAPA contract.

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
If the RJ flying had all been kept in house instead of outsourced (ALPA was arguably largely responsible for this), we may not even be having this discussion.

I would be hesitant to put too much blame on ALPA... there are too many events and factors responsible (for example, the rise of LCC's, Chap.11, 9/11, consolidation, etc.) Remember, when RJ's came on the scene no one... and I mean no one, even remotely anticipated the effect that they would have. But once the genie was out of the bottle it morphed into what we have today which is truly quite remarkable.



Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
User currently offline727forever From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 793 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 1436 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
Also, SWAPA is not ALPA, and you can make the argument that they have one of the best contracts in the industry at the moment.



SWAPA has had for the last 10 years a perfect position from which to negotiate. Their company got extremely lucky with oil hedging and thus their hedges made up for the balance sheet. Now that the hedges are expired and the 737MAX is coming out, it will be interesting to see what happens with future SWAPA contracts. WN has a large fleet of 737 Classic and 737NG airplanes which will become further out dated putting them in the same position as all of the other airlines instead of having a sweet heart position. Factor in merger costs, a maturing workforce, and increased expense of a maturing route structure that includes costs of doing business in BOS, LGA, etc and I think the realities of negotiating are going to hit SWAPA as the WN balance sheet will no longer be so great. (I still think they will be in good shape for sometime to come, just not spectacular)

Quoting apodino (Reply 4):
If the RJ flying had all been kept in house instead of outsourced (ALPA was arguably largely responsible for this), we may not even be having this discussion. But the bottom line is that there is now a noteable conflict of interest, and many pilots are fed up that ALPA is not representing them, or that their MEC is doing an awful job. (That is not for me to decide) So what happens from here.



Those decisions were made by the Delta MEC over 20 years ago now. Those guys are long since retired. I agree that they made a huge mistake, but 20/20... They should have held the line but as is all too common the MEC was controlled by senior wide body Captains who wanted to shoot the hourly rate up so they could max our their retirements. Short sided? Yes. Common? You bet. I happens with all unions. Should it? Absolutely not.

Quoting flyby519 (Reply 6):
Agreed. ALPA does great work in the safety and aeromedical services. I wish they would stick to that and leave the company specific stuff (contracts, benefits, etc) up to each individual in-house union or the company itself.




The way ALPA is set up is just that way. Each MEC is supposed to run it's own business, negotiate it's own contracts, and run it's own business. ALPA International is there to assist, sign, and provide a coalition for each pilot group to join together, communicate, and direct others which direction to go to best advance the profession. Unfortunately ALPA, as all unions, is run by elected members and thus is infused with politics. Politicians are the same whether running a union or a country. It is the responsibility of the membership to vote for the best candidate, though it all to often ends up being a popularity contest won by he who yells the most.

727forever



727forever
User currently offlinerdh3e From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1459 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1391 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 9):
Those decisions were made by the Delta MEC over 20 years ago now.

And United Express "celebrated" 26 years this May.


User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4124 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1360 times:

Quoting planemaker (Reply 8):

But what would happen to ALPA airline balance sheets if they all adopted the SWAPA contract.

It's tough to say since I have no knowledge of those airlines balance sheets. The pilots at those airlines would get paid more...but with the workrules that are in place they would by nature become more productive, with the on time incentives that are provided. However, SW also has the toughest scope in the industry as well. If a SW style contract was approved with payscales that are competitve with the regionals, their contracts would likely be revenue neutral compared to existing contracts.

Quoting 727forever (Reply 9):


Those decisions were made by the Delta MEC over 20 years ago now. Those guys are long since retired. I agree that they made a huge mistake, but 20/20... They should have held the line but as is all too common the MEC was controlled by senior wide body Captains who wanted to shoot the hourly rate up so they could max our their retirements. Short sided? Yes. Common? You bet. I happens with all unions. Should it? Absolutely not.

I agree that the MEC is largely at fault for negotiating those away, but the Rank and File still have to ratify any contract that the MEC agrees to with the company. Of course it doesn't help when the MEC is giving you misinformation about the fact that it would mean more flying because they bought the management spiel hook line and sinker.


User currently offlineplanemaker From Tuvalu, joined Aug 2003, 5925 posts, RR: 34
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1275 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 9):
I agree that they made a huge mistake, but 20/20... They should have held the line but as is all too common the MEC was controlled by senior wide body Captains who wanted to shoot the hourly rate up so they could max our their retirements. Short sided? Yes. Common? You bet. I happens with all unions. Should it? Absolutely not.

Yes, in hindsight it was a mistake... but there was absolutely no way of knowing it at the time. When Comair introduced the CRJ into service, no self-respecting "airline pilot" would even dream of flying a warmed over "biz jet" (or "Barbie jet", take your pick) as his "work metal". Just to give an indication of what the RJ future looked like back then, BBD was hoping for a run of 200 max... globally!

Your other point about politics... I have always thought that it was wrong to weigh contracts in favor of the seniority list... and not on "work" actually done. I imagine that for junior pilots it was something that they put up with since they would eventually reap the rewards... but it was wrong nevertheless IMHO.



Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
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