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Help....how Likely Is Strike At Midwest Express?  
User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4488 posts, RR: 33
Posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2365 times:

Dear Gang,

Do any of y'all know how likely a flight attendants strike is at Midwest Express? The cooling-off period ends on Aug. 30, and of course the union is putting out its CHAOS-threatening press releases. Anyone hear from the inside how likely a strike actually is? I know they're rare but don't want to take risk of a flight cancellation.

Of course the only time I actually have the opportunity to fly Midwest Express is precisely on that weekend. I'll book with someone else if there's a reasonable possibility of strike.

Jim

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2334 times:

Jim, I don't really know, but given the state of the airline industry, and the limited market for ME, I think they'd be fools to strike. How one can "lead the industry" when the industry is headed backwards, I'll never know. And I'll never understand the airline unions thinking that in order to make a point to management, they'll screw the customer. Talk about biting off one's nose to spite one's face.

User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2321 times:

It seems they are very willing to strike. The flight attendants have been persistant on this for the last two years or so.... several informational pickets at both Omaha and Milwaukee (the two flight attendant bases). At one point they had a billboard outside the Omaha airport with their message to management. With the length of time management has dragged this out, I'd say they will strike.

User currently offlineTravatl From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2173 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2286 times:

I'm going to agree with Seiple on this one.

I was at an AFA conference at ORD about two years ago (AFA is the largest F/A union in the world, representing many US Carriers including YX, UA, US, HP..etc.), and I have to say, the YX flight attendants were by far the angriest - and that was two years ago.

They just had a 95% vote in support of a strike - so I think unless the company comes up with something much more redeeming than what they've offered so far....chances are high the "CHAOS" program will begin shortly after August 30th.

Travis


User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2285 times:

I spoke with a friend in Omaha who is a retired Midwest flight attendant.... According to her, many of her friends who still fly for the airline are preparing for a strike. Management is still getting over a bitter relationship with pilots a few years back and the flight attendants have been angry for years. Supposedly there is more informational picketing scheduled for the coming weeks.

User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2280 times:

Jim,
Take your business elsewhere. The unions don't seem to realize that their little threats of CHAOS impact the very people who hold the key to making their company profitable. Does it hurt their company? It sure does. But it hurts themselves even more. Sorry, but if they can't recognize the value of even having an airline job in todays world, what with a ton of FA's laid off at other airlines, they might as well be able to join them on the street.


User currently offlineTravatl From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2173 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2249 times:

Nobody wants their company to go out of business.

However - the safety question aside, the YX flight attendants offer a superior service on the aircraft than most major carriers are similar length flights, however, they're making less money than their counterparts at AirTran at Southwest.

One reason a union at a smaller company seeks a good contract is to ENSURE the long term success of that airline. If competitive benefits, wages, and work rules siimply don't exist, then attrition climbs, and experience levels and attitude diminish - which has DIRECT RESULTS on operational performance and customer service.

It's all a game played in the media.....the workers threaten to impact the bottom line....if that is the only thing the company will respond to, so be it.

Travis


User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2248 times:

Take your business elsewhere. The unions don't seem to realize that their little threats of CHAOS impact the very people who hold the key to making their company profitable. Does it hurt their company? It sure does. But it hurts themselves even more. Sorry, but if they can't recognize the value of even having an airline job in todays world, what with a ton of FA's laid off at other airlines, they might as well be able to join them on the street.

Goingboeing,
I'm sorry you don't think airline employees deserve to have a contract. Midwest Express' flight attendants are not under contract, and have been in negociation for this, their first contract, since January of 2000. They deserve to have their pay and benefits protected. Going on strike is the only way to move management toward a contract when at a deadlock like they are now. If they stay on the job after the deadline passes, what incentive is that for either side to move toward a contract?

As far as Midwest Express' specific situation, the flight attendants have not had a raise in three years, despite promises, and management does not want to revisit the topic for at least another year, at which point they'll probably do as they have the past three years and say "talk to us again in a year..." Now, management has offered some wage increases, but these increases do not even cover the inflation rate. Heck, even the hourly folks at Wal-Mart and Target receive cost-of-living raises to account for inflation in the economy, but Midwest Express flight attendants don't even get this. In addition, the company refuses to put anything in writing that guarantees simple benefits like health insurance or a pension. Sure, they may have it without a guaranteed contract, but management would be free to repeal such benefits as they see fit, whereas flight attendants would receive these on a guaranteed basis under a contract.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2240 times:

Sieple,

I guess I need to go to work for Wal Mart since we have a wage freeze in effect where I work. And over the past 10 years, I've had more than my share of 3% "merit" increases (not cost of living - merit) because "the numbers weren't looking that good this year". Know what I did? I changed jobs. Where I work now, I make a decent wage, and I'm willing to forgo a wage hike to get thru a tough time. But if the wage freeze stays in place, and the quality of treatment I get from my employer declines, then I'll move again. And the beauty of doing that is that I only inconvenience my employer...not the people who depend on my employer.

I wouldn't hold your breath for a pension....Out in the "real world", most folks don't have a pension...rather, they have a company match to a 401K. Pick up any recent copy of Business Week to see what burden pension plans are placing on companies.

I'm really sorry, but I really have no sympathy for someone who hung around for 3 years without a raise. I would have quit, even if it meant that I didn't get to do exactly what I wanted to do. Because of those folks inability to take that giant step of improving their lot in life on their own, they now intend to implement CHAOS which directly impacts me...the guy who helps fund any raises and pensions


User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2230 times:

Goingboeing,

Amazing you can't spell my name right any of the times you've ever used it in a post.  Smile

I guess the Midwest Express flight attendants should take an example from you. On August 30th, they can all up and quit at the deadline, as you say they should if they don't like the conditions. How long will it take Midwest Express to find and train about 500 new flight attendants? I guarantee it's quite a bit longer than the few days that most airline strikes last.

I'm happy that you're in a job where you can simply change companies on a whim. I'm sure that looks real good on your resume. It's great that in your job you can come and go without inconveniencing the customers. Flight attendants are customer service personnel....start losing them at more than the normal, accounted-for, rate of attrition and you'll have a short-staffed airline cancelling flights due to crew rest, non-availability of reserve crews, and inability to expand due to no staff covering added flights.

Ever think they hung around for three years without a raise on the promises that it would come shortly? I think there is something to be said for a group of people who have faith in their company and stick it out in hopes of something happening, not all bailing and hurting their company. Enough of them quit, as you suggest, and replaced by those who willingly jump into the non-secure labor situation at MidEx (and probably aren't in it for the long-term.... most in non-contracted hourly jobs aren't in it for the long-term) and the passengers are hurt. Replace those who are serious about it as a career with those who go into it on a temporary basis and you have the same situation with attitudes as we currently have with security screeners.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

My bad...I keep remembering "I before E except after C". My resume has served me quite well, thank you very much. Heck, I've even had directors of Human Resources tell me that when they get resumes where the applicant has been in the same job for 5 years, they wonder what's wrong with them.

Sometimes folks gotta take a stand, and by them doing that, they can actually help their "brothers and sisters". If managment saw a lot of employees resign (and it doesn't have to be en masse), they will quickly come to realize that something better change, lest the company suffer. That most likely means wage and benefit improvements. But "collective bargaining", especially in service industries, tends to result in harming the consumer as much as the company. When you do the happy AFA CHAOS(tm) dance and strand a family on vacation, a person needing to close a business deal, or a son trying to get to his dads funeral, you cause THEM to feel your pain. THEY in turn cause your company to feel your pain because in many cases, they will REFUSE to book your airline again, even if everything becomes hunky dory between labor and managment (admittedly, I live in a dream world,..labor/managment relations are never hunky dory). That in turn causes you to feel your own pain, albeit many months after the fact, when the passengers you screwed will have hopefully "forgave and forgot". Because if they aren't in a forgiving mood, they can cause a whole host of NEW problems for your company. Witness the impact that UAL pilots "summer from hell" is still causing for them. I gotta real problem with CHAOS(tm). Get what you can get, but DON'T screw with your customer.


User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2204 times:

My bad...I keep remembering "I before E except after C".

Which doesn't apply to the German language or proper names.

As per the rest of your response:
I have no clue what line of work you are in, but it must be one of the few where those who change jobs often are wanted. I can see there is something wrong with people who stay in the same job for five years.... if it's a lower level job and the person has not advanced after years in the position.

Management doesn't want a strike more so than the customers don't want a strike. The flight attendants realize it will anger customers, strand customers, and possibly turn them off from flying Midwest Express again (however it's most convenient for many people in the airline's hubs, so I'm sure a number of those if stranded would return to the airline). Management I'm sure realizes this even more so. Threat of a strike usually is enough to coax management into preventing the strike. It has been on most occasions in the past. They have twenty-four more days to get things settled, and if management caves for no reason other than to prevent the strike, it'll be as late as possible.

Talks have resumed between flight attendants and the airline at undisclosed locations and times, so hopefully this will all be resolved without the need for drastic action.


User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3007 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

Seiple,

I agree with GoeingBoeing. In the mid to late 90's, jobs were plentiful and it was easy to change to something else if you didn't like it. Finally, for the first time in my working career, it was a sellers' market as far as your job skills went. It's not so good now, and perhaps we should all keep our jobs but the point remains, if you aren't getting treated/paid fairly at your current job, the ultimate recourse against your current employer is to quit and go work somewhere else!

Surely, in 2000 the YX flight attendants could have found jobs elsewhere in the industry. Maybe not in 2001 or 2002, but if this feud between YX management and flight attendants has been going on so long, they could have just changed jobs at the start of it.

At this point I think they should be happy to have jobs, considering the state of the airline industry. This is not the time for a strike action. The demand for flight attendants is pretty much nil. When demand picks up and the threat for them to leave and go work somewhere else for better pay can be a real threat, then that is the time to fight for more wages.



Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3007 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2196 times:

As per the rest of your response:
I have no clue what line of work you are in, but it must be one of the few where those who change jobs often are wanted. I can see there is something wrong with people who stay in the same job for five years.... if it's a lower level job and the person has not advanced after years in the position.


Probably information technology, we are famous for moving around a lot!  Big grin



Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2195 times:

very good guess Brons2  Big grin


User currently offlineBoiler Special From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 135 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2186 times:

Just a note, had those YX flight attendants bailed on their job in 2000 and went to work at another carrier the vast majority of them would be sitting at home on furlough right now.

Accrued Seniority is the best reason to stay where you are, even if you don't like it in this business.


User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4488 posts, RR: 33
Reply 16, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2180 times:

For what it's worth, I decided to book AirTran. Midwest Express was suddenly out of the $230 fares I saw when I first looked; they and the Cartel were all at between $340-360. Which is ridiculous for 21-day advance from a major city to a medium-size city, 2-hour flight, even at high summer. AirTran was even out of its $228 round trips, so I took $260. I'll apply my travel service's $30 gift certificate and call it a day. The times were actually pretty convenient, too.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing General Mitchell Field. I always love adding a new passenger airport to my list of visited airports.  Smile

YX and their F/A's should have settled years ago. I'm always wary of claims that it's always management's fault when negotiations drag out. Didn't UA's IAM chapter hold off negotiations til after NW settled last year, to see what they could get? There's usually more than meets the eye.

In the meantime, I won't have to add labor strife to the risks of booking this particular vacation.

Jim


User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2172 times:

Jim,
I'm glad you got your travels worked out.

However, one point: In this case, it doesn't appear that YX's flight attendants have outragious demands. They simply want the raise promised to them, and it seems reasonable that they want it adjusted for inflation. Health insurance doesn't seem that outragious either. Their pay is lower than even the low-fare carriers like AirTran, and they work a lot harder. You don't see AirTran serving all passengers a hot meal on a 50 minute flight like Midwest crews do.

Midwest's fares, like any other full-service carrier, are hit or miss. I've consistantly priced just over $200 from Omaha to either coast on Midwest for reasonable advance-purchase fares. The level of service is also greater than any other coach service in the country... I'd actually say the YX meals I've had were pretty good, the flight attendants genuine in their positive attitudes, and the seats great (legroom is no MRTC though).

Not many vacationers going from Atlanta to Milwaukee... mostly business types who are just going to expense it, so airfares aren't that great of a concern.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2158 times:

Just a note, had those YX flight attendants bailed on their job in 2000 and went to work at another carrier the vast majority of them would be sitting at home on furlough right now.

Accrued Seniority is the best reason to stay where you are, even if you don't like it in this business.


Not if they went to work for Southwest or JetBlue. Or, if they couldn't afford to live on what they made and couldn't afford to "start over" because of the seniority handcuffs, gone on to another industry. As it's been mentioned, I'm in Information Technology. If my dream were to be a "WebMaster" at a company, but they treated me like crap, then I wouldn't think twice about jumping ship to be a network administrator at a better company. It may not be my dream career, but it's a job that's paying my bills.


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