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AA pilots union seeks approval to advise pilots of right to refuse overtime flying

AA pilots union seeks approval to advise pilots of right to refuse overtime flying

 
Old Aug 1, 08, 1:19 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation AA pilots union seeks approval to advise pilots of right to refuse overtime flying

... in order to "mitigate pilot furloughs."

Looks like it may be a rough go in the near future if pilots are refusing overtime flying en masse.

Press Release
Source: Allied Pilots Association


Allied Pilots Association Files Complaint for Declaratory Judgment: "We Are Committed to Using Legal Methods for Mitigating Pilot Furloughs"

Friday August 1, 3:00 pm ET

FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Allied Pilots Association, certified collective bargaining agent for the 12,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR - News), filed a complaint today in district court in Washington, D.C. for approval to advise its pilots of their right to forego voluntary overtime in order to mitigate furloughs.
The carrier’s management announced on July 15 that up to 200 pilot furloughs may commence in October. American Airlines already has 1,970 pilots on furlough.

“We are committed to using legal methods for mitigating pilot furloughs,” said APA President Captain Lloyd Hill. “Accordingly, we are seeking the court’s permission to inform our pilots of their right to forego voluntary overtime flying, which would reduce the need for any additional furloughs.”

Hill noted that the airline’s most junior pilots who would be subject to furlough were only recalled from furlough within the past several months.

“Being furloughed twice in such a short period of time, especially when it’s so easily avoidable, would be a tremendous hardship for these pilots and their families,” he said.

In APA’s court filing, the union’s attorneys emphasize that advising pilots of their right to forego voluntary overtime is a well-established past practice by APA and part of the status quo as defined by the Railway Labor Act, which governs all airline industry labor negotiations.

More here:
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080801/20080801005725.html?.v=1
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:30 pm
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So, after filing court papers and gaining media coverage, exactly how many pilots are left uninformed on this topic?
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:30 pm
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Wonder if they're handling it this way to work around the problem UA is having, where management filed a lawsuit and request for preliminary injunction against the pilot's union for their job actions?

United also noted that the rate of first officer sick leave in certain fleets is up 103 percent this summer. Further, driven by ALPA directives and intimidation, picking up additional flying, as is standard practice throughout the industry, has dropped precipitously compared to that of previous years. In 2006, pilots were five times more likely to fly additional trips compared to today.
Marketwatch link
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:33 pm
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I'm not sure if the APA realizes that they need AA more than AA needs them. Given all the pilot cutbacks of late, AA could tell those who refuse overtime sayonara and pick up some of the pilots recently unemployed by ATA, Midwest, and whoever else.

Not that I'm advocating such a plan...I'd much rather see the airlines and unions negotiate sustainable contracts.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Wonder if they're handling it this way to work around the problem UA is having, where management filed a lawsuit and request for preliminary injunction against the pilot's union for their job actions?
That's my assumption. Better than being sued after you "remind" the membership of their right to work to rule.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by captaink View Post
Given all the pilot cutbacks of late, AA could tell those who refuse overtime sayonara and pick up some of the pilots recently unemployed by ATA, Midwest, and whoever else.
Wouldn't really be "voluntary" overtime in that scenario then, would it?
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by captaink View Post
I'm not sure if the APA realizes that they need AA more than AA needs them. Given all the pilot cutbacks of late, AA could tell those who refuse overtime sayonara and pick up some of the pilots recently unemployed by ATA, Midwest, and whoever else.

Not that I'm advocating such a plan...I'd much rather see the airlines and unions negotiate sustainable contracts.
That would probably lead to an instant general strike that would kill the airline. Or at least, people think it would.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:49 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Wouldn't really be "voluntary" overtime in that scenario then, would it?
Sorry, wasn't thinking...

But still, doesn't AA have some leverage in this situation?

If I were a pilot in this situation (and this economy), I'd be taking as much O/T as possible, just in case things get worse in a few months and I find myself without a job...
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Old Aug 1, 08, 1:58 pm
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I can appreciate the frustration of all AA employees that thought in 2003 by 2008 they would have recouped their give backs. I also can understand their angrier over management bonuses paid out over the past several years while employees got measily low single digit salary increases.

But the industry has changed for the worse for all carriers, well managed and piss poor managed alike. And for now the pilots need to accept reality and just hope that AA can pull it out. What the Company as a whole really needs to be doing is become more efficient and reducing the operational defficiencies that caused this airline to turn in the worst financial performance for the most recent (2nd) quarter (exclusive of asset write downs).

The pilots should be more concerned about keeping their pensions in intact, while most Americans have seen defined pension plans go away.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by captaink View Post
Sorry, wasn't thinking...

But still, doesn't AA have some leverage in this situation?

If I were a pilot in this situation (and this economy), I'd be taking as much O/T as possible, just in case things get worse in a few months and I find myself without a job...
AA's leverage lies in their ability to hide who is doing overtime. A lot of pilots do fly overtime and manage to pad their schedules with 100 hours instead of the normal 75-80.

Peer pressure is the best way to avoid anyone not towing the union line.

As little as two weeks ago, anyone pulling up a crew list could see how many hours a pilot had because it used to list their hours after their names. AA got in there as soon as they heard about the pilot's plan to avoid overtime and magically erased the numbers from everyone's view. There are other back door ways to find this info out, but the easiest way is gone. That alone might effectively ruin the call for pilots to fly only their hours.


What grinds my gears about the speed of removing the pilot hours from the system is that EVERYTIME AA has to do something we won as a contractual right, in terms of adding or removing something from sabre, their argument is that it costs a lost of money and takes time to do anything with Sabre. But, lo and behold, things happen lickety split when it's in their favor.

As for some of you stating how the ball is in AA's court regarding how many pilots are available who need jobs; it's not that easy. The training costs and down time would cripple us if they tried to get pilot replacement workers. The other thing is, just because someone is a pilot it doesn't mean they are a good pilot. There were so many airlines flying around for awhile there that I could have taken flying lessons and gotten a job with a commuter in no time. Many people did.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:05 pm
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Hopefully it won't be like the teamsters and UPS, they hit overtime and the truck stops, they send another truck while that overtime driver waits, they offload everything from one truck to the other, and the new driver goes.

Imagine this process on airplanes, whoops we have a detour landing in Agra, KS on very young crop of corn for a plane change because the captain hit overtime!

As an added benefit for these troubles we are making some popped corn from the field next to us now with the jet exhaust heat, it will be passed around before takeoff, salt is only a dollar!
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by AAFA View Post
AA's leverage lies in their ability to hide who is doing overtime. A lot of pilots do fly overtime and manage to pad their schedules with 100 hours instead of the normal 75-80.

Peer pressure is the best way to avoid anyone not towing the union line.

As little as two weeks ago, anyone pulling up a crew list could see how many hours a pilot had because it used to list their hours after their names. AA got in there as soon as they heard about the pilot's plan to avoid overtime and magically erased the numbers from everyone's view. There are other back door ways to find this info out, but the easiest way is gone. That alone might effectively ruin the call for pilots to fly only their hours.
So it's really just a big game of prisoner's dilemma now?
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:19 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by captaink View Post
I'm not sure if the APA realizes that they need AA more than AA needs them. Given all the pilot cutbacks of late, AA could tell those who refuse overtime sayonara and pick up some of the pilots recently unemployed by ATA, Midwest, and whoever else.

Not that I'm advocating such a plan...I'd much rather see the airlines and unions negotiate sustainable contracts.
The whole point is that the contract provides the right to refuse overtime. You can't fire people for exercising a contractual right; layoffs are done by seniority.

The union is trying to minimize the layoffs by convincing pilots to fly their required hours and not taking overtime. Whether it's good or bad for the company is another issue, but this seems to be something that they're within their rights to do. As someone else noted, though, persuading people not to take overtime in a difficult economic environment may be a tough sell.
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by AAFA View Post
AA's leverage lies in their ability to hide who is doing overtime. A lot of pilots do fly overtime and manage to pad their schedules with 100 hours instead of the normal 75-80.

Peer pressure is the best way to avoid anyone not towing the union line.

As little as two weeks ago, anyone pulling up a crew list could see how many hours a pilot had because it used to list their hours after their names. AA got in there as soon as they heard about the pilot's plan to avoid overtime and magically erased the numbers from everyone's view. There are other back door ways to find this info out, but the easiest way is gone. That alone might effectively ruin the call for pilots to fly only their hours.


What grinds my gears about the speed of removing the pilot hours from the system is that EVERYTIME AA has to do something we won as a contractual right, in terms of adding or removing something from sabre, their argument is that it costs a lost of money and takes time to do anything with Sabre. But, lo and behold, things happen lickety split when it's in their favor.

As for some of you stating how the ball is in AA's court regarding how many pilots are available who need jobs; it's not that easy. The training costs and down time would cripple us if they tried to get pilot replacement workers. The other thing is, just because someone is a pilot it doesn't mean they are a good pilot. There were so many airlines flying around for awhile there that I could have taken flying lessons and gotten a job with a commuter in no time. Many people did.
Thank you for an informative post. ^
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Old Aug 1, 08, 2:50 pm
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From a passenger's perspective, wouldn't you rather have a pilot who is *not* working overtime? When a 7-11 clerk works overtime and in his exhaustion accidentally undercharges for a Slurpee, who cares. When a pilot works overtime and in his exhaustion accidentally flies the wrong approach in low ceiling, thats very bad. Am I missing something? I know about FAA minimum rest requirements, but minimum rested and well rested are not the same thing.

[UPDATE: Apparently the threshold for "overtime" for American Airlines pilots is 1,000 flight hours per year. So my comments above make an assumption about overtime that may not be true with regard to pilots. Does anybody know the rule on this? Is it 1,000 hours regardless of when flown, or is it 1,000 per year, or 40 hours per week, whichever is higher, or what? I have no idea.]

Last edited by garycal; Aug 1, 08 at 6:02 pm
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