LAXintl
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United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:04 pm

United Airlines informed the IAM of its decision to contract out ramp and station work at CVG, GRR, ROC, ALB, MDT, and TUS stations effective October 15th. The winning bidder for the work was American Eagle.

Per IAM, the cost savings to United of removing their own employees and turning over the work at these stations to a vendor was about 35%, a threshold the union was unable to match.

The 225 effected workers will be considered eligible for the recently announced early out program.

union release:
http://www.iam141.org/docs/071913.pdf

=
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
apodino
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:06 pm

Kind of related...but I saw a stat this week which indicated that over 70 percent of all UA destinations in the US are only served by express and no mainline at all. This has to be the highest percentage of any carrier in the US.
 
UALFAson
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:38 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
Kind of related...but I saw a stat this week which indicated that over 70 percent of all UA destinations in the US are only served by express and no mainline at all. This has to be the highest percentage of any carrier in the US.

Wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. It certainly feels like, domestically, unless you're flying between hubs or NYC to Florida, you're going to be on a RJ, probably a 50-seater. It's almost like UA domestic exists solely to feed international flights, and I wonder if that's a sustainable model for the long-term. I know that during the recent earnings call, there was some concern that UA is still shrinking domestically while its competitors are either flat or growing slightly.

When they retired the 737s pre-merger, was there any sort of plan to backfill that lost capacity or was the idea just to rely on UAX for whatever they could get?

I know its anecdotal, but there have been a couple of times this year I've forgone the MileagePlus miles (and enjoying my elite status) to fly another carrier just because I refuse to be on a RJ for 3+ hours.

On topic, sorry to see the mainline UA employees let go. I get that it's cheaper to outsource labor to a third-party, but how does that jive with the company's supposed new-focus on "customer service"? Yeah, people who work for a competing airline are totally going to go above and beyond for UA's customers. *eyeball roll*
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brilondon
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:48 pm

This doesn't surprise me at all. UA has been trying to reduce costs with the merger and the ability to do so to try to reduce costs through reducing the unionized membership is one of their options. You can't tell me that it is a surprise that they are trying to lower their costs. Will this affect the service that the public sees? If it doesn't, then it will probably be only the union that sees the effects.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:51 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
Kind of related...but I saw a stat this week which indicated that over 70 percent of all UA destinations in the US are only served by express and no mainline at all. This has to be the highest percentage of any carrier in the US.

Looking at this month it's 66% for DOT reportable flights, 49.9% for the total system.
 
LAXintl
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:40 pm

Quoting UALFAson (Reply 2):
When they retired the 737s pre-merger, was there any sort of plan to backfill that lost capacity or was the idea just to rely on UAX for whatever they could get?

It was really UAX, and ability to shrink the domestic network.

Remember UA was loosing big money, and the 737 grounding was one part of a larger fundemental shift at the carrier, which eventually saw things rightsized and generating profits again.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
LAXintl
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:50 pm

Quoting UALFAson (Reply 2):
On topic, sorry to see the mainline UA employees let go. I get that it's cheaper to outsource labor to a third-party, but how does that jive with the company's supposed new-focus on "customer service"? Yeah, people who work for a competing airline are totally going to go above and beyond for UA's customers. *eyeball roll*

Having worked extensively in the ground handling world, I can tell you ground handlers can provide better performance than inhouse staff many times.

Handlers can be held to a host of high performance standards, and face everything from penalties to eventual loss of the contract if they don't uphold service delivery.

I can also attest that various metrics such as ontime turn times, attributed lost/damaged bags, ticketing errors, customer scores, injuries, ground damage, etc can be better with handlers than inhouse.

So contracting out should not become some euphemism for downgrade in service at all. Its up to the airline to police their vendors, and with the right relationship it can certainly be a very positive experience.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
codc10
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
So contracting out should not become some euphemism for downgrade in service at all. Its up to the airline to police their vendors, and with the right relationship it can certainly be a very positive experience.

Provided that the customer-facing employees (CSRs and such) are adequately trained on the airline's systems, policies and procedures to service customers, especially during IRROPS. It's a lose-lose situation at stations with primarily regional ops and poorly-trained outsourced staff above the wing, as those operations are generally more susceptible to delays/cancellations for ATC and weather issues.
 
azstar
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:57 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Handlers can be held to a host of high performance standards, and face everything from penalties to eventual loss of the contract if they don't uphold service delivery.

That is generally not the case at UA. From a customer perspective, IMO, it's a bad business model to outsource your customer service, the most visible and important component of any company, to the lowest bidder. While there are many poorly performing UA employees as well, there is little incentive for the "contracted" employee to care whether the passenger has a good experience or a terrible one. And there is less incentive to stay if you are paid poorly.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:00 pm

Quoting azstar (Reply 8):
to the lowest bidder.

Why does everyone assume it goes to the lowest bidder? Usually it is not the lowest bidder that wins in these things, but there is compromise between CSat, Cost, operational integrity etc. Most stations have 4+ bidders with a range of prices and UA has relationships with most major ground handlers in the US so they know what results they can expect from each.
 
T5towbar
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:44 pm

So lets outsource everything then. Give all the work including the hubs to DGS and AE.
Pay them squat and when one loses the contract, the other comes in and cuts the pay (back to new starting wages) of the existing employees. Wash; Rinse; Repeat, the cycle goes on. Then you won't have any United employees by name. Is that what you want it to come to?

Ground handling companies have their place, but when you try and replace us because you think that they can do a better job for a lot less money and what they pay their people. Well you and I part company. When I was hired many years ago, the pay was lousy (we started at very low wages) but a manager told us that we get paid what the market will bear. Well has it come to no mainline employees will ever work for an airline besides pilots and flight attendants.

Go IAH, GO!!!!!
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apodino
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:47 pm

Quoting azstar (Reply 8):

That is generally not the case at UA. From a customer perspective, IMO, it's a bad business model to outsource your customer service, the most visible and important component of any company, to the lowest bidder. While there are many poorly performing UA employees as well, there is little incentive for the "contracted" employee to care whether the passenger has a good experience or a terrible one. And there is less incentive to stay if you are paid poorly.

Exactly.....and UA is having some major problems on the customer service side of things at the moment. Outsourcing ops below the wing is one thing, but above the wing where you are the most visible is ridiculous, not to mention that when you get employees that don't care and are cheap, your quality goes way way down. And with almost 70 percent of the United Domestic stations not even served by mainline, it is becoming increasingly likely that when you fly UA domestically, you will not deal with one United Airlines employee at all, in Customer Service or on the Airplane. (Though ORD is all UA on both sides, and I believe IAD above the wing was just brought in house as well)
 
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crj900lr
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:49 am

So does this mean that American Eagle is also going to work the American Eagle flights in MDT? Currently I believe Piedmont does the work.
 
TW870
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:06 am

There is a lot of talk in the media about "restoring the middle class" and "creating jobs". This is one clear, specific example of where the middle class jobs are going. With this deal you will take 250 jobs that pay a relatively decent wage, and replace them with jobs that pay far less.

I do not, however, want to make a negative comment about the actual people who work at outsourced stations, as I see subcontracted customer service agents do efficient, smart work all across the United system.

United's biggest problem is its immense inconsistency, as it can either be the best or by far the worst airline in the U.S. I always avoid United unless I have work in SFO, as in almost all other cases you will endure long flights on 50-seaters, and deal with extremely overworked customer service staff. The latest news just makes it worse.
 
LAXintl
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:33 am

Quoting azstar (Reply 8):
That is generally not the case at UA.

Then shame on UA for not policing and managing their vendors well then.

Quoting azstar (Reply 8):
it's a bad business model to outsource your customer service, the most visible and important component of any company, to the lowest bidder.

You realize some of the best names in customer service airlines in the world - Emirates, Singapore, Swiss, BA, etc contract out work at most non-hub stations? Some even do so at their home base !

I've seen performance metric scores at and regularly have seen vendor stations perform better than inhouse staffed ones.

So there is no set rule to say its bad business to contract out front end positions. Its all a matter of finding and managing the vendor appropriately.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 9):
Why does everyone assume it goes to the lowest bidder? Usually it is not the lowest bidder that wins in these things, but there is compromise between CSat, Cost, operational integrity etc. Most stations have 4+ bidders with a range of prices and UA has relationships with most major ground handlers in the US so they know what results they can expect from each.

  

Most recently with the push for multiple stations packaged deals it is often indeed a compromise of price, capability, and leveraging relationships. If it was simply price, you would have more contracts go to ACME ground services at the individual stations.

Quoting T5towbar (Reply 10):
but a manager told us that we get paid what the market will bear.

Absolutely, and that is the way things should be.

As a consumer you dont want to be asked to overpay for products and services you consume, and neither should an airline have to pay much above market norms for its own services.


Quoting apodino (Reply 11):
but above the wing where you are the most visible is ridiculous, not to mention that when you get employees that don't care and are cheap, your quality goes way way down.

Its hardly ridiculous .

Contract handling is the norm around the world and practiced by top brand airlines from one continent to another.

I don't hear folks complain the Singapore Airlines home hub is not staffed by their own employees. Or that of Emirates in Dubai.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
MAH4546
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:36 am

American Eagle doesn't even fly to ALB, but does ground handling there still?
a.
 
mtnwest1979
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:47 am

Quoting T5towbar (Reply 10):
Well has it come to no mainline employees will ever work for an airline besides pilots and flight attendants.

Probably won't be long until an inflight attendant company comes along. If I had the $$$ to try it, I certainly would give it a whirl. I don't agree with it, but if there is $$ to be made, may as well be me. I don;t think it would be too difficult to achieve. Just wait a few years.....
Same goes for 24 hr daycare. Don't care much for kids, but there has to be a demand for it somewhere. Although I wouldn't work there lol.
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seatback
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:56 am

So does this mean the same AE ground staff handleing AE flights at CVG will walk down and handle UX flights too? Or, are there separate employees for both airlines?
 
TUSAA
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:07 am

There are two separate AE divisions doing ground handling work. You have the regular AE employees who get full benefits, and you have American Eagle Ground Handling Services in which there are no benefits of any kind, just minimum wage and that's it. Im not sure which unit is in which station, but I know they were used in quite a few of AA's outsourced stations over the last year. AE also works UA Express at DAL.
 
commavia
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:26 am

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 15):
American Eagle doesn't even fly to ALB, but does ground handling there still?

As is relatively common with the regional airlines that also have substantial ground handling operations (and Eagle's is huge), Eagle does provide ground handling services in stations where Eagle, itself, does not actually operate. Indeed, as many have suggested, the future of American Eagle as a legal entity may well be as a ground handler, which seems to be an area where Eagle has grown dramatically in recent years.
 
shaq
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:26 am

This is my opinion:
I don't see a problem with UA outsourcing this stations, because most of them have one or two mainline flights. So it's not necessary to have ramp and gate employees just for one flight.

I'll ask something to people that think that UA is the wicked airline because it outsource to companies who pay min. wage.
Do you expect to make a living and have a family being a ramper? We need to live and see the present. You can't ask for skilled wage, if your work is unskilled.
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m11stephen
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:39 am

Quoting SHAQ (Reply 20):
Do you expect to make a living and have a family being a ramper? We need to live and see the present. You can't ask for skilled wage, if your work is unskilled.

  It's sad but very true... Ramp agents and CSAs are NOT skilled positions. I have worked as a CSA and I would have felt I was well compensated had I been making $10/hour.

Quoting TUSAA (Reply 18):
There are two separate AE divisions doing ground handling work. You have the regular AE employees who get full benefits, and you have American Eagle Ground Handling Services in which there are no benefits of any kind, just minimum wage and that's it. Im not sure which unit is in which station, but I know they were used in quite a few of AA's outsourced stations over the last year. AE also works UA Express at DAL.

I think all American Eagle employees get flight benefits... Whether you work United Express or American/Eagle flights. If you don't get flight benefits I don't know why anyone would work there.
My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
 
USAirALB
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:11 am

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 15):
American Eagle doesn't even fly to ALB, but does ground handling there still?

Weird. US uses Piedmont, DL has there own employees at ALB, IIRC, and WN is WN.
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mtnwest1979
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:35 am

Quoting SHAQ (Reply 20):
Do you expect to make a living and have a family being a ramper? We need to live and see the present. You can't ask for skilled wage, if your work is unskilled.

I would say most would say yes. What should it be? A job that is one of three that someone has 'ciz they can't make enough to live on?
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
 
SurfandSnow
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:14 am

Didn't PMUA have a contractual obligation to retain their own staff at any station seeing mainline service at least 6 months of the year? IIRC, announcements like this were a precursor to UA withdrawing all mainline service (for the majority of the year, anyway).

At first I assumed this meant that these stations were all going to lose UA mainline service. However, a quick check of FlightStats shows that UA mainline is completely gone from CVG and TUS, whilst ALB, MDT, and ROC each have 1 daily mainline flight to ORD and GRR has a whopping 2 daily mainline flights (1x daily DEN-GRR/1x daily ORD-GRR, 2x daily GRR-ORD). I guess this move has nothing to do with losing UA mainline - anymore?
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
blueflyer
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:26 am

Quoting apodino (Reply 11):
it is becoming increasingly likely that when you fly UA domestically, you will not deal with one United Airlines employee at all, in Customer Service or on the Airplane.

It is very likely that when you fly in with United from outside the US, you will not deal with one United Airlines employee until you step on the plane. United may have a handful of people at the airport (and I do mean a handful, not two handfuls) and possibly a handful in an office downtown working sales, but the agents you'll encounter will in all likelihood all work for the local handler. When they're done working your flight, they'll go on to another gate and fulfill the same role for Qatar Airways, then perhaps British Airways and finish their day sending off passengers on Cathay Pacific.

The outsourcing of outstation staff is very common outside the US. While I understand the labor issues, it was just a matter of time before it started catching on here as well. I don't have specific information about United but I know of other, well known, award-winning carriers that send a wide-body or two a day to cities where they simply have no staff at all, and service does not necessarily suffer.
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lhcvg
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:37 am

Quoting Surfandsnow (Reply 24):
At first I assumed this meant that these stations were all going to lose UA mainline service. However, a quick check of FlightStats shows that UA mainline is completely gone from CVG and TUS, whilst ALB, MDT, and ROC each have 1 daily mainline flight to ORD and GRR has a whopping 2 daily mainline flights (1x daily DEN-GRR/1x daily ORD-GRR, 2x daily GRR-ORD). I guess this move has nothing to do with losing UA mainline - anymore?

I can only speak to CVG, but I remember hearing a rumor that they were canning mainline just long enough to kill the mainline ground staff at CVG. There was something in the contract that if no mainline flies to a station for x time, they can dump the mainline handlers and go with an outsourced crew. According to said rumor/theory, they can bring back mainline in some limited capacity and just have it handled by these outsourced staff.

US at least used to have an arrangement at CMH where they were allowed to fly some small number of mainline flights per day into that station with an all-USX handling crew. They are/were allowed under their contract to do so as long as they don't exceed a certain number of mainline flights a day. Unfortunately I think this is the way of the future for these stations that do see SOME mainline, but where the level of mainline traffic is just simply not there to justify the expense.
 
F9Animal
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:04 am

How to save billions, and make the airline profitable. ... Outsource management and execs! The "market" as most have mentioned, has plenty of qualified individuals looking for work. Plenty that would work for half the salary. Plenty of skilled labor out there, that would actually do their jobs. Why not try it?

How do you define a failed management structure? Simple..... Bankruptcy for one, and losses for another. A loss is every managers doing. Want to be profitable? Outsource management! Or replace them with competent job searchers. UA has plenty of leaders that do not deserve the positions they hold. Why do the real workers that run the airline always have to be the victims of piss poor leadership?
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LAXintl
Topic Author
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:15 am

Quoting F9animal (Reply 27):
Outsource management and execs! The "market" as most have mentioned, has plenty of qualified individuals looking for work. Plenty that would work for half the salary. Plenty of skilled labor out there, that would actually do their jobs. Why not try it?

Actually US airline management is woefully underpaid compared to other industries.

If anything airlines need to pay much more to get the best and brightest out of US business schools and be able attract talent away from other industries.
When you have things like financial sector offering 6-digit starting pay to college seniors, who wants to come play at an airline in a lowly analyst position for mid 5-digit pay. The divergence gets even worse as you move up the ranks.

Its actually a rather sad state that such a large and capital intensive sector cant attract or retain much new executive blood due to low pay and relative big headaches.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:31 am

Does anybody but me think it's strange that UA is going to rely on a direct competitor to do their ground handling?

I understand outsourcing to reduce costs, but couldnt they do the outsourcing under the banner of Expressjet/Skywest/TransStates, i.e. a carrier with whom they already have an express contract with, versus a competing airline? As someone who admittedly does not work in the airline industry, it seems to defy logic.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
m11stephen
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:42 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 29):
I understand outsourcing to reduce costs, but couldnt they do the outsourcing under the banner of Expressjet/Skywest/TransStates, i.e. a carrier with whom they already have an express contract with, versus a competing airline? As someone who admittedly does not work in the airline industry, it seems to defy logic.

ExpressJet no longer does ground handling... At one time they handled something like 78 cities for Continental but gradually lost stations to DGS, Regional Elite, Eagle, etc. and closed their last two stations in December 2012. Ironically, all six of these stations in discussion were stations handled by ExpressJet (On the S-CO side) and were lost to Eagle about a year ago. ExpressJet agents were terrific and were very dedicated to their company and UA/CO. Trans States hasn't done ground handling in years... I believe they only ever did ground handling for American. SkyWest still has a substantial ground handling operation for United out west however it seems like they really aren't interested in expanding it (They lost about 16 UA stations a year ago).
My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
 
tcfc424
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:49 am

Having worked as a cross-utilized CSR for PMUA, I can say that the service that can be delivered (notice CAN) is far superior to that of a ground handling company. Below the wing is definitely less-invasive as above the wing, but there are cases to be made on both sides. One of the reasons I no longer work for United is that I was disenchanted with the work of some of my colleagues. Unions have their place, but they are also, unfortunately, a place for lack-luster performers to remain.

My crew was relatively young, new to the airline, excited about our job, and ready to fill in wherever needed at a moment's notice. The other shifts were much more jaded, having been through BK, mergers, and the like. They were bitter, unwilling, and in some cases, unable to perform their duties. Obviously, that doesn't mean that all, or even most were that way...but there were a good number.

In a perfect world, an employee has loyalty to the company for which they work, and, in-turn the company shows loyalty to the employee. The latter has been lacking in the airline world for some time. I was one of the most junior employees at my station, yet I was 1 of only 5 that could perform all of our functions above and below the wing in a station of 85. When they were talking about layoffs, I would have been the first to be let go. That's not a sustainable business model.

The ground handling person above made some very clear points. A non-unionized group can be held to a higher level of accountability with less risk and with less red tape. They can hire and fire as needed. And based on performance. In my time, I saw many (airline employees) that should have been at least disciplined for their lack of performance, however in a unionized environment, that becomes "not worth it." That's a huge problem and a big advantage to outsourced labor. At the same time, recruiting quality workers in an outsourced environment can be very challenging. The pay is lower, there are little, if any flight benefits, and a myriad of requirements to work for an airline handling company.

Working next to an airline that utilized several ground-handling companies, I can tell you that I would much rather have airline employees handling my stuff than the people working for the contractor. I saw some atrocities on the ramp conducted by the contractors, but then, they had little motivation to care...other than to keep their $7.35/hr part-time job.

Unions have their place, and they can function WITH the airline, but from my experience, they are too busy filling their coffers and protecting low-performers to worry about providing the best product to their employer. In similar words to JFK, ask not what your airline can do for you, but what you can do for your airline. Provide a high-quality product reliably and for a reasonable price, and you will remain in place. Provide a lower quality product unreliably and for a high price (both monetarily and procedurally) and find yourself looking for work.
 
Buddys747
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:54 am

Quoting crj900lr (Reply 12):
So does this mean that American Eagle is also going to work the American Eagle flights in MDT? Currently I believe Piedmont does the work.


I can't say with 100% certainty, but my last flight MDT-CLE, it appeared the ground staff was a bunch of young college girls and they were using AE equipment. I assumed it was left over from when AE pulled out of MDT in 2008. Since AE's return, Piedmont handles those flights. Strange?. All the sCO dash8 flights depart from A2, while all the sUA flights leave from the B concourse. Only recently has the one mainline switched from A320 to 738, however sUA handles that flight also. So I'm assuming the current sCO contracted ground crew might be taking over the UA flights.
Sad to see this happen once again. Hopefully some of the folks at MDT can retire, some of them have been there forever.
 
VgnAtl747
Posts: 1333
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2001 3:59 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:05 pm

Quoting UALFAson (Reply 2):
When they retired the 737s pre-merger, was there any sort of plan to backfill that lost capacity or was the idea just to rely on UAX for whatever they could get?

Ironically, RDU went from frequently seeing CO 737s and UA 320's. Now it's rare to see them. Beyond the RDU-SFO flight and a very occasional IAD service, everything is ERJ and Q400. Of the 36 segments I've flown so far this year, only maybe 4 have been on anything other than regional equipment. They're all packed, and they all sell out weeks before, but apparently that's all we get.
Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines
 
oosnowrat
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:55 pm

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:24 pm

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 30):

OO just restructured their customer service department - including pay cuts - in an effort to be more competitive in the ground handling business. I'd say they're still interested.
 
norcal
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 1:44 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:25 pm

Quoting F9animal (Reply 27):

How to save billions, and make the airline profitable. ... Outsource management and execs! The "market" as most have mentioned, has plenty of qualified individuals looking for work. Plenty that would work for half the salary. Plenty of skilled labor out there, that would actually do their jobs. Why not try it?

Exactly, they are all overpaid and reward themselves bonuses regardless of how well or poorly the company does

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
Actually US airline management is woefully underpaid compared to other industries.

No, America overpays its executives. It's not a market based system but one that is based off of cronyism. All of these guys serve on each other's boards and collectively decide they are worth far more then they really are.

Average CEO compensation has increased 1000% since 1950. Companies aren't doing a 1000% better so we are way over paying for executives.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...to-worker-pay-ratio_n_3184623.html
http://gawker.com/5928298/its-time-to-tie-executive-pay-to-worker-pay
 
mcdu
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:26 pm

I am not totally aware of the new UA outsourcing as it compares to DL. From what I gather isn't the UA similar to what DL does in its out stations?

If the goal is to make UA competitive with DL and this is the industry standard I understand what the company is trying to achieve. The pilots and mechanics have had their numbers slashed via outsourcing since 9/11. Perhaps what is happening now should have been done during BK.
 
hohd
Posts: 524
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:34 pm

UA is the master of RJs. I am not surprised 70% of the flights are now non-mainline. Even from EWR and IAH, the majority are now in RJs. You have RJs to large cities like ATL, DTW, STL, MSP. There is no chance of upgrades on the RJs. They are cutting costs to the bone. I dont know how DL and WN and even AA are making it with more mainline flights.
 
T5towbar
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:06 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:04 pm

Quoting oosnowrat (Reply 34):
OO just restructured their customer service department - including pay cuts - in an effort to be more competitive in the ground handling business. I'd say they're still interested.

It's called "whipsaw". I heard the same thing that OO ground employees have to take a major paycut, because they would lose contracts to "lower" paying outfits. That's a shame because you are as only good as your next contract. The race to the bottom continues. Probably AE (which is more of a ground handler now than a airline) or DGS. Two direct competitiors.

Quoting tcfc424 (Reply 31):
The ground handling person above made some very clear points. A non-unionized group can be held to a higher level of accountability with less risk and with less red tape. They can hire and fire as needed. And based on performance. In my time, I saw many (airline employees) that should have been at least disciplined for their lack of performance, however in a unionized environment, that becomes "not worth it." That's a huge problem and a big advantage to outsourced labor. At the same time, recruiting quality workers in an outsourced environment can be very challenging. The pay is lower, there are little, if any flight benefits, and a myriad of requirements to work for an airline handling company.

That's not necessarily true in all cases. Even if you are in a non-union environment, which I was in, it was and is still based on the seniority system. If you work for an airline, it is based on that system, unless you go into management. All other work groups go by the seniority system, so last hired - first fired. It's sad, but that's what they tell you from Day One. The problem mainly with outsourced labor is the high turnover. (I'm not saying all - I'm quite sure that the companies that do the international airlines ATW/BTW pay much more) Even if you want to stick it out, once you lose your contract, another company comes in and offer to rehire you, but at a much lower "starting" wage. Even if you are experienced at your job. So even that is sort of based on the seniority system as well.

Bottom line is some stations will get outsourced. Most people in smaller line stations are senior. But when you are talking about larger line stations (where mainline flies above a certain threshold) and the hubs, well that is a serious problem and that will be fought.
A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11516
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:14 pm

Quoting mcdu (Reply 36):
I am not totally aware of the new UA outsourcing as it compares to DL. From what I gather isn't the UA similar to what DL does in its out stations?

It's hard to compare. The rule at DL is effectively that any station with more than 50 weekly mainline (or maybe mainline plus large RJ) NW departures as of roughly late 2006 is handled in-house because that was the rule at PMNW and at the time of the merger, any station that has in-house handling from either carrier remained in-house and NW was much more heavily in-house. (The only exceptions to this, I think, are JFK, CVG and maybe SLC, which would have been under NW's threhold and are obviously handled in-house). But that means that stations like BNA--which saw lots of NW DC-9 and Airbus filghts in that time period--are handled by DL today.

Of course, post-737 retirement, very few UA stations have more than 50 weekly mainline flights, so even though UA has a much tighter rule about mainline flights being handled in-house, I think the net effect is probably that there are UA employees at fewer stations.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2827
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:39 pm

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 25):
you will not deal with one United Airlines employee until you step on the plane.

Unless you deal with the supervisor, then yes. But UA almost always has a UA supervisor there at international stations.

Quoting F9animal (Reply 27):
How to save billions, and make the airline profitable. ... Outsource management and execs!
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
Actually US airline management is woefully underpaid compared to other industries.
Quoting norcal (Reply 35):
No, America overpays its executives.

"Executives" is not the same thing as "management". CEO's may be overpaid, but I assure you I am not.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 29):
Does anybody but me think it's strange that UA is going to rely on a direct competitor to do their ground handling?

Remember this is American Eagle, and not AA proper. Also, think that they are getting spun off shortly.
 
T5towbar
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:06 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:47 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 40):
Remember this is American Eagle, and not AA proper. Also, think that they are getting spun off shortly.

The airline portion will be dead. But the ground handling division will expand. And as of now they are still under the AMR umbrella. I don't know what the new merged corp. name will be, but they won't give it up if it is profitable.

DGS is still DL. They own them.

Still all in all direct competitors working UA flights.........
A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:52 pm

Quoting T5towbar (Reply 41):
Still all in all direct competitors working UA flights.........

I get your point, and understand the skepticism. But I have worked directly with the folks responsible for the UA contracts and they are not messing around. The way UA has set the contracts up includes a Bonus/Penalty system for performance metrics and the stations take this very seriously.
 
apodino
Posts: 3030
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:48 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 42):

I get your point, and understand the skepticism. But I have worked directly with the folks responsible for the UA contracts and they are not messing around. The way UA has set the contracts up includes a Bonus/Penalty system for performance metrics and the stations take this very seriously.

This has created issues in some cities where the contractor ground handles multiple companies. I flew UA out of ATW recently, and the inbound flight on EV landed early and they did everything right. However the ground handler in ATW is DGS, who also handles Delta. Delta had a DTW flight departing at the same time the UA flight got into ATW. DGS staffs the station to handle both carriers, so all the people in ATW were busy handling the DL flight. Because of this the EV flight had to wait 20 minutes to get marshalled into the gate. The outbound flight to ORD ended up being delayed as a result of this, and I nearly misconnected in ORD as a result. And in a lot of smaller stations where one ground handler ends up winning all the ground handling contracts...this is becoming the norm.

To the poster who mentioned how DL and WN do it with more mainline when UA was 70 percent express. My only response to that is that even though UA reported a Q2 profit, the prior quarters were all losses for UA, but DL and WN were reporting profits. The way UA is going with everything becoming express domestically, and other airlines moving away from this slightly (US, AA, and DL), this is going to put them at a competitve disadvantage because passengers now know who to fly to get the mainline planes, and it also puts UA at the risk of becoming what Pan Am was around the time of Deregulation (Great international network, but Domestic network to feed it smallish)
 
Rdh3e
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:58 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 43):
(Great international network, but Domestic network to feed it smallish)

Delta currently serves 224 domestic destinations: http://news.delta.com/index.php?s=18&cat=47
United serves 228 domestic destinations: http://www.unitedcontinentalholdings...file=united_factsheet.pdf&type=pdf

Tell me again about "smallish domestic feed".
 
apodino
Posts: 3030
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 44):

Tell me again about "smallish domestic feed".

I stand by what I said. Yes they may fly to 228 cities in this country, but nearly 150 of these cities only see United Express service, and not United Airlines service. Because of the way ground delay programs work in this country, United will give the regional partners worse delays because they want to protect their own flights and make their numbers look good. This causes many passengers to misconnect, and because many international cities only have one or two departures a day, these passengers often won't make it to their destination. This is not just limited to United, but they are the worst at it. United relies on other people to provide them with their international feed much of the time, where as airlines such as Delta, although they do outsource plenty, they also provide a lot more of their own lift.
 
FAT5DEP
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:26 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:58 pm

My father-in-law received this book on his 2nd anniversary as an employee with United. The book is called High Horizons by Frank J. Taylor. Here are some interesting excerpts in the book from a former United president.

///

Patterson in 1944

“In dealing with our employes there is one economic theory we threw to the winds 15 years ago-the theory that labor is a commodity. Employes are human beings and cannot be treated as a commodity. We use the usual methods of selection and training but our basic philosophy, as directors and management, is that capital cannot be put to useful accomplishment unless there are human beings to execute the basic idea for which that capital was provided. We also recognize the fact that employes cannot be gainfully occupied without capital. Therefore, we have an inseparable partnership.”

“I think it is unfortunate that our government adopted in legislation the term ’collective bargaining.’ What is a bargain in the usual sense? It is getting something for less than what it is worth, and less than you expected to pay. My conscience would not permit me to complete a bargain with our employes. It is unfortunate that the phraseology of our National Labor Relations Act is such that its very words tend to promote suspicion.”


In the Patterson scheme of things, employes are infinitely more valuable than machines. “The United family is not only United’s greatest asset,” he has said repeatedly. “It is our only asset that is irreplaceable.”

///

Certainly, things are much different today.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
 
N908AW
Posts: 864
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:05 pm

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:56 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 43):
This has created issues in some cities where the contractor ground handles multiple companies. I flew UA out of ATW recently, and the inbound flight on EV landed early and they did everything right. However the ground handler in ATW is DGS, who also handles Delta. Delta had a DTW flight departing at the same time the UA flight got into ATW. DGS staffs the station to handle both carriers, so all the people in ATW were busy handling the DL flight. Because of this the EV flight had to wait 20 minutes to get marshalled into the gate. The outbound flight to ORD ended up being delayed as a result of this, and I nearly misconnected in ORD as a result. And in a lot of smaller stations where one ground handler ends up winning all the ground handling contracts...this is becoming the norm.

Vendors in this case do have to watch out. For one, they may see the bill at the end of the day if mishandling (or in this case failing to handle) results in a delay requiring compensation (IIRC some contracts do penalize the station for this). But if that doesn't happen...somebody else will eventually get the contract. So if you are asserting (and you aren't the only one) that DGS purposefully sabotages/disregards non-DL operations (as an example) - I think the threat of losing the contract, as well as the threat of getting hit with soft cost penalties downline, limits how much this happens. Plus, consider the fact that DGS handles United in a handful of cities, but Skywest handles DL in other cities (I think), and Piedmont handles DL in other cities...so, theoretically, DGS management isn't likely to go around openly advocating for causing delays on other carriers.

Like you said, this is becoming the norm and it stands to reason it will only get more prominent post-AA/US merger. I suspect AA will learn the same thing Delta did - it makes no sense to have two regional ground handlers (Regional Elite/DGS) under one roof. Eagle and Piedmont in all likelihood will not co-exist for very long (even if Eagle gets spun-off). So I think a couple more stations will play magical vendors again where there are small US and/or AA operations.
'Cause you're on ATA again, and on ATA, you're on vacation!
 
OB1504
Posts: 3019
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:20 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 14):
You realize some of the best names in customer service airlines in the world - Emirates, Singapore, Swiss, BA, etc contract out work at most non-hub stations? Some even do so at their home base !

I've seen performance metric scores at and regularly have seen vendor stations perform better than inhouse staffed ones.

So there is no set rule to say its bad business to contract out front end positions. Its all a matter of finding and managing the vendor appropriately.

I'm not sure if Swiss is the best example considering the historical relationship between LX/SR and Swissport. It's not the typical ground handling company.

Quoting seatback (Reply 17):
So does this mean the same AE ground staff handleing AE flights at CVG will walk down and handle UX flights too? Or, are there separate employees for both airlines?

I think it depends on whether the flight times cross and if the customer airline will even allow the contracted employees to "double-dip". For example, AA at MIA does not permit its contracted employees to work for other airlines.

Quoting TUSAA (Reply 18):
There are two separate AE divisions doing ground handling work. You have the regular AE employees who get full benefits, and you have American Eagle Ground Handling Services in which there are no benefits of any kind, just minimum wage and that's it. Im not sure which unit is in which station, but I know they were used in quite a few of AA's outsourced stations over the last year. AE also works UA Express at DAL.

   I just hope the new outsourced employees will work directly for MQ if only for the travel benefits.

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 21):
I think all American Eagle employees get flight benefits... Whether you work United Express or American/Eagle flights. If you don't get flight benefits I don't know why anyone would work there.

As mentioned above, AEGS employees do not receive flight benefits and the airline's career site is very clear about this. I agree that, if not for the flight benefits, I have no idea why someone would put themselves through the stress and general thanklessness of working in the airline industry for $10/hour.
 
User avatar
Schweigend
Posts: 467
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RE: United Outsources ALB, CVG, GRR, MDT, ROC, & TUS

Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:18 am

I wonder, could UA outsource part of its ground handling to itself -- à la DL and DGS?

Delta Global Services, so far as I am aware, are wholly owned by Delta Air Lines. DGS rampers whom I've met have told me that they make $10-11 an hour, and have online flight privileges only -- that is, they can fly standby at the employee rate only on DL or the airline they happen to be handling, and when they do, they are far down on the standby list.

While I can see UA outsourcing certain outstations' ramp ops, they should at least keep ATO -- ticket counter, above the wing -- functions in-house if they can, for Customer Facing employees can make a big difference, if they are motivated by the company they work for.

The Hubs, due to their importance I expect, will continue to be handled by Company folks.