MaverickM11
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How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:39 am

From USA Today: " The airline's latest business plan, being used to secure post-bankruptcy financing, "unworkable" according to a top labor leader. Robert Roach Jr., vice president for transportation at the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers, says the plan assumes United would terminate its four employee pension plans — something he said his union would not agree to. He warned that United must take into account workers' morale, which he says will be wrecked"

We see this kind of stuff from labor leaders all the time; I'm curious as to how the labor leaders would fix the Majors. I'm sure labor groups have filed plans before; have any been leaked or made available on the internet? What is their solution?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
slider
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:27 am

With due respect to our union friends here, their respective leadership usually doesn't offer solutions.

They're not in management. Their interests aren't always in sync with those of the company.

If Roach is worried about morale, he ought to wonder what morale will be if the damn cost base of airlines isn't fixed.
 
m404
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:30 am

What Mr. Roach is referring to, I'm assuming, is the dissolution of the retirement plans. No union leader or member wants to see this unless promised something in writing (as good as that is) better to replace it. As I've mentioned in other threads the government will have to decide which is more important. The collapse of the airlines, the collapse of the governments also UNDERfunded pension guarantee system, or the collapse of bankruptcy procedures as we know them.

As for unions running the airline - not their job. Ask UA.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
bobnwa
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:31 am

Great question. I would really like to hear some concrete specific ideas from some of the union proponents on this board. Please no juvenile ideas like fire all the managers!
 
bullpitt
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:10 am

Fire all the Managers, What a lovely Idea. Big grin
These are my principles but if you don't like them I have others
 
MaverickM11
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:14 am

Full disclosure, I'm very anti-union as I have never seen a protection, a subsidy, or tariff I liked. But that aside, I'm honestly curious to know what the unions and labor propose to fix the nation's airline industry. I have a feeling it involves a lot of tariffs, subsidies, and protections, but I don't want to assume.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
MHTMDW
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:01 am

How about the government nationalize the entire passenger air transport market. Just have one big airline. We could call it Am-Aeroflot.
 
future757
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:18 am

Workers morale, I don't know about everyone else, but if my airline I worked for went bankrupt and I suddenly became unemployed I don't think my morale would be to high either.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:30 am

Somebody here must be union or a union sympathizer or have some clue as to how the union leaders would endeavor to solve the airlines' problems....anybody?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
UA744KSFO
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:04 am

It's not the union's job to make the carrier profitable. They get paid to bargain for their members. That's why you'll never hear a plan from a union leader to cut wages as a part of making a carrier profitable.

I think it provides a good balnace though. The management has a duty to the shareholders (turn a profit) and the union has a duty to the employees (advocate for their wages). Then, when the clashes happen, all sides are represented and a compromise can be reached. The big problem is when the compromise is not reached and a strike or lockout happens.

In bargaining, most people don't approve of the first offer, or second or third for that matter.

However, when an airline is in bankruptcy, the unions had better make sure that the compromise reached isn't one that the creditors would reject and then favour liquidation. In that case, all that union's members are out of work.
 
AAR90
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:10 am

Somebody here must be union or a union sympathizer or have some clue as to how the union leaders would endeavor to solve the airlines' problems....anybody?

While they didn't like doing it, take a look at what AA unions have done with their last contracts. If fuel prices had remained at what management planned for 2004 (35-40 $/bl instead of 50+/bl) AA would have been modestly profitable in 2004 (instead of losing an estimated $1 Billion).

Management claims ~$2 Billion in operational savings (changing the way AA operates) and ~$2 Billion in labor savings (3/4+ from union contract changes). Management expects an additional $1+ Billion in savings next year -mostly from operational changes they hadn't envisioned when they were negotiating labor contracts 18 months ago (but have now come to realize the potential).

....their respective leadership usually doesn't offer solutions. They're not in management.

And that's the bottom line. Unions have the more difficult task in contract negotiations: to "squeeze the golden goose without killing said goose."  Nuts
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
MaverickM11
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:11 am

"It's not the union's job to make the carrier profitable. They get paid to bargain for their members.
"

Don't you think their bargaining would be much more forceful if they had an alternative plan to present?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:19 am

"Don't you think their bargaining would be much more forceful if they had an alternative plan to present?"

Maverick-I've never heard that line, but thanks to that comment, congratulations, you've earned a spot on my Respected Users list. Of course, the problem with that thinking is that the union leaders are often too short-sighted to realize that there have to either be an uptick in revenue or a downturn in costs in order for the carrier to better their balance sheet, and as a result forget that the golden goose actually has a limit to the number of eggs she lays. If I ever am an employee trying to get my employee group to unionize, it would be GREAT if you could represent me.
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:43 am

One thing I can honestly say is that a lot of the cost associated with unions aren't necessarily in compensation, but in the sometimes arcane work rules that - in many cases - determine how many hours get paid, and to whom.

For example, at Alaska Airlines, any agent working as a Lead gets paid an hourly differential above and beyond their normal hourly wage. Fine, that's fair - but the collective bargaining agreement stipulates that anyone working in a Lead capacity, even if just for 10 minutes, gets a minimum of two hours' differential paid to them!

So even if you are asked to work as a Lead Agent for just a small period of time, you're guaranteed to get compensated as if you worked for two hours.

It sounds like small potatoes, but it adds up, and very quickly. Now, imagine all the other sorts of similar workrules that run up costs or hamper productivity! THESE are the areas where the unions need to pare back and make the company a leaner machine overall.

Another thing is the (unfortunate) assumption that every employee should still be able to retire on their pension. Much like the belief you can retire on Social Security payments, those days are long gone, and what needs to happen is for the companies to switch from defined benefit programs to 401(k) programs for those who are young enough (or don't have much invested in the pension plan) to still save up a retirement nest egg. The biggest potential problem is determining how to decide who still gets a pension and who doesn't, but the best possible solution would seem to be to eliminate the pension obligations entirely for any employees hired after the new rules go into effect, and grandfather in those employees already on the payroll.

Just my $0.02 worth.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
legendDC9
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Thu Dec 23, 2004 10:51 am

The unions' cares, as far as the employees go, only extends as far as their dues are collected. Remember everyone that the major unions are businesses too. They are interested in turning a profit just as much as the airlines are. What they have been seeing are wage cuts which affect them directly (dues are usually calculated by the per hour rate) and airlines trying to void out union contracts. If the airlines are successful the unions will lose millions in income. I apologize in advance for this statement but the unions are the most a**-backwards group in the airline world today. Threatening to strike against a nearly deceased airline, Failing to sign agreements unless other unions do the same and so on.

KSFO is right, it is not the union's job to come up with a business plan for airline but it is the union's job to sometimes sit down and shut up. Who do they think airline management is fighting for? for their own golden parachutes? Trust me, they are set. They are trying to keep the airline afloat so all the thousands that work for them have a job to go to in the morning. yes, they may get less benefits, less pay, more hours but you know what? It's better than no job at all. When I was furloughed after 9/11 I knew things will never be the same but I waited and for less money, I chose to come back to the airline business which I love and this is what every employee is going to have to decide for himself. What I don't want is a union deciding when to call it quits, especially when at times, it's not even your own union. So again, sit down, shut up, and let the professionals handle it.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 10:08 am

So basically unions are even more worthless than even I thought....
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
N867BX
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:44 pm

Union proposal to fix airlines:

Raise wages

hire more employees

reduce hours

increase counterproductive workrules

if this is done, the industry will strangely heal itself

Oh, by the way, The industry is not really in financial turmoil, this is just something made up by those cheats and liars we have as a management team

I find it amusing that with all that is at stake the unions seem to have none of the answers to what ails the industry
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 2:12 pm

Unions, in their original concept, were a good thing, said simply. They had but a single mission, protect their members.

Unions as they exist today, are a symbol of a great idea run amok. Citing EA_CO_AS example above . . . any agent working as a Lead gets paid an hourly differential above and beyond their normal hourly wage. Fine, that's fair - but the collective bargaining agreement stipulates that anyone working in a Lead capacity, even if just for 10 minutes, gets a minimum of two hours' differential paid to them. This is a prime example of how unions aren't helping air carriers at all, in fact, they hurt them more, IMHO.

Furthermore, agree with LegendDC9 The unions' cares, as far as the employees go, only extends as far as their dues are collected. Remember everyone that the major unions are businesses too. They are interested in turning a profit just as much as the airlines are and Who do they think airline management is fighting for? . . . They are trying to keep the airline afloat so all the thousands that work for them have a job to go to in the morning.

I don't think any union is going to help any carrier, legacy or LCC, survive. I think the carriers survive despite the unions.

I would be so bold as to surmise that a lot of the fiscal problems caused at carriers such as US are attributable to unions and outrageous contracts negotiated in the past. This is no way is meant to say the employees at US don't deserve what the contract provided - thought I'd toss that in there to dissuade the inevitable flaming. It's simple my opinion on one of the reasons US is in trouble. Without getting too deep into my personal life, lets just say I became pretty familiar with US in the mid 1990s, and their employee contracts were pretty sweet.


FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
CanadaEH
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 2:48 pm

The quick and easy fix that benefits both the airline and the employees is this:

Come up with a reasonable salary for all members of an airlines employee group(s). Keep pensions as is. For new hires or any future employees, they start on a "B" pay scale, which is much less than the employees of today are being paid, and they will not have a pension, but a defined contribution plan (share purchase program, or something similar). Offer profit sharing.

This way the employees of today don't get hammered with a massive pay cut, and the employees of tomorrow join a company with the expectation they wont have what the employees of today have. If the company does well, performance-wise, the employees win in the form of a profit sharing program.
EH.
 
FriendlySkies
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 3:12 pm

So basically unions are even more worthless than even I thought....

Yes.  Big grin

The unions are out for themselves...they've fallen corrupt just like most business these days. In 2003, IAM President Randy Canale got a salary raise (I saw this in a internal letter from UA, take it for what it's worth) while two airlines who are represented by the IAM, UA and US, struggled and cut employee pay. Explain that logic...some president.  Insane

They don't give a damn about employees, otherwise the AFA wouldn't be threatening to, in effect, shut down 7 airlines just to "make a point." The unions have gone from possibly useful to fat bags of BS. If unions cared, they'd reduce their dues and actually work with the companies instead of strangling them everytime the contract comes up for renewal...even when profitable, the unions ravage the airline. Look at UA's pilot contract in 2000. I don't think I need to go any further with that one (well, it was partly management's fault too).

Simply put, the unions don't plan on fixing the majors. They plan on strangling them for every last penny before leaving the withering carcass that was once a proud corporation to rot in the desert...



[Edited 2004-12-25 07:15:29]
 
ac7e7
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RE: How Do Unions Propose To Fix The Majors?

Sat Dec 25, 2004 4:20 pm

Union leaders have to learn that their workers WORK for the company, they are not meant to RUN the company.

I say go ahead, shut down the airlines through a strike. Many of these employees will be hired by new start ups at half of what they were making before. Employees have to wake up and realize that if they follow their union leaders, they will all lose.

Merry Christmas all  Smile

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