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Protests over low wages at AA stockholders' meeting

Protests over low wages at AA stockholders' meeting

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Old Jun 13, 18, 6:46 am
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Protests over low wages at AA stockholders' meeting

From a flyer that I received from protesters outside AA's stockholders' meeting in NYC this morning:

"in AA's Miami hub, for example:

* Workers still earn as little as $8.80/hour;
* Despite an average tenure of 7 years, the average wage is only $11/hour.
* Over 85% of the workers earn less than $12.99 - the living wage paid by other airline contractors as per the Miami-Dade Living Wage Ordinance."

Seems like the issue sort of falls on contractors who employ workers for AA at the airport, but surely AA could do something to increase wages.

Since AA seems to have no problem extracting cash out of us, its customers, due to its near-monopoly status in some areas, I'm pulling for the workers.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 6:51 am
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Even if they're contract employees, AA controls who they award the contracts to. I've seen many of my clients over the years choose to award contracts to certain vendors, knowing that they are not the lowest cost option, simply because they compensate their employees at a higher level than some of the competing firms in the bid process. I've always respected these clients, as in my mind, they're doing the right thing, versus simply doing the cheapest thing.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
From a flyer that I received from protesters outside AA's stockholders' meeting in NYC this morning:

"in AA's Miami hub, for example:

* Workers still earn as little as $8.80/hour;
* Despite an average tenure of 7 years, the average wage is only $11/hour.
* Over 85% of the workers earn less than $12.99 - the living wage paid by other airline contractors as per the Miami-Dade Living Wage Ordinance."

Seems like the issue sort of falls on contractors who employ workers for AA at the airport, but surely AA could do something to increase wages.

Since AA seems to have no problem extracting cash out of us, its customers, due to its near-monopoly status in some areas, I'm pulling for the workers.
I would like to know what jobs they preform. Did the flyer have any details on this subject ?
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Old Jun 13, 18, 8:53 am
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Some AA workers contracted are also owned by AA. Piedmont and Envoy for example are owned by AA and perform many job duties like ticket counter, gate, entire ramp. A lot of these places pay starting out at a pathetic $10 an hour. In some places like outstations, workers are actually forced to train and learn all job functions (ticket counter, gate, entire ramp, bag office) and do not get anymore compensation for this compared to someone who does gate only all day. I would know, I started with Piedmont in US Air days before I moved on.

The airline industry in general pays its employees poverty wages. Work FT, missing holidays, working weekends, staying late all the time, working in inclement weather, all to make $20k a year if you're lucky.

So I am rooting for the workers.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by SpinOn2 View Post
Some AA workers contracted are also owned by AA. Piedmont and Envoy for example are owned by AA and perform many job duties like ticket counter, gate, entire ramp. A lot of these places pay starting out at a pathetic $10 an hour. In some places like outstations, workers are actually forced to train and learn all job functions (ticket counter, gate, entire ramp, bag office) and do not get anymore compensation for this compared to someone who does gate only all day. I would know, I started with Piedmont in US Air days before I moved on.

The airline industry in general pays its employees poverty wages. Work FT, missing holidays, working weekends, staying late all the time, working in inclement weather, all to make $20k a year if you're lucky.

So I am rooting for the workers.
So I have to ask: If it's this bad for them...and the national unemployment rate is 3.8%...why don't they find a better gig?
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Old Jun 13, 18, 9:14 am
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Is there a shortage of workers prepared to work for those wages?
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Old Jun 13, 18, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by SpinOn2 View Post
The airline industry in general pays its employees poverty wages. Work FT, missing holidays, working weekends, staying late all the time, working in inclement weather, all to make $20k a year if you're lucky.

So I am rooting for the workers.
Workers of the express carriers - American Eagle, United Express, Delta Connection - don't do well in early years but they don't represent median wages across the industry, either. (See the 'as low as' references, not median pay.) Direct AA/UA/DL employees do fine relative to required education levels. A typical 757 pilot working 16 days a month will make $250K a year.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Workers of the express carriers - American Eagle, United Express, Delta Connection - don't do well in early years but they don't represent median wages across the industry, either. (See the 'as low as' references, not median pay.) Direct AA/UA/DL employees do fine relative to required education levels. A typical 757 pilot working 16 days a month will make $250K a year.
Yes, but the vast majority of AA employees are NOT pilots working 16 days per month
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
So I have to ask: If it's this bad for them...and the national unemployment rate is 3.8%...why don't they find a better gig?
Easier said then done. Especially in today's world where a 4-year college degree doesn't mean much at all anymore. Not to mention a lot do, or at least try. The turnover rate in a job like that is insane. I was lucky to have gotten out at the right time, again with luck and some networking.

The question shouldn't be, why do people put up with it. The question should be, why are we as a nation ok with paying people in these jobs poverty level wages despite the amount of training and work they put in no less for a job like this. The reason for that simply is money. We all know it.

People wonder why flying has gone down the crapper in years. Well start right off with how poorly most airline workers are paid. For every 1 or 2 pilots making 6 figures, there are 20 who are working regional making crap living paycheck to paycheck. For every 1 or 2 managers making over 50k, there are 20 front liner facing or rampers who are working 50hrs a week making $20k a year best.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
* Workers still earn as little as $8.80/hour;
... by other airline contractors "
I think that what they're talking about on the low end are jobs like the wheelchair pushers (which by federal law are the responsibility of the airline to provide for passengers that require assistance), the line-minders that check boarding passes at the security checkpoint entrances, some people behind the counter that tag luggage, etc. These people work for independent companies that AA contracts with for those services. In addition to a low wage, these jobs often come with few, if any, benefits. That's one of the primary reasons those jobs are outsourced.

Originally Posted by SpinOn2 View Post
Some AA workers contracted are also owned by AA. Piedmont and Envoy for example are owned by AA and perform many job duties like ticket counter, gate, entire ramp. A lot of these places pay starting out at a pathetic $10 an hour.
True, however that $10/hour comes with benefits (health care, retirement, paid sick and vacation leave, travel privileges) that make total compensation a lot higher, and a career track to go up from there. The outsourced jobs at the very bottom make even less per hour, and often have little or no benefits. Those are the ones truly at the bottom.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Workers of the express carriers - American Eagle, United Express, Delta Connection - don't do well in early years but they don't represent median wages across the industry, either. (See the 'as low as' references, not median pay.) Direct AA/UA/DL employees do fine relative to required education levels. A typical 757 pilot working 16 days a month will make $250K a year.
For every 2 pilots working a 757 making six figures, there are easily 15+ people who have a part in that flight who make $10 an hour.

Nobody is expecting people with low-education levels to make tons of money, but there is no reason anyone ever should have 30 years with a company, with 15 of it having been maxed out at $16 an hour... like which happens in Regionals all the time.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
True, however that $10/hour comes with benefits (health care, retirement, paid sick and vacation leave, travel privileges) that make total compensation a lot higher, and a career track to go up from there. The outsourced jobs at the very bottom make even less per hour, and often have little or no benefits. Those are the ones truly at the bottom.
Yeah that is not true. FT people get benefits sure, but not PT workers, and there are only so many FT openings at places. Travel privileges were nice, but in speaking to former colleagues quite often, it has become extremely hard to get anywhere anymore with flight loads and things like basic economy. Not to mention it costs the airline nothing for you to fly on a seat they don't use. Many airline workers would gladly trade free flights for living wages. Heck, when you make $10hr free flights mean nothing when you cannot afford to go anywhere. The career track is not nearly as nice as you think. AA and the other big airlines love to outsource jobs all the time. Unless you can work in a hub, you are basically screwed. Take Detroit for example, AA got rid of mainline and outsourced it to Piedmont, the ground handling company they own... You are constantly under threat of being laid off for someone who bids cheaper.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by SpinOn2 View Post
Easier said then done. Especially in today's world where a 4-year college degree doesn't mean much at all anymore. Not to mention a lot do, or at least try. The turnover rate in a job like that is insane. I was lucky to have gotten out at the right time, again with luck and some networking.

The question shouldn't be, why do people put up with it. The question should be, why are we as a nation ok with paying people in these jobs poverty level wages despite the amount of training and work they put in no less for a job like this. The reason for that simply is money. We all know it.

People wonder why flying has gone down the crapper in years. Well start right off with how poorly most airline workers are paid. For every 1 or 2 pilots making 6 figures, there are 20 who are working regional making crap living paycheck to paycheck. For every 1 or 2 managers making over 50k, there are 20 front liner facing or rampers who are working 50hrs a week making $20k a year best.
I think your info may be dated. Envoy, for example, pays 60k a year for first year first officers and also gives a $22,000 signing bonus. As for rampers or gate agents, even at regionals, you'll have a hard time finding anyone working 40 hours a week who makes less than 25-30k and many of them will be in places where you can live comfortably at lower wages. Of course, 50 hours will take them significantly over that with overtime pay. Additionally, they have a medical package and flight benefits.

I agree that those who push wheelchairs are the ones being paid $8.80 an hour. In Miami, that's 20 percent above the minimum wage. Plus they sometimes occasionally receive tips which makes it a bit higher. Unfortunately, $8.80 an hour plus tips in Miami for unskilled labor is at the higher end of the market. Of course, if one spends a couple of years at Dade Community College (which is essentially free) and gets an A&P certificate, American will gladly hire them at starting pay in excess of $20 per hour plus medical and flight benefits. Even the sketchy cargo companies are hiring experienced A&P's at MIA in the $35 an hour range because they have to compete with flight benefits. Makes you wonder why the protesters don't focus their attention on getting people to learn relevant skills.

Last edited by C17PSGR; Jun 13, 18 at 10:53 am
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
I think your info may be dated. Envoy, for example, pays 60k a year for first year first officers and also gives a $22,000 signing bonus. As for rampers or gate agents, even at regionals, you'll have a hard time finding anyone working 40 hours a week who makes less than 25-30k and many of them will be in places where you can live comfortably at lower wages. Of course, 50 hours will take them significantly over that with overtime pay. Additionally, they have a medical package and flight benefits.

I agree that those who push wheelchairs are the ones being paid $8.80 an hour. In Miami, that's 20 percent above the minimum wage. Plus they sometimes occasionally tips which makes it a bit higher. Unfortunately, $8.80 an hour plus tips in Miami for unskilled labor is at the higher end of the market. Of course, if one spends a couple of years at Dade Community College (which is essentially free) and gets an A&P certificate, American will gladly hire them at starting pay in excess of $20 per hour plus medical and flight benefits. Even the sketchy cargo companies are hiring experienced A&P's at MIA in the $35 an hour range because they have to compete with flight benefits. Makes you wonder why the protesters don't focus their attention on getting people to learn relevant skills.
Envoy is only part of AA's wholly-owned for one, Piedmont and PSA are also there. And it's not so much the pilots who are hurting, it's the other workers. Like I said, two pilots may work the flight, but that doesn't include the 5 ticket counter agents, the 10 ramp agents, and the 2 gate agents working that flt who make horrible pay. I worked at Piedmont for 2 years in the US Air days FT. One of my closest friends is still there working for Piedmont. After taxes, he makes about $20k a year. He works on average 40-50hrs a week. Your argument now comes down to quality of life vs job satisfaction argument. Did you ever consider not everyone wants to be a mechanic turning a wrench from 9pm-7am 5 days a week? Perhaps people like the work they do, but they would also like to be paid a wage that means they don't live paycheck to paycheck so much. Is that unfair to ask?

It appears you are completely out of touch with actually working for an airline, especially a regional is like. Just wait until the Piedmont Employee Survey is released. You think the AA one was bad, it's going to be a lot worse.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
Makes you wonder why the protesters don't focus their attention on getting people to learn relevant skills.
Because education might make people question the “you are a victim” mentality being pushed by the “protesters”?
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