Noticed a Button campaign this weekend

 
Old May 29, 07, 6:19 am
  #1  
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Noticed a Button campaign this weekend

I was in 1B DTW-LAX on Saturday and saw the Captain handing out buttons from the APLA to the FA's that said something about corporate greed (it was a catch phrase having to do with cheese) but they did not wear them right away. As a matter of fact, the flight crew was fantastic (337 dtw-lax). Me thinks, however, bad things could be coming. I for one hope that NWA gets in front of this. The last "summer from hell" I had was with UA (99 I think?) and it pretty much sent me packing.

Having said that, without all of the flame and still smoldering ash of that last string regarding FA's and action, what do you guys think we can expect here? I doubt an agreement is coming quick enough to deter any Chaos and I am wondering if any of you are worried enough that you are looking at other AL's (and getting comped) for the summer? I want my 4 SW's so I am really hoping I can stay with NW for the summer but it may not be in the cards. At the end of the day, I fly to work and if MY customers are impacted then I can not justify sticking with NW. Thoughts?
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Old May 29, 07, 6:31 am
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My gut feeling is that we'll be fine on NW this summer. I felt like things were really coming to a head last year and the CHAOS didn't amount to anything that affected me at all -- it was so isolated that my greater concern was having time to run to Jim Neely's in MEM for a BBQ sandwich before my next flight rather than the NW employees working a slowdown that would cause me to miss connections. As fed up as everyone is, I'm not convinced that this will become much more than a button campaign. I think that those great employees who haven't left NW are sadly getting inured to the crappy treatment they've been dealing with. While there is just as much dissatisfaction, if not more, there just doesn't seem to be as much fervor or excitement to do something about it collectively as in the past.

That's just my $0.02. YMMV. Here's to hoping we have a good summer...

Worst case scenario, getting a comp status match on another airline doens't really take much more time than a phone call, so if it looks like things start to fall apart you have a quick backup option.

peace,
~Ben~
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Old May 29, 07, 6:37 am
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I completely agree... I've said for years that NWA needed to get labor behind them, their whole "we don't have to pay for this stock since we're not making any money" decision by the BOD was the first straw... which is going to lead them to their own SFH... and I do expect it to be a mean one from some of what you are now seeing... I am a 1K, so if there is the slightest inkling this may get bad, I'll switch over ASAP.... NWA is my airline of choice, but not if it upsets my business and customers...

Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
I fly to work and if MY customers are impacted then I can not justify sticking with NW. Thoughts?
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Old May 29, 07, 6:59 am
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Originally Posted by seoulmanjr View Post
My gut feeling is that we'll be fine on NW this summer. I felt like things were really coming to a head last year and the CHAOS didn't amount to anything that affected me at all -- it was so isolated that my greater concern was having time to run to Jim Neely's in MEM for a BBQ sandwich before my next flight rather than the NW employees working a slowdown that would cause me to miss connections. As fed up as everyone is, I'm not convinced that this will become much more than a button campaign. I think that those great employees who haven't left NW are sadly getting inured to the crappy treatment they've been dealing with. While there is just as much dissatisfaction, if not more, there just doesn't seem to be as much fervor or excitement to do something about it collectively as in the past.

That's just my $0.02. YMMV. Here's to hoping we have a good summer...

Worst case scenario, getting a comp status match on another airline doens't really take much more time than a phone call, so if it looks like things start to fall apart you have a quick backup option.

peace,
~Ben~
Yes I had thought about last summer too. I was pretty concerned and it really fizzled out. This feels different though. The folks who are left are pretty good (My flight to LA was fantastic) and there is going to come a point where something has to happen. There is no contract in place and there needs to be. Now that BK is behind them I am sure the Union will push real hard. if NW can get in front of this with some creative, and lucrative profit sharing plans or some other way to make life at NW more "exciting" and rewarding (other than huge salary increases..that just is not gonna happen) then we could be ok. I am the first person to point out that the pay scale of an FA is not and should not be what it once was but there are other ways to reward employees that can be based on performance and delivering to the company’s bottom line. The time for getting this labor issue behind them is here. This will tell me a lot about the Mgmt. They have done a good job on the balance sheet and keeping customers, now they need their most important asset, their employees to feel like they can be proud to go to work every day. It is most definitely possible..I see it all the time.
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Old May 29, 07, 8:17 am
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I hedged my bets last summer and flew enough on AA to make their Platinum Challenge. I've been a NW Plat for over 10 years and Gold for 10 years before that. NW has had a labor attitude problem for that entire time but I have seldom seen it as bad as this. The attitude starts at the top in upper management but permeates all ranks. Until there is a shift in management to a paradigm that sees the FA's, GA's and pilots as part of the solution and not the problem..AND.. until those same FA's, GA's, pilots and their unions stop their "it's all about me" and "to h*ll with management" attitude and realise that they too can end up like their former colleagues at Eastern, things will not get better.

We are already getting FT reports of GA's and FA's who could care less about customer service. I believe this will get much worse before (or if) it gets better. My prediction: Either a merger, takeover buyout, or Chapter 13 (dissolution) within 3 years.
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Old May 29, 07, 8:33 am
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I agree to some extent. There's definitely a lot of dissatisfaction that makes its way through to the customer from some of the old guard, but to echo avidflyer above, the shiny new employees don't seem to have much or any of that going on.

Still, there's a big difference between surly service or general ambivalance and organized CHAOS, which seems to be more of the OPs concern. We can deal with/shrug off/expect the service but when the flights themselves are affected, that's a whole 'nother story.

peace,
~Ben~
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Old May 29, 07, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
I was in 1B DTW-LAX on Saturday and saw the Captain handing out buttons from the APLA to the FA's that said something about corporate greed (it was a catch phrase having to do with cheese) but they did not wear them right away. As a matter of fact, the flight crew was fantastic (337 dtw-lax). Me thinks, however, bad things could be coming. I for one hope that NWA gets in front of this. The last "summer from hell" I had was with UA (99 I think?) and it pretty much sent me packing.

Having said that, without all of the flame and still smoldering ash of that last string regarding FA's and action, what do you guys think we can expect here? I doubt an agreement is coming quick enough to deter any Chaos and I am wondering if any of you are worried enough that you are looking at other AL's (and getting comped) for the summer? I want my 4 SW's so I am really hoping I can stay with NW for the summer but it may not be in the cards. At the end of the day, I fly to work and if MY customers are impacted then I can not justify sticking with NW. Thoughts?
This is somewhat big news if the pilots are actively supportings the FAs. For the most part NW has been able to walk all over the FAs because the Unions didn't support each other during BK. The general view of business analyists is NW can replace FAs pretty easily. Sure you could get some bad days of chaos, but the bean counters seem to think the labor cost reduction would be worth it. However, if the pilots joined a chaos campaign it could cripple the airline. You can't just wave some money into front of laid off regional pilot and put them in the captains seat of 747.
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Old May 29, 07, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
Yes I had thought about last summer too. I was pretty concerned and it really fizzled out. This feels different though. The folks who are left are pretty good (My flight to LA was fantastic) and there is going to come a point where something has to happen. There is no contract in place and there needs to be.
Only two things to point out... 1) last summer didn't amount to much because NW had an injunction against the union to implement CHAOS or any other work stoppage (courtesy of the BK judge I believe). 2) Technically there is a contract in place, one that NW had imposed via the BK court. This was not a mutually agreed to contract, though, between the union (i.e. the full membership, not just the negotiating reps) and the company, though.
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Old May 29, 07, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by motytrah View Post
This is somewhat big news if the pilots are actively supportings the FAs. For the most part NW has been able to walk all over the FAs because the Unions didn't support each other during BK. The general view of business analyists is NW can replace FAs pretty easily. Sure you could get some bad days of chaos, but the bean counters seem to think the labor cost reduction would be worth it. However, if the pilots joined a chaos campaign it could cripple the airline. You can't just wave some money into front of laid off regional pilot and put them in the captains seat of 747.
Yup, That is what scared me about it. This particular captain was talking about "doing our part but it is time we get some back" (underscore WE). The angle was Top level "greed" so I think there will be some solidarity on this. We will see over the next few months and I did overhear the FA's talking about getting everyone to wear these buttons so it sounds like they are getting ready for something. These people, for the most part are very reasonable level headed folks who want to make this work. I HOPE NW management, who I actually think have done a pretty good job, can close the deal on the FA issue. It will take creativity and a piece of the long-term pie but it can be done.
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Old May 29, 07, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
I was in 1B DTW-LAX on Saturday and saw the Captain handing out buttons ?
The captain may have handed them out, but would NW regulations allow them to be worn with the NW uniform?
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Old May 29, 07, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by yogimax View Post
The captain may have handed them out, but would NW regulations allow them to be worn with the NW uniform?
The unions may have something in their contracts to allow it.

Even if that's not the case, I believe that in some states (e.g., California) it is illegal to prevent workers from wearing union buttons (provided they are of reasonable size), while in other states (e.g., Texas) it is permissible to prevent employees from wearing union buttons.
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Old May 29, 07, 5:01 pm
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" You can't just .. put them in the captains seat of 747."

Good thing there's only 30-some of those birds left to worry about
Wouldn't dismiss either the possiblity of 'waving some money' in front of some other qualified pilot(s), and outfitting him/her/them in a new uniform with a Compass button.

/.

Last edited by CaveatEmpty; May 29, 07 at 5:08 pm
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Old May 29, 07, 7:31 pm
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Looks like coordinated cross union action coming... I am getting nervous...
Originally Posted by basejumper View Post
After a year of consistent operating profits, Northwest is hundreds of millions of dollars ahead of the business plan on which management based their demand for labor concessions. The union has attacked excessive executive compensation – particularly the $26.6 m
On Wednesday, May 30, join us at the Minnesota State Capitol to protest excessive executive compensation and the growing pay disparity between company executives and employees. The rally, which will be joined by Northwest pilots and other workers, will be from noon to 2:00 p.n.”
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Old May 30, 07, 8:39 am
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Well, the final counts are in for the FA contract agreement. The yeas were 50.9% and the nays were 49.1%. BUT the vote difference was only 104 votes! Maybe the newbies don't have the old chip on the shoulder attitude but the old guard can still bring NW down. There's talk of a recount, so hold on.
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Old May 30, 07, 9:27 am
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Maybe the 49.1% will start their own union

Originally Posted by Aloha1 View Post
Well, the final counts are in for the FA contract agreement. The yeas were 50.9% and the nays were 49.1%. BUT the vote difference was only 104 votes! Maybe the newbies don't have the old chip on the shoulder attitude but the old guard can still bring NW down. There's talk of a recount, so hold on.
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