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  • 27

Southwest Pilot Tensions Flare Anew Over Arrival of 737 Max Jets

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Southwest Airlines Co. pilots, frustrated after four years of unsuccessful contract talks, asked the carrier to guarantee it won’t force them to fly Boeing Co.’s newest 737 before the plane is negotiated into a new agreement for the 8,000 workers. (www.bloomberg.com) 更多...

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ExCalbr
Victor Engel 4
Excuse my ignorance, but what reason would a pilot have for not wanting to fly a new plane?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
It has little to do with a pilot's wanting to fly a new plane.

When I was a youngster in high school, a few years ago, I worked for a trucking company in New Jersey. There were 4 teams represented at work, the company, the union, sometimes two or more, the drivers and helpers, and the federal government. I was not allowed to speak for myself to the company on any issue because of government and union rules. I wanted to talk about some equipment upgrades but the unions wanted to talk about something quite different.
devsfan
ken young 0
Unions are DUMB....And your experience confirms that.
I once held a job as a courier. I had to go to the Lufthansa Cargo facility at KJFK.
The great efforts to preserve jobs with completely redundant functions was truly amazing.
PSUAth
sure when an electrician can't pickup a spool of wire because a plumber left a pvc pipe on the wire. that's bad.

but remember, unions came about from the poor working conditions of factories and mills. i'm born and raised in the pittsburgh area, and the history shows the rise and fall of unions. basically a balance of power was tipped. for too long management had the power, then unions came about, but then the scales tipped to the unions, and forced management's hand (which is also bad)

now if everybody could get along, we wouldn't need unions. there are many examples (like car plants in the south) where working conditions and pay are addressed appropriately and actually have better productivity than their union counter parts.

there are also areas where unionized employees perform better than their non-union counterparts.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 3
The only employees benefiting from being union members are those with seniority. All others simply pay for the privilege of membership. Sadly, for many, it's either join the union or don't be awarded a job.
PSUAth
so an employee who just starts should be treated better than the one who knows the job inside and out after 20 years?

but the good thing of unions is that you put in your time and you get rewarded. but like anything, there are those who abuse the system and take advantage of others.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
Better? Of course not. Equality, perhaps. There are other ways seniority is rewarded - union membership isn't one of them.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
Boy oh boy I wish there were a way to delete a posting here - lol. Just pretend I didn't add that comment after the hyphen.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
And it isn't even 5 o'clock in the northwest!
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
I set my clocks ahead.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Smaaaart!
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Roger that! I later worked as an executive for the same company and watched them collapse from the weight of the union requirement of two teamsters on each truck and the shop steward had to be provided with a car. Real ridiculous. AFter the company announced they were closing the doors the Teamsters Union relented and relaxed the requirement for two Teamsters on a truck. Too little too late. They fought for and got none and cost some good men their jobs. Some who had gotten through the depression and WWII with the company making tank parts for Otis Elevator.
eater1952
Kent Thompson 3
Because they'd be flying a type of plane that isn't listed in their contract.
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 4
Yes. That was in the article. But why would they want such a limitation?
jkudlick
PLANESOLUTIONS has answered the question very nicely - it's effectively about compensation. Which pilots will be chosen for the new aircraft, and how much will they be paid for it? If SWA has previously made the contracts variant specific, then the pilots' union has a right to demand that the contracts continue to be variant specific, even if all variants have the same type rating.
devsfan
ken young 1
So? Add the thing to the list. What's the big deal. The 737-800 is essentially the same aircraft. it appears to me that the Pilots Union is using this addition as leverage to get SWA to agree to a deal that is to the carrier's disadvantage
PSUAth
KY, as has been stated, SWP want the plane added to their contract. they've done it before. management is dragging their feet.

at least that's what i'm getting from the article
sandylns
Brian Lager 1
The union has been negotiating for four years. When they started to negotiate in 2011 the Max was in the distant future. Now, it appears, the aircraft is being delivered early leaving the pilots with no contact and no type rating. In the ideal world you could just add the type to whatever clause you have in the contract. Without that however the pilots are left in limbo. Saner heads will prevail, eventually.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
Maybe, just maybe, this isn't even the issue holding up contract acceptance.
devsfan
ken young 1
OOPS.//737 MAX...Sorry.
mikeosmers
The thing is, the Max IS significantly different. It has totally different navigational and autopilot systems. These are issues that deserve careful attention to and cannot be simply poo pooed away. No contract for over four years is a catalyst to perhaps move things along. These "archaic" rules relate to the Railway Labor Act (an Act of Congress) which prevents disruption of service (and severely limits workers bargaining strength) until the National Mediation Board releases both sides to "self help". Management can impose their last contract proposal and the workers can either accept it or strike. This eventuality for SW is likely years in the future. How would you react I wonder if you were essentially promised a raise and improved working conditions... Four years ago with no relief insight? Not as cavalier I would imagine...
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
It has little to do with what individual pilots want. I worked for a trucking company in New Jersey when I was a youngster in High School. There were 4 sides involved in labor when I was there, the Company the Union, the drivers and helpers and the government. The union didn't always represent the drivers and the government seldom did. The drivers had more in common with the company than anyone else.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
That answer was in the article. It comes from the old Railroad rulings in the days of real boiler gauges. I can't imagine SW made it variant explicit but maybe.
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 2
This doesn't really answer my question. I'm not looking for a historical basis. I'm looking for a benefit to the pilots. What, if any, benefit is there to the pilots? There must be some, otherwise why would they go on strike?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
I'm trying to say that your question hasn't been answered nor even addressed. The article was short and included little other than the reference to the old Railroad law as an explanation. It was typically incomplete. Labor negotiations are conversations between lawyers sitting in 1st class while sipping on good whiskey while the pilots fly the airplane
PSUAth
In short, i don't think it's about job benefit, i.e. making the plane easier to fly. I am guessing it is more with overall contract agreements. If the contract is variant specific, there could be problems in the future with negotiations due to past precedent of "over ruling variant specific job orders/placements". so, it's basically a way to hold some cards when going to management over their CBA/contract.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
It's pretty clear in the article that the union representative is using an old law as a wedge and negotiation point. It has little to do with how easy or hard the Max is to fly nor even if the pilots think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It has everything to do with the rules of the contract negotiation that has not bee revealed to any of us. We can only guess at the established rules. Maybe there is a party to the negotiations who knows and would like to tell us. The comment in the article was in an historical context and a cite of the law passed by Congress many moons ago.
conx
charlie lange 4
Come back, Herb K.
PLANESOLUTIONS
The 737 MAX incorporates capability improvements when compared to the previous 737 series. It may be that they are seeing these changes as substantial enough that they warrant a new compensation and promotion plan to accommodate them.
hatch
ian hatch 2
Radix malorum est cupiditas - Chaucer
If they don't like flying a new version of a well proven aircraft, change jobs!
PSUAth
From the article, it sounds like it had more to do with the way contracts work rather than actually operating the plane. I'm betting the pilots want to fly the plane. but they also don't want their contract ruined by operating "off contract"
fastroper
Cecil Clark 2
Spoiled pilots. Too bad the CEO can't just tell the pilots, "Train on and fly the new planes we provide for a damned good salary...or go back to work earning $30,000 a year flying CRJs for a regional."
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
The market takes care of wage rates.
allfive
don schaefer 0
That's why Walmart workers, and others, are on food stamps.
devsfan
ken young 0
Ahh...The Walmart card.....FAIL
RRKen
If it were up to the CEO, he would have them all earning $30,000 with no benefits or decent rest cycles. In the U.S., workers have a right to negotiate working conditions and compensation with employers, it is the law.
fastroper
Cecil Clark 4
I disagree. First, the CEO doesn't establish the pay scales, the competitive marketplace takes care of that. There are other legacy or major airlines an unsatisfied pilot can go fly if they're unhappy where they're at, albeit likely at a loss of seniority. I'm not disputing the pilots' right to unionize for collective bargaining. But suing their own airline for wanting to add the newest 737s on the line next year is ludicrous, IMHO. SWA pilots are the highest paid of all the majors with Alaska and Hawaiian a close 2nd and 3rd (according to Aerocrewnews.com ACN May 2016 report). Seems to me a simple solution would be for the union to amend the 407 page contract to add the new 737 MAX just like they did for the -300,-500, 700 and -800 series of 737s, not sue the company that clearly compensates them very well compared to other airlines.
PSUAth
well, i think what KS was stating, was that IF there was no CBA/Contract, the CEO would want to pay their pilots (really all employees) at the lowest rate possible. "buy low/sell high". but due to the union, the pilot pay-scale is negotiated.

as for the suing the airline, i think that's what the union thinks is the next step. the article stated that they have been trying to get that amendment to the contract as done with all other variants of the 737, but the airline is dragging their feet. or so it all seems.
joelwiley
joel wiley -1
At the Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr, that would be an average of 80 hrs/wk to get to $30K. If he could get away with it....
devsfan
ken young 0
OH please stop the all or nothing straw man crap
PSUAth
OH PLEEASE
damavab
Unions of all kinds have always been a drag on effiency.
chudddds
chudddds 4
yeah, those coal miners are a bunch of whiners
PSUAth
who needs things like breathable air, safe working conditions, etc.
devsfan
ken young -2
Oh please.
devsfan
ken young -2
Uhh....Coal miners?...Look, one thing most folks realize is that when the issue of labor collectives is discussed, some pro union guy will play the "old days" card.
Unions HAD their purpose. That purpose has been fulfilled. Unions are simply in the way of good labor and business practice. Hence the reason why only 7% of the private sector labor force is unionized
ocj
ocj 3
Only if you define "efficiency" as screwing the employees to make a few extra bucks.
PKVol
I was at a concert last week that was cut short because the union orchestra couldn't be on stage for more than 90 minutes straight without a 20 minute break. Labor law mandates a 15 minute break for working 4 consecutive hours. How does the 90 minute requirement create "efficiency" for anyone?
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 4
The thing is, both sides must have agreed to that stipulation for it to have made its way into the contract.
devsfan
ken young -2
Most union work rules do not apply to today's methods of production. Unions cannot be efficient because that might result in fewer people required to do the work.
In the realm of organized labor, "productivity" is the ultimate insult.
If anyone is asking why TSA security lines have gotten to the the point where PAX showing up 3 hrs before their scheduled departure are missing their flights, they have to only point to the fact that once TSA personnel became members of Government service unions, the agents could become complacent and not pay a lick of attention to efficiency. In other words, they just don't care if the PAX will be late for their flights. The agents also treat the paying public like crap.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 4
Aviation union contracts are totally industry specific. Pre-retirement, I was in Labor Relations for a major, and spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours at the negotiating table in an attempt to satisfy both the corporation and the employees. Believe me when I say they aren't outdated. It's a hugely difficult balance between corporate and employees reaching an agreement good for both.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
You are introducing something else into the mix, efficiency. I doubt the word ever came up in negotiations for the rule. Who negotiates with the union in the case of an orchestra performance? They play many venues not a corporate location, so who do they negotiate with?
PKVol
The musicians in the orchestra work for a symphony orchestra as employees, they are not independent contractors.

The reason it is agreed to in the current contract is that this has become the "industry standard" as it relates to the union that musicians are members of.

There was a clock on the stage that was started when the musicians took their seats and at 90:00, the literally got up and walked off the stage.

For the performance on the following night, it was announced from the stage that the orchestra had negotiated an additional 15 minutes into the set.
devsfan
ken young -1
Genius, if the company does not turn a profit, jobs go away. If the employer cannot turn a profit, it either relocates to a place where profit is possible, or the place gets locks on the doors. At that point the prevailing wage is ZERO
mikeosmers
I see you commented that your question wasn't answered so I'll give it a try. It's complicated.
That is because contract negotiations seem to be involved. Airlines operate under a very restrictive set of laws enacted quite a long time ago called the Railway Labor Act (as do railroads to this day). Way back when, railroad workers thought they were not being treated fairly or concluded that collectively they could extort exorbitant wages and benefits from their employers (I suspect your take on that would have to do to a great extent on your political leanings) I honestly have never reaserched that history to hazard an opinion. The remedy to "wildcat" strikes that threaten the economic function of the country by rail workers and now also airlines is this Act. In it a potentially very long and drawn out process is in place for both sides to iron out a new contract when the old one expires. The caveat being that "status quo" must be adhered to, that is, no major changes by management, no strikes by workers.
In the case of SW it seems they are some 4 years into the process. Say what you will KY but management typically takes full advantage of this time, arguably paying the out of contract workforce less than they otherwise would under an updated contract. On the other side there is very little the workers can do to encourage movement in the talks. That's why service often suffers during these times, sophomoric I know but that's how it is.
Now a new type is introduced into the fleet, into a contract that seemingly specifies pay scales by subtype (though I am not a SW pilot and don't know that for a fact) and this one is arguably a totally different airplane in a similar airframe. That's a subtle but important distinction. On the side of the workers who otherwise don't have much leverage before release from National Mediation some years still down the road is now a bargaining chip.
Of course they are going to use it, they'd be fools not to and I assure you, they are not fools. That's why they don't want to fly the new jet, it's just a tool and they want to be paid for that aspect as well as concluding their open contract so they can get on with their lives.
Hope this helps!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Just give all the pilots a free Yeti coffee cup and they will surely be happy to fly the new plane.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 0
I have several friend pilots flying for SWA. It's a club. Very close. When we got the age 65 rule, they complained about not upgrading to Captain as soon as they thought. Pilots are whiners. So you're an FO for 15 years---you still make 6 figures. Fly the new airplane and get over it. The one thing I disliked in my career was the ability to move to a new company and keep seniority. That's why I never moved. I finally got my seniority and had to keep it. Union protection. The company can furlough anytime they want but you always had callback number. I remember Captains who were downgraded to FO status. That's the life.
devsfan
ken young -2
Again with the unions and the archaic work rules which stifle competition, eliminate merit and create inefficiencies

[This poster has been suspended.]

AWAAlum
AWAAlum 5
To quote you back to you: "Am I "type-rated" in heavy turbine aircraft ? Of course not - most of the posts in here are by fellow "flyers" who have a desparate need to see their words in type."

Judging by your post on this thread, you must have been describing - wait for it - you.
devsfan
ken young 3
Negative. This forum is not an aviator's private club. Obviously the forum is for not only aviators but aviation enthusiasts as well.
However sir, you are free to seek out an aviator's only forum.
Idea?
joelwiley
joel wiley 5
If you did not post to this thread, how did your post appear here? How is your well-experienced pilot only forum progressing?
davidrbarnes
David Barnes 4
Well said. And even when not posting, he injects his arrogance and pomposity into a discussion, while contributing nothing to the subject.
davidrbarnes
David Barnes 5
Again, Sir, you continue to berate "flyers" for their desire to contribute to this forum. Again, Sir, you belittle those whose resume doesn't live up to your standards. And again, Sir, this high horse is dead.

If you don't like the knowledge base of those on this site, please pack your bags and fly, pilot, or frankly walk, to some other place.

I'd recommend investing in "arrogantpilot.com" (it's readily available) to start your own site. Also, your "concerns" clearly are directed at the wrong audience. I'd recommend directing them to FlightAware for their review and comments. Given, however, that they've opened their site to the public and have allowed all comers to have their thoughts expressed and reviewed, I think it's clear what their opinion is.

Have a good day, Sir.
patbuckley
pat buckley 4
The Esquire is a boor.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
Over the years there have been a couple of lawyers who posted one thing or another here. I haven't heard from them lately. The site seems safe yet again form attacks by the arrogant courtroom class who seem to know an awful lot about nothing inparticular.
devsfan
ken young 3
LOL...How do you know when an attorney is lying? His lips are moving"...
Matt Damon as Rudy Baylor in the movie "The Rain Maker"

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