Posts: 6944
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 5:29 am

Southwest Upcoming Pilot Contract

Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:04 am

How do you feel negotiations for the upcoming,new pilot's contract at Southwest will turn out.From what I have read the pilots appear slightly militant in their demands for incresed wages citing the fact that those at the 'cartel carriers' on average probabrly make more than them.However,IMO that is the wrong way to look at it.The 'cartel carriers' with they high pilot costs are struggling right now yet WN and fellow LCCs bucking the trend.I think the pilots should instead of looking at the cater carrier's pilots' pay as the baseline they should regard their pay as the baseline and that the cartel carriers should try (won't happen though)to reduce their pilot costs.How do you the WN scenario turning out and what effect will it have on a)WN and b)the LCC industry as a whole?
Posts: 810
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2000 10:55 am

RE: Southwest Upcoming Pilot Contract

Mon Jul 29, 2002 1:55 pm

What do I think will happen?

The Southwest pilots will get the raise they deserve. It may be in the form of better work rules, better stock options, or a better hourly rate...who knows...the pilot group has to decide what's most important. Pilot pay, in the overall scheme of things, doesn't make or break an airline. Southwest pilots have been behind the curve for a long time. I've seen how they work hard to make the Southwest system do all the SWA employees. SWAPA and SWA management will come to some agreement that works for both sides and it will include industry standard compensation for the pilots. Management never gives away anything without a fight...even at SWA...that would be bad form in this age of labor/management relations.
Posts: 1291
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 4:52 pm

RE: Southwest Upcoming Pilot Contract

Mon Jul 29, 2002 2:01 pm


As a Southwest mechanic, I'll give you my take on things:

I can understand the pilots' perspective on the matter. They took a pay freeze from 1993-1999, although they did receive stock options. They fell behind the rest of the industry in "hard pay" during that time, but the stock options helped make up for it. The company now realizes that the stock has not been performing at the same level, so they are offering a contract extension through 2006 with a "hard pay" raise to help keep the pilots' wages competitive. SWAPA feels that the offer isn't good enough, although I have heard through the grapevine that many pilots will vote in favor of it.

Both sides have valid points. No one wants to hurt the company or it's ability to make a profit, but I respect our pilots' desire to be paid industry standard wages. They do a great job (typically working more hours than pilots at other airlines) and should be paid accordingly. Many business analysts agree and feel that Southwest can afford to pay their pilots the same wages as other carriers. Southwest wants to protect it's low-cost advantage and there's nothing wrong with that; they have many intelligent people at the G.O. working to keep the airline profitable.

Basically, it's a balancing act. On one hand, the company needs to insure its long-term health and performance, but it shouldn't do it at the expense of employee relations (and that goes for all employee groups, not just the pilots).

I hope that, in the end, everyone comes out happy.

Patrick Bateman is my hero.