jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:28 am

A copy of this letter appeared today in my email box......

---------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Grinstein, CEO Delta Airlines
General Offices
Atlanta International Airport
Atlanta, Georgia 30320



Dear Mr. Grinstein,


It is with great sadness that I sit down to write this letter. It has been twenty-two years since I first submitted my application to be a pilot for the best airline in the world. In 1984, Delta was one of the top ten corporations, across the spectrum of all industries, to work for in the United States. As a military pilot aspiring to work in the civilian world, it was not uncommon to apply to Delta first, and then, all other airlines. When I was offered the same start date for American and Delta, there was never a question for me. The reputation Delta enjoyed at that time for employee relations were far-reaching and a powerful incentive for prospective employees.


In my first years, the wisdom of my decision became evident. When my wife became very ill, the Boston Chief Pilot, Jim Baker, took me aside and told me to go home and take care of my business. He told me not to worry about my pay or scheduling, that he would take care of both. A few years later, my brother succumbed to cancer and I missed three weeks of work during his final days. My Chief Pilot, Jon Swift, arranged to move my vacation to cover my pay during the time I was unable to work. These men represented a management that CARED ABOUT ITS PEOPLE FIRST, knowing that if you take care of your employees, your business will take care of itself. The stories about our founder, C.E. Woolman and his compassion for his employees are legend. It was widely known that Dave Garret once gave up his seat to a baggage handler who was non-revving and only had very limited time off. In turn, I would have done ANYTHING for this company. Over the years, I attempted always to give 110% to my job and our passengers. In short I always tried to give more than I took. For quite some time, I was a very happy employee, content to be a line pilot and dedicated to my family during my time off.


September 2, 2006 approaches and you finalize your plans to terminate the pilot retirement plan. When our plan was frozen on December 31st, 2004, my promised and hard earned benefit was approximately $1.3 million. I turn 50 on September 7th, 2006. I wanted nothing more than to leave and to never look back.


When the plan is terminated, I will be on an eight-day trip halfway around the world, laying over in Chennai, India with two stops in Europe. Since I will be gone, I wanted to let you know that I consider what you are doing, nothing short of first-degree thievery. For the active and retired pilots of this airline, this injustice is another ENRON. On behalf of my family, I stand against it.


For very complex reasons, the pilots of this airline have taken a disproportionate share of pay cuts. Well over 50% of our salaries and benefits are gone. This constitutes a complete lifestyle change for most. For me, to lose 21 years of retirement accumulation is unrecoverable while I work for 50% less. For the retired pilots of this airline who gave thirty years or more of dedicated service, and be promised an annuity which now pays pennies on the dollar, that is simply criminal.


It would have been one thing if ALL employees had lost their pensions from the CEO down the line, and if we all had taken a proportionate share of pay cuts in an effort to save this corporation from demise. As it turns out, we are the only group who will lose our pensions. How wrong is that? In light of recent pension reform legislation, it is immoral.


The money, which was spent on corrupt and overpriced lawyers and the things you and your Lieutenants said in court about the pilots of this airline in an effort to gut our contract will never be forgotten. You have grossly violated even the most basic principles of leadership. In short, you have traded the dedication and talent of one of the most educated and experienced employee groups for short-term gain. Perhaps this is the reason that almost every co-pilot I fly with now is looking for other work and why it takes eight phone calls to recall ONE furloughed pilot.


You have been most successful pitting one employee group against another instead of bringing all groups TOGETHER working toward a common goal. I will never understand the adversarial relationship between management and the pilot group, which has existed since the Ron Allen days.


This business boils down to a few very simple principles: Clean, well-maintained aircraft operated safely and on-time, given the constraints of the ATC environment and weather, and treating your customers like you understand that they are paying the bills. We on the other hand have thrown hundreds of millions of dollars down black holes, which do not support the core values of our business. There has been absolutely NO accountability for these mistakes.


Under your leadership the past 19 ½ years we have grown the front office from 4 senior VP’s to thirty some at last count. The corruption and dishonesty of Ron Allen, Leo Mullin, Michele Burns, Jensen, et.al. is well known. We have invested in small, uncomfortable regional A/C vs. the long-range aircraft we so desperately need. We have dismantled arguably the finest aircraft maintenance team on the planet and you have all but destroyed the morale of the employees of arguably the best company to work for across the broad spectrum of industries. WE ARE NOW BANKCRUPT! In the near future, the Wall Street Journal will run an article about how great your team is for bringing us out of bankruptcy. Those of us on the inside know the real truth.


Your plan, while it may look good to bottom line seeking investors for the short term, is not sustainable in the long term. From one line pilot’s perspective, the aircraft we fly are getting old and tired. Our heavy maintenance is being farmed out to the lowest bidder. In my own little work environment, our cockpits are still filthy despite the bulletins I receive regularly telling us that there is a program in place to clean the cockpits. The rest facilities for 76 ER crews are substandard on long haul flights and they are abysmal for the flight attendants. Our lounges are over-crowded, not always clean and they are not a good place to relax and recharge during delays or prior to reporting for duty.


In closing Mr. Grinstein, I would like you to know that I have personally re-dedicated myself to doing my job better than I ever have. You can put me on a list if you must and try to run me out of town, but I know for a fact that I am the mouthpiece for many who feel as I do and choose to remain silent. The vast majority of pilots at this airline are honest, hard working Americans who are not looking for recognition, rather, are deeply satisfied accepting a challenge and doing a job well. Please do not confuse our enviable safety record with thinking the job is easy. We operate now in an increasingly hostile and challenging environment and we understand that each time we push back from the gate, we have more corporate liability in our hands on one flight than you people on mahogany row will ever dream of in your entire career. As a group we take that responsibility very seriously and we are openly accountable for any errors in judgment.


When you execute the order to terminate our pensions on September 2nd, you join the ranks of the “Chainsaw Als” and Carl Ichans of the corporate world. And when you and your Lieutenants leave with your millions, as Ron and Leo and Michelle and others did, many after just a few short years of service, and you are back in Seattle, it is my hope that one day, there will be a stirring in your heart and a recognition that perhaps it is not right, and that there is NO RATIONALIZATION OR JUSTIFICATION that corporate execs profit at the expense of honest and hard-working employees.


Only then can there be cleansing and forgiveness. You are Corporate America Mr. Grinstein.


(Name Deleted), father of two fantastic children and husband of twenty-four years, US Naval Academy, class 1979, professional Airline Captain.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
ZKSUJ
Posts: 6808
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:15 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:54 am

Wow

Thats all I can say right now
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:02 am

I'd respect the guy more if he would have signed his name to it.
 
User avatar
LTU932
Posts: 13072
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:03 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 2):
I'd respect the guy more if he would have signed his name to it.

It's probably the thread starter who deleted it for privacy reasons.

[Edited 2006-09-11 01:04:23]
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:09 am

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 3):
Quoting Positiverate (Reply 2):
I'd respect the guy more if he would have signed his name to it.

It's probably the thread starter who deleted it for privacy reasons.

Yeah, good point. I hope he wrote the same kind of email to Lee Moak, Jim White, Dino Atsalis, and Don Stanton for their poor leadership during this time as well. They're the ones that negotiated the deal terminating the plans in exchange for, among other things, a $600 million note. If I recall correctly though, that deal was voted on by the MEC membership and passed with soemthing like 65% of the vote.
 
Alitalia744
Posts: 3777
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 8:22 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:10 am

Tough to react to these type of letters as there are two sides - the human and the business.

To the man who wrote it, it is very sad that he and other's are losing hard earned money and defined pensions, I know I would be pissed.

On the other hand, if there is to be a successful corporation, then it needs to happen.

Tough call whichever side you're on.
Some see lines, others see between the lines.
 
bravo45
Posts: 2072
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2001 5:34 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:14 am

Lost for words....

F I L L E R
I
L
L
E
R
 
bravo45
Posts: 2072
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2001 5:34 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:20 am

Quoting Alitalia744 (Reply 5):
On the other hand, if there is to be a successful corporation, then it needs to happen.

What part of CEO's not loosing anything in fact gaining more do we not understand here??
 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:35 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 2):
I'd respect the guy more if he would have signed his name to it.

He did sign it. I deleted the name.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:35 am

Quoting Bravo45 (Reply 7):
What part of CEO's not loosing anything in fact gaining more do we not understand here??

What exactly did Grinstein gain? Just curious...
 
B4REAL
Posts: 2557
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:53 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:45 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 9):
What exactly did Grinstein gain? Just curious...

A "Wall Street success story" turnaround credibility, also to his supporting staff - not so much himself. Remember, there are generally only three type of people that make it to the top:

-Genious/Engineer for a line of product or service
-Sales leaders
-Success stories (Wall street or business school)

I don't like working for the middle type or last type.
B4REAL, spelled like it sounds
 
mjlhou
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:23 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:02 am

Quoting Bravo45 (Reply 7):
Quoting Alitalia744 (Reply 5):On the other hand, if there is to be a successful corporation, then it needs to happen.
What part of CEO's not loosing anything in fact gaining more do we not understand here??



Quoting Positiverate (Reply 9):
What exactly did Grinstein gain? Just curious...

I'm not sure if he gained a whole lot...but I'm sure he's making a hell of a lot more $$$ as a CEO than this pilot is, or any other DL employee for that matter. I understand it's a complicated job to run a company and that he's probably facing constant scrutiny, but why does Grinstein, or any other CEO of any other company that's in financial trouble need to make millions vs. half a million for example? At least until the company is out of bankruptcy??! This alone would save a lot of $$$. This would also show the employees of any company, or DL in this case that their leader is also willing to give a little too.  banghead 
Don't worry about things you can't change or control
 
PanAm747
Posts: 4713
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:46 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:06 am

When I first read this letter, I wanted to go on a tirade.  hissyfit 

I realized, though, after stepping back and taking a deep breath, that sadly, this is a symptom of businesses world-wide.

There are so many business graveyards littered with the wreckage of companies so horrifically mismanaged that it would be comical if it wasn't true. All it takes is one person or group of people to come in and ruin a successful company. Airlines have certainly had a disproportionate share, but Enron and Montana Power come to mind as well.

I wonder what the opinion is here as to how business will be conducted in the future. Will anyone have health insurance? Will anyone have any kind of defined-benefits pension system?

I'm off my soap box. Saddened, but I'm off.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
MCOflyer
Posts: 7071
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:51 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:12 am

I would feel the same way this pilot does right now if I were in his position. I'm glad he gets to enjoy such trip to exotic destination. If he retires at 60, i'm sure he will have some retirement plan.

What are DL pilots supoosed to do? Fly until 60 and become a S/O for a cargo airline running rubber dog shit across some foreign country.

He HAD every right to write that letter and hopefully other pilots at DL will follow suite.

MCOflyer
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:24 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:17 am

I'm waiting for the "He's free to quit anytime" crowd to pipe in on this one.
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
fspilot747
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 1999 2:58 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:27 am

Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 14):
I'm waiting for the "He's free to quit anytime" crowd to pipe in on this one.

Or the "he's lucky they even pay him to fly an airplane!" crowd, as they jack off to airlinemeals.net.
 
User avatar
SLCUT2777
Posts: 3407
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:17 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:31 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 12):
There are so many business graveyards littered with the wreckage of companies so horrifically mismanaged that it would be comical if it wasn't true. All it takes is one person or group of people to come in and ruin a successful company. Airlines have certainly had a disproportionate share, but Enron and Montana Power come to mind as well.

Defined pension benefit have been waining now for some 20 years. The US Federal Government started the trend towards defined contribution or 401k plans back in 1983 when they ceased to hire new employees as part of the old Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and began to assign new hires to the newly created Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).
I think this is very sad for all DL employees who have 10 or fewer years left before they must retire as is the case with this well accomplished wide-body jet captain. I think it is unfortunate that DL had to be mismanaged by two successive CEO's in Ron Allen and Leo Mullin that brought them to this point. Mullin clearly was in for much to long and robbed the company blind with his blatant mismanagement and then was allowed to retire honorably at the end of 2003. Grinstien along with his two top lieutenants Jim Whitehurst and Ed Bastian have been left with a huge mess to clean up from a carrier that should have emerged from 9/11 in better shape than the two larger ones UA and AA. Sadly the pilots and many of the employees at DL have had to pay for the mismanagement of a few at the top.
As for the future of retirement in general what is really tragic about this mismanagement is that DL of all the legacy carriers was in the best position to offer an orderly transition from the defined benefit to the defined contribution type plan. But Leo fiddled it all away while Atlanta burned. DL could have been an industry leader in plan conversion. If DL and other carriers that are part of the legacy of North America are to remain competitive with the WN's and the B6's as well as the F9's they must convert such benefits to lower their overhead. GM and Ford are finding out the hard way as well. The defined benefit plan is an AFL-CIO brain-child of class equalization more than anything, but lets face the reality, it is no longer something that can make any business sense.
DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:24 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:38 am

Quoting FSPilot747 (Reply 15):
Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 14):
I'm waiting for the "He's free to quit anytime" crowd to pipe in on this one.

Or the "he's lucky they even pay him to fly an airplane!" crowd, as they jack off to airlinemeals.net.

I agree %100,but not a pretty picture"OOH OOH SALMON SALAD OMELET OOH OOH"
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
DeltaSFO
Posts: 2407
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2000 11:22 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:43 am

Just another reminder of how deep and painful the sacrifices of DL employees have been.

Delta employees have been doing an outstanding job of running the airline--the best they've done in years.

Rebuilding the trust between labor and management at DL will take many, many years. What senior management does when DL emerges from bankruptcy and the big profits start rolling in will reveal a lot about their values.
It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:48 am

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 11):
I'm not sure if he gained a whole lot...but I'm sure he's making a hell of a lot more $$$ as a CEO than this pilot is, or any other DL employee for that matter. I understand it's a complicated job to run a company and that he's probably facing constant scrutiny, but why does Grinstein, or any other CEO of any other company that's in financial trouble need to make millions vs. half a million for example? At least until the company is out of bankruptcy??! This alone would save a lot of $$$. This would also show the employees of any company, or DL in this case that their leader is also willing to give a little too.

Actually...he makes less then half a million. Lets take a quick look at the facts:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

December 16, 2004
COMPANY NEWS; DELTA AIR LINES CHIEF WILL TAKE A PAY CUT FOR 2005
By ERIC DASH (NYT)
Gerald A. Grinstein, the chief executive of Delta Air Lines, said yesterday that he would accept a salary of $450,000 in 2005 after giving up half of his $500,000 yearly pay in 2004 as the company staves off bankruptcy. Delta said Mr. Grinstein's $500,000 salary would remain the same, but he would take a 10 percent pay cut along with all other executives and salaried workers. Delta's pilots, the airline's only unionized labor group, accepted a 32.5 percent pay reduction in November. In September, Mr. Grinstein said that he would "lead the way" by forgoing $125,000, or the final three months of his salary, as the airline announced plans to cut $5 billion in costs and eliminate as many as 7,000 jobs through 2006. Delta said Mr. Grinstein also declined $125,000 in pay during the first quarter of 2004, but did not disclose the pay reduction at the time. Eric Dash (NYT)

In the fall of 2005, all execs took a 15% pay cut and Grinstein took another 25% pay cut, which if my math is correct is a little north of a $110K paycut. (http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051229/BIZ01/512290324). So if that is $110K off of $450K, that puts him a little north of a 777 captain. But at the end of the day, and all due respect to the 777 captains, he is the CEO.

According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/MIWE.html), Grinsteing ranks 490th (I believe out of the Fortune 500 CEO's) in compensation. He ranks 15th in the transportation secto behind such other airline CEO's as Doug Steenland ($1.46 million), Glenn Tilton ($1.12 million plus $11.05 million in shares), Larry Kellner ($1.03 million), Gerard Arpey ($650K plus $1.92 million in shares), and Gary Kelly ($610 K) (http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/Transportation_Rank_1.html).

The SEC website is not loading on my laptop for some reason or we could go into other exec slaries as well. I do happen to know of 3 execs who lost their salaries with the pilot pension plan collapse.

I understand this pilot's frustration, and I do not blame him. And as the CEO of the company, Grinstein is the person he should direct that letter too. However, this was a chain of events that was set in motion before Grinstein became CEO. And the author of the letter fails to mention the $600 million note that his union negotiated for value of the plan, and that in court his union leadership did not object to the termination. Not picking on the pilot leadership (specifically Jim White, Curly Culp, and Lee Moak), but who knows what the outcome would have been if they had negotiated a little earlier, or had pitched the idea of freezing lump sum distributions when the plan reopened for distributions in May. My point is, I hope he is also directing his frustration at them as well. Further, as I recall, this plan was voted on by the pilot group and almost 65% voted for it.

Grinstein and the pilot leadership tried to work together to preserve the plan. At best the pilots would have had to have frozen accruals to the plan anyway to take advantage of ongressional relief. As I understand it, at worst, the combination of the note plus the PBGC guarantee of $913 million gets them in the neighborhood of on average $75K per year per pilot. http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/08/news/companies/delta.reut/index.htm

There is enough blame to go round for everyone, but to criticize Grinstein's salary, or other current executives salary, and go into the class warfare is unfair.
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:50 am

Quoting B4real (Reply 10):
Quoting Positiverate (Reply 9):
What exactly did Grinstein gain? Just curious...

A "Wall Street success story" turnaround credibility, also to his supporting staff - not so much himself. Remember, there are generally only three type of people that make it to the top:

-Genious/Engineer for a line of product or service
-Sales leaders
-Success stories (Wall street or business school)

I don't like working for the middle type or last type.

He's 75 with a resume a mile long...you think he needs a success story for turnaround credibility? Please...
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:00 am

Why is NW able to keep its pension, but DL is not, when they are in similar financial shape?
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
mjlhou
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:23 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:08 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 19):
Actually...he makes less then half a million. Lets take a quick look at the facts:

I wonder what HIS retirement portfolio looks like and what kind of other bennefits, like bonuses he'll get? I'm sure that he won't have to worry about a pay check, no matter what the size, after he retires. It seems that sometimes companies give execs bonuses or stock options so it doesn't look like their salaries are really that high.
Don't worry about things you can't change or control
 
User avatar
Aeroflot777
Posts: 2985
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 2:19 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:13 am

Absolutely amazing. I respect him in every way. Unfortunately there are not enough people who stand up for who they are and actually speak up. Many stay silent until is it simply too late.  Sad

Aeroflot777
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:51 am

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 22):
Actually...he makes less then half a million. Lets take a quick look at the facts:

I wonder what HIS retirement portfolio looks like and what kind of other bennefits, like bonuses he'll get? I'm sure that he won't have to worry about a pay check, no matter what the size, after he retires. It seems that sometimes companies give execs bonuses or stock options so it doesn't look like their salaries are really that high.

Click on the Forbes link in my post. Better yet, here it is again: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/MIWE.html

According to that, no bonuses and no stock options. Also go to SEC.gov and look at their filings. All that is oulined there as well.

Quoting Ejmmsu (Reply 21):



Why is NW able to keep its pension, but DL is not, when they are in similar financial shape?

They aren't able to keep the pension. The accruals have been frozen, and as far as I know they are negotiating with the PBGC on the terms of the turnover.
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:54 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 24):

They aren't able to keep the pension. The accruals have been frozen, and as far as I know they are negotiating with the PBGC on the terms of the turnover.

If this is the case, you know something most of us don't, since I thought the change in pension laws was going to allow NW to keep their pension.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
Reggaebird
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 7:43 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:56 am

Well, the Delta pilots are not losing all of their pension benefits! Isn't the Pension Guaranty Trust (government) picking up where DL and United have left off? He may not get $1.2M but I bet he'll get at least half of that.

The other thing that people fail to remember is that Delta's pilots were among the highest compensated in the industry and held that position for the longest time!! DALPA did a helluva job getting them the best of everything over the years. Sadly, those days had to come to an end in the face of today's business world realities. Yes, Mullins and the other dude squandered a huge part of Delta's security cushion (they were able to lose ungodly amounts of money much longer than other carriers before filing for bankruptcy) but they have survived. It looks like their bankruptcy process will be shorter than their peers, which is another sign of Delta's fundamental strengths.

Though I feel bad for the pilots, they need to be thankful for what they had, what they have today and what they will, most likely, have tomorrow. In other words, they need to suck it up and pull together to nursee this great company back to full health.

Bravo to Mr. Grinstein and his team! I believe that history will show him to be more of an angel instead of the devil that some want to portray him as.

Reggaebird
 
incitatus
Posts: 2700
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:49 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:57 am

While some of the strong words in the text are warranted, I question the wisdom of the pilots at Delta as a group. Just a few months ago their threat to strike cost the airline 50+ million. But hey, it's easier to blame the CEO on "mahogany row" if one can't afford a Porsche anymore.
Stop pop up ads
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5271
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:12 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:59 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 20):
He's 75 with a resume a mile long...you think he needs a success story for turnaround credibility? Please...

Actually yes. Despite the mile long resume, if DL had liquidated, all of Grinstein's other business accomplishments would have meant little. The reality is that no one is more responsible for DL's downfall than Grinstein who stood by and watched as DL fell apart. Had Grinstein reacted faster, there's a chance DL might have avoided BK altogether.

DL's success or failure will be Grinstein's lasting legacy in the business world.

As for the pilot's letter, he is right on. But gee, certain other DL cheerleaders have told me all the employees are happy and treated well. Apparently not............
 
WesternA318
Posts: 4472
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:55 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:24 pm

Quoting Reggaebird (Reply 26):
Bravo to Mr. Grinstein and his team! I believe that history will show him to be more of an angel instead of the devil that some want to portray him as.

Amen to that, you have to remember Grinstein took over after Mullin and Michelle raped the airline. He's just pickingup the pieces and starting again. I remember reading somwhere about the turnaround he did at Western (focused on SLC, practically abandoned LAX, the 733's, 767 order, harmonious labor groups). It was amazing stuff he did for that airline, and they were on the brink as DL is today. For once, I have faith in DL's ability to get out of this mess.
Check out my blog at fl310travel.blogspot.com!
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:24 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Actually yes. Despite the mile long resume, if DL had liquidated, all of Grinstein's other business accomplishments would have meant little. The reality is that no one is more responsible for DL's downfall than Grinstein who stood by and watched as DL fell apart. Had Grinstein reacted faster, there's a chance DL might have avoided BK altogether.

As chairman, yes, as CEO...no.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
As for the pilot's letter, he is right on. But gee, certain other DL cheerleaders have told me all the employees are happy and treated well. Apparently not............

Please. No one has ever intimated that every single employee at DL is happy. And all I am saying is that while he certainly maybe right to write that letter to Grinstein, I would like to see the letter he wrote to his elected leadership at the MEC who were equally as culpable for the situation he is in. Given that 65% of them voted for the pension deal, he's in the minority in that crowd as well.
 
WesternA318
Posts: 4472
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:55 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:27 pm

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 30):
No one has ever intimated that every single employee at DL is happy

Isnt that how it is at every airline/corporation in the world?
Check out my blog at fl310travel.blogspot.com!
 
aerlingusa330
Posts: 224
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2000 6:40 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:31 pm

This CEO is a far cry from US Airways' CEO who declined his bonus last year for the sake of his company. DL is making US look good.
Shamrock 136 heavy cleared for takeoff runway niner.
 
rwsea
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:37 pm

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 11):
I'm not sure if he gained a whole lot...but I'm sure he's making a hell of a lot more $$$ as a CEO than this pilot is, or any other DL employee for that matter. I understand it's a complicated job to run a company and that he's probably facing constant scrutiny, but why does Grinstein, or any other CEO of any other company that's in financial trouble need to make millions vs. half a million for example? At least until the company is out of bankruptcy??! This alone would save a lot of $$$. This would also show the employees of any company, or DL in this case that their leader is also willing to give a little too

As with most other things in a capitalistic society, wages are dictated by the market. In the market, a CEO/CFO/COO and other management are worth more than pilots. It's that simple. You don't become a pilot because you want to make millions a year - it will never happen. If you want to make millions in the industry, the only way for it to even be possible is to go into management. If someone can't simply be happy in their job knowing that there will always be "management" above them, probably making more money, then they shouldn't enter the industry to begin with.

Quoting DeltaSFO (Reply 18):
Just another reminder of how deep and painful the sacrifices of DL employees have been.

Delta employees have been doing an outstanding job of running the airline--the best they've done in years.

Very true. A special bunch of people to deal with this sort of thing for years and still be there.

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 22):
I wonder what HIS retirement portfolio looks like and what kind of other bennefits, like bonuses he'll get? I'm sure that he won't have to worry about a pay check, no matter what the size, after he retires. It seems that sometimes companies give execs bonuses or stock options so it doesn't look like their salaries are really that high.

The guy is 75, he's obviously not working right now because he needs to save for retirement. Most pilots retire at what, 55 or 60?
 
User avatar
fxramper
Posts: 5837
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:57 pm

I had dinner tonight with my uncle, a Sr International AA Captain, FFDO, and Check Airman for 757/767 at AA. He told me what DL and the US Gov. did to the pilots at DL is disgusting. Getting rid of pensions? How unAmerican is that? While it fixes the short term problems of DL and their Chp 11, the longterm effects will be nothing but negative and felt across the entire commerical aviation industry.

He got requalifed in DEN for FFDO and was with a DL pilot. Last year the guy was 9000 something on the DL senority list, this year he was at 4000. That shows you the allegiance the DL pilots have for their company. The avg. age for a DL senior pilot is now 50! It's unlikely these days to find an oldtimer flying you on a DL route.

So sad.  no 
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:00 pm

Quoting AerLingusA330 (Reply 32):
This CEO is a far cry from US Airways' CEO who declined his bonus last year for the sake of his company. DL is making US look good.

Again, look at the links I provided. Grinstein hasn't taken any bonuses either. His base salary is about half of Parker's $650,000 salary. Parker also has stock options in the order of around 900,000 shares.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 33):
As with most other things in a capitalistic society, wages are dictated by the market.

And to build on that, the market median for a CEO's service in that sector is $1.99 million according to Forbes (hate to keep quoting them but they analyze this stuff).

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 33):
Very true. A special bunch of people to deal with this sort of thing for years and still be there.

Amen.
 
supa7E7
Posts: 1360
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:05 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:10 pm

Dear Mr. Grinstein,

Blah blah blah.

The pilot has failed to come to grips with his own naive views. Delta pilots destroyed a lot of American investors' assets! Delta's bankruptcy was basically a resucitation from a union-induced company death.

We all would like to believe someone is going to take care of us. This pilot thought he had it made, that the retirement promises they extracted from Delta by threatening to shut it down (!) were good as gold. They were not. It turned out deregulation, competition and low fares castrated Delta's ability to flood the DL Pilot Fund with money. Oh well. Is this his complaint?

If the DL pilot believes CEOs stole billions of dollars,nobody agrees with him. DL was a modestly profitable enterprise whose entire $ surplus went to above-normal pay rates for flight crews. Not to executives. Just do the math or shut up about it.

The pilot is crying over milk HE himself spilled, since pilot compensation was the main financial inflexibility in Delta's financial ledger. It's why Delta declared bankruptcy. They could not pay the pilots under any scenario imaginable.

So this pilot actually wishes for a completely different world reality 1984-2006 which did not actually happen. USSR still there, Berlin wall still there, ... and the Delta of this man's youth lived forever.

barf.
"Who's to say spaceships aren't fine art?" - Phil Lesh
 
jumbojet
Posts: 1037
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 3:01 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:18 pm

I dont work for Delta. in fact, I dont work for the airline industry but I am a unionized employee with a city pension and I can certainly feel the pain of all DL pilots. However, in reading all the posts on this topic, I have surmised that maybe Grinstien is taking the blame for all of DL's problems that have amounted over the years from bad management. Maybe, this pilot should be thanking Grinstien for saving the company from a much worse fate. It seems that without his efforts, DL would be in much worse shape. In fact, maybe this pilot should pen a letter to his union and to the guys that fumbled the ball and put DL in this position to begin with.

All I fly is DL and just want to say thanks to all DL employees for years of superb, entertaining and impeccable service.
 
brdcessna
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:14 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:18 pm

WOW I am speecheless.
 
centrair
Posts: 2845
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:44 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:27 pm

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 19):
CEO's as Doug Steenland ($1.46 million)

Crimey! Sorry to go off DL but...He should give $1 mill and it would certainly help the company.
Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:41 pm

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 36):
Delta pilots destroyed a lot of American investors' assets! Delta's bankruptcy was basically a resucitation from a union-induced company death.

Now hold on. I'm certainly not a fan of the way the union leadership has conducted itself, but DL's Chapter 11 issues were certainly NOT solely caused by the union. You had 9/11, a down turn in business and leisure travel, a war, a hurricane, oil prices at $78 per barrell, etc. High labor costs were certainly a majot contributor, but not the only contributor. The grip should be with the union's reaction when faced with all these facts.

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 36):
It turned out deregulation, competition and low fares castrated Delta's ability to flood the DL Pilot Fund with money. Oh well. Is this his complaint?

No, I think his complaint is that the plan was over funded as rcently as a few years ago, and then became underfunded to the point of having to be terminated. Why? A perfect storm of the above mentioned factors which drove down revenues, combined with record low interest rates and a stock market correction. He definitely has a gripe, but as another poster mentioned Grinstein isn't the cause of all this. He also ought to be directing a lot of those sentiments toward Lee Moak at al.
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:42 pm

Quoting Centrair (Reply 39):



Quoting Positiverate (Reply 19):
CEO's as Doug Steenland ($1.46 million)

Crimey! Sorry to go off DL but...He should give $1 mill and it would certainly help the company.

Yeah, I was shocked by that too. At least Grinstein took a pay cut when asking for wage concessions. Steenland's making a mint over there.
 
jacobin777
Posts: 12262
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 6:29 pm

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:47 pm

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 22):
I wonder what HIS retirement portfolio looks like and what kind of other bennefits, like bonuses he'll get? I'm sure that he won't have to worry about a pay check, no matter what the size, after he retires. It seems that sometimes companies give execs bonuses or stock options so it doesn't look like their salaries are really that high.

its like that with all companies..how many dot.bom companies or telecom companies or "tech" companies no longer exist, or the their stock is down 99%, yet the CEO's made off millions?

I know of too many..
"Up the Irons!"
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5155
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:49 pm

Just imagine if this wonderful pilot had instead been able to have his company make his pension contribution into a retirement account that HE OWNED and that was transferrable. It wouldn't be underfunded and it wouldn't be terminated. He'd have over a million dollars in an account in his own name someplace safe. Very very sad.
 
panamair
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:33 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
As for the pilot's letter, he is right on. But gee, certain other DL cheerleaders have told me all the employees are happy and treated well. Apparently not............

Of course not, in a company with over 50-60,000 employees? The pilot vote on the new contract passed with a 65% vote, of course there are people not happy with the contract...this pilot is one of the 35%? And IIRC, it was a pilot himself who wrote on this board that he thought that employees were now much happier than before....

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
The reality is that no one is more responsible for DL's downfall than Grinstein who stood by and watched as DL fell apart. Had Grinstein reacted faster, there's a chance DL might have avoided BK altogether.

Grinstein was the NON-EXECUTIVE Chairman from 1997 to 1999. Do you expect the Non-Executive Chairman to be involved in pilot negotiations? Mullin was also there longer than just 1997-1999...While we're at it, why don't we blame David Goode (former Norfolk Southern head), Edward Budd (former Travelers head), Domenico de Sole (Gucci), John F. Smith (former Chairman/CEO at GM), and a few others also on DL's board at the time (and still are)....maybe they should all have nailed Mullin for giving into Malone and his team for "United+1"?

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 41):
Steenland's making a mint over there.

Steenland has since taken a pay cut though I believe he did cash out on some of his options before Ch.11...The other guy to look at is Glenn Tilton who still brought home at least a million or two when UA was STILL in Ch.11....
 
redcordes
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 6:28 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:30 pm

Two of the most devestating things to happen to American labor in the last 20 years are a result of our Congress. Both of these favor the large-business owners:

--Businesses were allowed to use monies in their employees' pension plans (this was a huge travesty that was shoved up/down the little guy's orificies and was supposed to help him ultimately)

--When Reagan fired the ATC employees, he set a precedent whereby labor unions and groups of employees lost the right to truly bargain collectively, because replacement workers could now be hired. This trend has taken the longest to reach highly skilled, unionized labor (pilots, etc.), but has clearly cut deeply into all labor unions at this point. With one truly hypocritical exception: Ironically, as private-sector unions have been rendered impotent, our government-employee unions stood by, or participated and became stronger and stronger as those they were supposedly working for got screwed. Wouldn't it be nice if the taxpayers could higher replacement government workers. If a 50% savings can be realized in the private sector, imagine the amount of fat that could be trimmed from our government's payroll !

Sorry folks, that's Capitalism--a person-eat-person, global buffet!
"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
 
777Dad
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:35 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:00 pm

Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 13):
He HAD every right to write that letter and hopefully other pilots at DL will follow suite.

You my be right. However I feel many Pilots, especially younger ones will keep silent out of fear of repercussions.We should hope not.While a common bond and Masses could make a difference. There's quality in numbers.

Jeff  Smile
"I love to fly,I just don't do it enough"
 
bobnwa
Posts: 4463
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:10 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:14 pm

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 11):
but why does Grinstein, or any other CEO of any other company that's in financial trouble need to make millions vs. half a million for example? At least until the company is out of bankruptcy??

Can you give any proof that Grinstein has made millions? Quite a few of the replies have shown he didn't.
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5271
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:12 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:26 pm

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 30):
I would like to see the letter he wrote to his elected leadership at the MEC who were equally as culpable for the situation he is in.

Why? Is DALPA responsible for running the company? The buck stops with management and management failed. End of story.

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 30):
Given that 65% of them voted for the pension deal, he's in the minority in that crowd as well.

Not really. Most pilots don't like this deal, but they have no other choice. DL is in BK and would terminate the plan no matter what.

Quoting Panamair (Reply 44):
Do you expect the Non-Executive Chairman to be involved in pilot negotiations? Mullin was also there longer than just 1997-1999

Of course not. This has nothing to do with pilot negotiations. It has to do with years of mismanagement that led DL to the place where they had to terminate the pension plan. Grinstein (and the rest of the board) sat back and watched as Allen and Mullin destroyed the company.
 
georgiaame
Posts: 951
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:55 am

RE: A Pilot's Letter To Delta CEO Grinstein

Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:45 pm

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 45):
Sorry folks, that's Capitalism--a person-eat-person, global buffet!

Which is why we have the highest standard of living on the planet. If socialism and unions are your forte, please, try France or Germany, with an unemployment rate of 11+%, and a host of other social issues.

Yes, the company was wrecked; I don't question that for a moment. But even so, the wretchedly impoverished pilots still work a 14 day month, and make one hell of a good salary to boot, reduced in recent years to be sure. Wish I could do as poorly in this "person-eat-person global buffet". And Grinstein seems to be doing a hell of a good job, as the lowest paid airline CEO in the business.
"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero