"Bottom of the food chain"? Guess what, 'boy', that's where the fruit of their labor for 20, 25 or 30 years has gone--to the bottom. You work all your life for the "carrot" of a good pension only to have it stolen by the management and lawyers right before you retire--how's that make you feel?
Economic restructurings are always bitter for those involved. US management was between a rock and a hard place--reduce the pension, or Chapter 7. The choices were, smaller pension, or 36,000 people (including many non-pilots) on the street, only some of whom would get airline jobs again. It would help, of course, if management at most airlines had a clue about how their golden parachutes make employees in this situation feel, but that's another story. (As best I know, Siegel doesn't have a bankruptcy-proof pension like AA
's Carty did)
Union boilerplate about management "stealing things" is more or less meaningless these days. Markets dictate what airline costs can be, and they have determined that regulation inflated them; 9/11 simply sped a long a process that has been underway since deregulation. Markets do not submit meekly to book-length collective bargaining agreements.
A "no confidence" vote of course is a symbolic gesture; it's part of collective-barganing posturing. Is there some vote coming up on something, about which the pilots want to rattle sabers? If so, this is a pretty serious posturing step, and one that's going to complicate things.
Who knows, unions might be able to finish off US Airways yet. Steve Wolf did his best to kill US, and ALPA might accomplish what he couldn't. 70-seat RJ
's are pivotal to US's survival. Even a longtime US Airways critic like myself has to respect David Siegel's amazing accomplishments, and express dismay at a step that could help ruin them. There could be a place in the new USA airline world for a US Airways that has a lower cost structure, one that doesn't require gouging communities.