Union says United is removing 787 cockpit barriers

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by garyst16, Jun 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    United Airlines is paying to remove a gate from some of its newest planes that's meant to protect the cockpit from intruders, according to the union for its pilots.
    United is getting Boeing Co.'s newest plane, the 787, later this year. Those planes were to come with a folding metal gate that blocks the cockpit when the door is open, according to the Air Line Pilots Association.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/union-says-united-removing-787-225420734.html
     
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  2. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    That's dumb on the Union's part. the gate would be open when people are passing though the door anyways.
     
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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not sure I understand that. I assume the gate is similar to those wires that can block access to the area in front of the flight deck door when the pilots have to open that door during flight.
     
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  4. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    The gates are easily defeated. A full food cart is not as easily defeated. Good move, United. ALPA, you're bullshit stinks. This has to be like the worst bargaining tactic, ever.
     
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  5. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    Of concern to me: This is a data point in favor of the Union/Company relationship getting more and more toxic. Something like this should be non-controversial, but the two sides have poisoned the well to the point that the seemingly benign becomes a battleground. (Not laying blame on either side FWIW)
     
  6. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    A union/company relationship is always interesting...If you can't live together, you both die. It's just a matter of realizing that before it is too late. History has shown that many companies and labor groups have failed at coming to that realization at a suitable time. At some point, the tug-o-war rope breaks if it is abused too much.
     
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  7. jrp2

    jrp2 Gold Member

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    The pilots union has way too much influence.
     
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  8. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Almost by definition the union doesn't have the long-term interests of the company at heart. The union's goal is to raise pay and working conditions above the market rate. The more successful the union is, the less successful the company will be. What's particularly tough for pilots is that due to the way seniority dictates the quality of the pilot's life and pay rate, and the fact that seniority is not portable, the pilots need for their airline to be successful and to grow to create advancement opportunities. But it's really tough for union leadership to balance short-term wage, benefit and work-rule improvements with the long-term health and growth of the company. And the short-term effects are easy to see and measure, and the long-term effects are hard to see and measure. And since union leaderships want to get re-elected, they tend to advocate for the short term.

    In terms of scope, which I think is at the heart of the conflict, UA management cannot put themselves at a disadvantage to DL's contract. Plus the way the industry is these days, with the LCCs setting many prices, the only way for the legacies to have a dense network is to fly a fair number of RJs at RJ costs. Many of those RJ flights wouldn't exist at the legacies if they can only be flown by an A319 or 735, and the question is how many fewer mainline flights will there be if there isn't connecting feed from RJs.

    Here's hoping that the DL contract will provide a framework that will let the UA pilots and management come to an agreement as labor-management cooperation is in the best interests of everyone.
     
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  9. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    ...and company's goal is to keep pay and working condition below market rate. And since public companies have to report earnings quarterly, they don't have much incentive to make decisions with the long-term view in mind.

    Is it airplane economics that require RJs on those routes, or the fact that UX crews are paid 1/3 of what mainline crews are paid?

    I'll drink to that, too!
     
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  10. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    It's probably a bit of both - they haven't got the demand to fill a bigger plane profitably, and to operate the RJ profitably they need crews paid below mainline rates

    I don't think they'd fly many of the routes at all if either there wasn't profitable connecting traffic, or if they couldn't have the low UX cost structure. A few of the routes, such as routes to ASE and JAC may make it on O/D and connecting domestic traffic, but most need connecting international traffic to justify.

    Even with the low UX crew rates, I don't think that it ends up being a better deal for the airline on a cost per available seat mile - an A320 carries twice as many passengers with the same number of pilots and lower fule burn on an available seat mile basis. So if there's enough demand and an acceptable yield, it makes sense to operate mainline. When there's not enough demand at a good yield, and you fill the remaining seats at whatever the market will bear, you may want to offer less capacity, and so the ratio of good yield is higher, hence the RJ. It's intertwined - demand, yield, capacity, operating costs. I maintain many current RJ routes would not be operated at all if the RJ is not available.

    Heaven knows I would prefer that UA flew mainline on SEA-LAX, instead of OO CR7's and even CR2's
     
  11. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    I think that if you own a company, you will find opposing forces at work in regards to labor. You do want to pay the least amount for your labor since the cost of labor goes directly to the bottom line. However, if you try to do so, your quality of worker declines and turnover increases, thereby raising your indirect costs due to training costs and experience loss. I have found that hiring a good person at an attractive or even premium rate pays out far better in the long run since these employees not only support the company with their expertise and experience, but promote the company as well. You just cannot pick up a pilot off the street. So UA has to balance paying for a good employee with the costs of running an airline where labor is a significant part of that cost.

    Secondly, if you have less than economical product (RJ), then to operate it requires either higher ticket costs or lower expenses. Obviously, the cost of the crew factors into these expenses. So, paying less for the crew will make a less economical plane more practical. The other alternatives are to lose money on each flight, or stop flying the RJ, which ironically would cause greater unemployment in the very crews that are trying to raise their pay. I think that we have seen this senario get replayed in the airline industry over the past several decades. In fact isn't AA doing this dance right now?
     
  12. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    So my understanding is that mainline pilots don't mind RJs, as long as they are flown by mainline pilots - at mainline pay scale. Would doing so make these routes uncompetitive? Compared to LCCs or other legacies?

    The current disparity in pay and working conditions between mainline and regional carrier pilots is downright scary, so I wonder if the solution is to allow mainline pilots to fly RJs and establish a separate pay scale for those planes, just like there are already separate rates for narrow- and widebody planes. RJ pay would have to be better than current UX pay, but low enough to make it easier to make the routes profitable. The added benefit of being able to accumulate company seniority while flying RJs would make these positions quite attractive to young pilots. Since it would also increase ALPA membership, union leadership should be in favor.
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes.
     
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  14. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    According to the company. :)
     
  15. chrislacey
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    I tend to stay out of these discussions because I have no in-depth knowledge...but the question that legalalien posed is a great one. I wonder what the additional salary (mainline pilots flying RJs) would be on average per RJ flight. What's the average profit for a flight now w/RJ-captain pay vs. mainline. If only all this data was available to go through (I love data).
     
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  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The pilots won't argue that the pricing for the hourly rates of mainline versus express are significantly skewed.

    Whether it is profitable or not is arguably a different discussion, but the absolute costs aren't particularly in dispute.
     
  17. Art234
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    This is the crux of the issue, which most managements fail to see. While lower wages go directly to the bottom line, having a less motivated unhappy work force winds up costing considerably more in the long run. Apparently DL gets this, as they have agreed to a contract with the pilots that is a new industry standard, and apparently can work for both sides. A little more spent on labor peace will definitely go a long way.

    I might also add that Southwest pilots and other unionized employees are amongst the highest paid in the industry, and yet Southwest has been more consistently profitable than just about any other carrier until recently...

    Unfortunately you get what you pay for....and saving a dollar today can cost you thousands tomorrow....
     
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  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Which is proof that it isn't necessary for things to be only about the dollars. And yet there are a number of companies where that's all the unions and management focus on. But suggesting that it is the only thing is myopic.

    Also worth noting is that until recently WN had a very different cost structure on fuel costs and with that changing I won't be all that surprised to see the union/management discussions there become more pointed. When the margins are pressed it happens on all fronts.
     
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  19. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    True. From what I've seen however the more acrimonious the negotiations get the more it becomes about "getting ours" and less about what's fair and equitable from a holistic perspective. UA is right on that ledge right now.
     
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  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I've had some interesting discussions with a former general counsel for one airline union on this sort of thing. On one front there is the mentality from the unions that every contract renewal has been a matter of sacrificing something. So it doesn't matter why or how or what, but every single time is it something like you give up an extra day of vacation in exchange for a half percent pay raise. So the next time negotiations come around the union is still bitter they had to give up a vacation day and now they are being asked to sacrifice something else in exchange for a raise.

    Not saying it is right or wrong, but that's a big part of the mentality.
     
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  21. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    Agreed. Part of it has to due with the Federal Regs, which tend to lean toward the corporations in the interest of avoiding strikes which ground large numbers of planes. The corporation attorneys know this advantage exists, they understand it and they use it.

    Like you, I'm not saying that's right or wrong but the corp advantage is definitely there.
     
  22. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Oh, I don't dispute those numbers either. I'm questioning whether UX routes really have to be flown by pilots (FOs) that get paid slightly over $20k per year (plus per-diem and overtime, I suppose).
     
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  23. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Fire up your Excel: http://www.aviationinterviews.com/pilot/airlinepayrates.html.
     
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  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So how about them cockpit barriers... anyone know more about what's the actual issue here?
     
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  25. 2wheels

    2wheels Silver Member

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    I would even venture to guess that per-diem and overtime is included in that $20k a year for first year pilots. The Skywest minimum for FOs is $22.00/hr, and you're only guaranteed 75 hours a month, or $19,800 a year. We know from the federal investigation into the Colgan 3407 that the FO's pay was $23,500 that year. My guess is there are a lot of FOs in the same range.
     

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