CHICAGO (Reuters) - America West Airlines said Tuesday a majority of its pilot union members narrowly rejected a tentative contract agreement reached late in October calling for an 11 percent pay increase.
Amazing. In a time of failing airlines and so forth, individual greed prevails. An 11% increase is great in today's times and excellent for an airline pilot. American West is on the verge of something good, but now it is all going to get screwed up by a bunch of malcontents with only greed on their minds.
America West pilots are extremely underpaid and work under very unfavorable workrules. I hope they get a fair contract that will be acceptable to a majority of the workgroup.</font>
Underpaid compared to what? The laid off pilots at TWA/AA, United, NWA, Delta, and let's not forget the out of business National Airlines and some others.
It is individual greed. An 11% pay raise is a LOT of money in one year. Let the airline get a foothold in its new way of doing business before you quash it. I am sick and tired of how I hear all of these pilots are so underpaid. If they don't like it they are always free to go elsewhere and do something else. No one holds them to this job.
In addition, most America West pilots get to live in Phoenix, an incredibly cheap city to live in when compared to where other pilot bases are at (LAX, SFO, Chicago, and so forth).
My dream since I was about 8 years old was to fly for a commercial airline. Years later with a BS in Aeronautical Science, a Commercial Pilot's Certificate/Single and Multi-engine Land and Certified Flight Instructor/Instruments in hand I was teaching folks to fly.
To make a long story short, the Air Traffic Controllers strike in 1981 lead to laid off American & Braniff pilots walking into our office to hand me their resume. I was hired as a replacement controller only to later be told I can't be a controller or a commercial pilot because of a hearing problem.
Technically, because of the hearing loss, the FAA will never let me act as Captain on an air carrier. I could serve as First Officer (most folks call this position "co-pilot") but no airline will hire a person who already, from day #1, can never become Captain.
I would gladly fly America West's aircraft at half the current going rate as evidenced by my acceptance of being restricted forever to the right seat.
No disrespect to the guys and gals who have made it to the very front of the plane. Long hours and away from home for days at a time (only to then be home for days at a time) . No hope for a major holiday off for the 1st half of your career. Regardless of what bid you were awarded, you never know where you'll be each night or when you'll be home. And the responsibility of knowing that 150+ lives are trusting themselves to you. Pilots aren't paid for the thousands of normal flights they make ... they're paid to handle the rare abnormalties.
After groaning about all the above, my pilot friends will tell me it's still the easiest job in the world. And in the next breath complain to me how the pilots at XYZ Airlines just got a raise above what they currently make; so the next contract negotiations will be total heck if their company doesn't match the offer.
I don't know the facts, but it wouldn't surprise me if America West's pilots are among the lowest paid in the industry. Yet it's the same pay structure in effect when each pilot accepted their job offer. They're currently being offerred an increase over the pay scale they accepted on hire date. That's much better the "big" carriers are offering pay cuts.
If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence; well this is the USA so GO FOR IT !!! Get those resumes out !!! Get a job at the carrier with pilots in furlogh and/or lowering the pay scale (whatever $$$ it is) to lower than what was accepted at employment or were subsequently granted.
1) I've heard (but don't know) that this contract proposal was rejected by only 5 votes.
2) I have some sympathy for airline employees who've agreed to pay cuts and/or want "industry pay" while the top executives are accepting millions of $$$ in retention bonuses. The same executives who have their hands out to the government asking for more $$$... claiming the industry's turmoil is due to Sept 11, 2001 ... even tho the industry with it's "leisure versus business fare" bsiness model was failing long before 9-11-01. In my personal opinion, the executives which are awarding themselves the retention bonuses are the same ones driving the dinosaur ...excuse me... the mainline carriers... into extinction (err... bankruptcy)
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by steve64: Years later with a BS in Aeronautical Science, a Commercial Pilot's Certificate/Single and Multi-engine Land and Certified Flight Instructor/Instruments in hand I was teaching folks to fly.
I got the same stuff, working on the CFI now. I would fly those airplanes for free if I had the chance! I guess even those Airbii also if I had too....
I agree 100% with your comment about US citizens having the right to collective bargainig.
However; I feel pilots have an unfair advantage in the collective bargaining process. My previous post is only a few hours old yet I've already received 2 e-mails from folks in a similar situation as myself ...qualified to continue towards a career as a commercial airline pilot but blocked by whatever FAA regulation... and willing to fly those airplanes for less than the offer currently on the table to the current pilots. But some of those FAA regulations end up prohibiting an airline from replacing any striking pilots (if negotiations ever reached that point) with so called "scabs" as quickly as they could replace Flight attendants, Baggage Handlers, etc. They could hire a pilot whose is fully qualified on the Airbus 320, but would have to send him/her thru months of training before being legal to fly an HP A320 with paying passengers onboard. Pilots know this and take advantage of it. How many other typical union positions do the rank and file have this advantage in the collective bargaining process ? I feel this has elevated pilot salaries above what the "market" would normally dictate.
Again, no disrespect to those flying the airliners over the USA at whatever pay scale they're on. I do have a problem with pilots demanding huge increases just because that's what the pilots at XYZ Airlines get paid. Nobody forced you to accept the job at ABC Airlines at 50% of the pay offered at XYZ. That was your personal decision. (I'm talking very hypothetically here...) ABC's business model is much different than XYZ's. That's why they don't pay you as much. That's why they have a lower cost per seat mile than XYZ. That's why they have lower overall yield per seat mile than XYZ. All this on top of the fact that XYZ is a much larger carrier and has a larger passenger base. The day ABC has to match XYZ's cost is the day that ABC fails. If ABC had originally paid the same salary as XY Z then dropped it, I'd have a little more sympathy.
As it is, HP's 11% raise may still not bring their pilots up to the pay rates at the major carriers. But they never had that rate. If the HP pay rates aren't acceptable to an individual then they should never have accepted the job. But in relative terms, in today's environment, an 11% increase over the rate your current rate is generous since most other carriers are passing out pay cuts. I'll respect those pilot's right to bargain, but in this case I won't agree with them.
I personally got caught up in the American Airlines Pilot Union's (I think they're named Allied and not ALPA like the rest of the industry) fued over AA's purchase of Reno Air. I agreed with the pilot's 100% that AA buying those airplanes and having Reno crews fly them while paying Reno's lower wages, yet advertising the flights as "AA" was a violation of AA Pilot's scope clause. They had my support until they decided to drag the customer into the battle. Instead of filing a "breach of contract" type of suit against the company, they engaged in a sickout. This left me stranded in Frankfurt Germany for 2 days. Why the pilots decided to punish me, the customer (I was on a company paid Business Class ticket) is a mystery to me. If they wanted to hurt management by driving away customers, in my case it worked. I defected to Continental (I was DFW based at the time). Too bad for the pilots because (per my Quicken file) Continental has since earned over $32,000 that could've gone to AA and helped to pay its payroll.
To summarize my personal opinion:
I respect HP Pilots right to bargain. In today's environment I feel the current proposal (what little I know about it) is fair, even if it doesn't bring them up to the rates of other airlines. More power to the pilots in bargaining for what they think feel they deserve, but don't base that that desire simply on what the other guy gets; you don't work for his/her company. The day the pilots (or any work group) decides to drag me into negotiations via slowdowns, sickouts etc is the day they lose any support I may have had for them.
I worked for over 10 years as a non-union Passenger Service Agent for American. I was at a big disadvantge over being in the only non-union work group. I was also the one who had the customer screaming in my face while my "fellow" workers took what action (legal or not) that they felt was needed to support their negotiations. So I've been on all 3 sides of the fence:
1) non-union employee taken advantage of by management
2) employee affected by union job actions
3) customer affected by union job actions
I've long ago left AA. My non-union pay didn't match the lifestyle I wanted to live nor what I could make for a similar position elsewhere. I didn't drag AA's passengers into my discontent; I took it into my own hands and found a similar job paying 14K per year more. I do feel it was AA's loss; I don't care wether or not they agree.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by steve64: As it is, HP's 11% raise may still not bring their pilots up to the pay rates at the major carriers. But they never had that rate. If the HP pay rates aren't acceptable to an individual then they should never have accepted the job. But in relative terms, in today's environment, an 11% increase over the rate your current rate is generous since most other carriers are passing out pay cuts. I'll respect those pilot's right to bargain, but in this case I won't agree with them. </font>
Do you really believe that these Pilots are now making what they were told they would when hired? They, too, have suffered pay cuts and furloughs to keep their company alive. America West is doing well now, on the right track and they just want something back since they were the ones that suffered to get the company on the right track. I don't see a thing wrong with that.
__________________ My thoughts here are mine alone. I do not represent Alaska Airlines on this forum or speak on behalf of the company.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AS Flyer: Do you really believe that these Pilots are now making what they were told they would when hired? They, too, have suffered pay cuts and furloughs to keep their company alive. America West is doing well now, on the right track and they just want something back since they were the ones that suffered to get the company on the right track. I don't see a thing wrong with that.
Let's do pure profit sharing then for anything about what they are making now. If the airline makes money the pilots make money. If the airline loses money the pilots stay flat at a guaranteed base rate. Sounds fair to me.
I am sick and tired of all of this grumbling and crying by airline employees. If you do not like the job, the pay, the away from home, the travel benefits, the benefit of commutting from any city in the network to the hub (for free), the irritated customers, and (for some, such as pilots) the less than full time schedule compared to the "real" world, then look for a job in another industry, doing something different.