AA to furlough pilots

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jimntx

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Jun 28, 2003
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IIRC the numbers that they announced for the FAs was much much higher than what actually occurred.

Yes, that is true. The original number "subject to furlough" was 1200. I know because I was approx. #600 on that list. But, the number furloughed was not less because the company was lying. The number furloughed was less because other f/as who could afford to do so, stepped up to the plate and took leaves of absence or proffered for modified partnership flying (aka part-time) as I did to save jobs of more junior people.

The overage was real. Just as the current overage of f/as is real. Today is the 25th of the month. When I get back to St. Louis tomorrow, I will have flown a grand total of 39 hours in January. But, that is only because I have aggressively looked for flying. There is a real chance I won't fly again this month; yet, I will be paid my guarantee of 70 hours. I have one friend in the same boat who has only flown 20 hours this month.

The company has agreed with the union not to furlough any more f/as until at least the end of August. But, we'll have to see about that. The overage with f/as flying way under guarantee is happening in every base as far as I know. No company can afford to pay people not to work for long and stay in business. Add the probable loss of JAL in OW, the pilot furlough, and the dismal 4th quarter results, and I would not be surprised at all if the company reneges on the no furlough agreement, or furloughs immediately after 31Aug.

And, f/a attrition (like pilot attrition) is way down this year. Last year we averaged over 100 flight attendants/month leaving the company--quit, died, retired, got fired. So far, in January there have been 4--2 retired, 2 left for other reasons. With over 16,000 active flight attendants, that ain't much.
 

wcs

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Feb 1, 2009
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And yet APA continues to push hard for raises from a company that can't afford pilot staffing at current pay rates? How does that make any sense?
They can never "afford" raises. Name once, just once in the past 30 years when the company said that it could "afford" raises. In late 2001 they finally agreed to a contract with increased compensation after a couple of years of negotiations.
But the unions had to push hard for that. Yet we can still "afford" the staffing at the upper management level. Even with the decrease in the size of the company we still have over 40 vice presidents just like in 2001, the peak of the company's size. How does that make sense?
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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If having 40 vice presidents is so outrageous, you'd better tell the guys at Southwest... They also have either 38 or 40 VPs, yet they don't have a complex product as other airlines, and only operate within one country, and to half as many cities with fewer employees...

Corporate structures and HDQ staffing have a very loose correlation to the size of the airline. Whether you fly 100 airplanes or 800, or have 4000 employees or 50,000 employees, you're still going to need someone to look after sales, marketing, regulatory affairs, legal, environmental, HR, finance, etc.

Even if every VP was earning $300K per year (doubtful), that's about 1.5% of what AMR paid out in salaries last year.

If every one of those VP's worked for free, you'd see a whopping $20 per month extra for every one of AMR's union employees...

Focusing on $20/month seems to me to be a huge waste of time and effort, guys.....
 

wcs

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I wasn't comparing AA to Southwest or any other airline or any other company.
You're right to do so would be comparing apples to oranges.
I was comparing AA(Pre 2002) to AA(2010). Smaller company (fewer Indians) same number of executives (same Chiefs). And I'll repeat the same question: How does that make sense?
 

Bob Owens

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They can never "afford" raises. Name once, just once in the past 30 years when the company said that it could "afford" raises. In late 2001 they finally agreed to a contract with increased compensation after a couple of years of negotiations.
But the unions had to push hard for that. Yet we can still "afford" the staffing at the upper management level. Even with the decrease in the size of the company we still have over 40 vice presidents just like in 2001, the peak of the company's size. How does that make sense?

If you go to Youtube and watch part3 of the Quill Hartley debate Mike Quill comes back at Sen Hartley with a comment as far as how companues seem to be able to come up with the money after a few days of a strike that they coiuld not find before the strike, (6 minites 16 seconds in) That was in 1961. Companys always claim they dont have the money, its only in the last 30 years that woprkers have been dumb enough to believe them. Sorry I couldnt post the link but all you have to do is go to Youtube.com and type in Mike Quilll Hartley.

Threats of layoff and even layoffs are tactics that employers use during negotiations, and layoffs occur that have nothing to do with negotiations, either way the union should not allow layoffs to influence negotiations. We have to realize that layoffs are a part of the business we chose to be in, thats why we created and established seniority systems. If they dont have the work they arent going to keep them on payroll even if they are cheap.
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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I wasn't comparing AA to Southwest or any other airline or any other company.
You're right to do so would be comparing apples to oranges.
I was comparing AA(Pre 2002) to AA(2010). Smaller company (fewer Indians) same number of executives (same Chiefs). And I'll repeat the same question: How does that make sense?

Oh, where to start....

To draw a parallel, whether you're a local with 200 members or 2500 members, you still need officers, right? How many locals have been closed down in the past 10 years? How many have been consolidated?...

When AA starts closing down entire hubs or divisions that have a VP associated to it, that's when you'll see VP's go away. When STL was de-hubbed in 2003, the hub VP position associated with it was eliminated, and the GM position became a Level 8 MD. In this next round of cuts, the GM position gets reduced to a Level 5 IIRC.

But while AA has cut back their operations, they can't necessarily eliminate functions like marketing, reservations, revenue management, fleet planning, purchasing, accounting, IT, HR, or most other non-operational departments.

They clearly got rid of *people* in those departments, but still need someone to run it and be accountable.

As AA's fleet shrunk, capacity planning (scheduling) lost a bunch positions associated with creating scheduling. They still need a VP of capacity planning as a department head. There's a lot of responsibility associated to balancing the mix of flights with maintenance needs, marketing initiatives, etc. and yes, a VP is warranted for that responsibility.

Revenue management has also reduced the number of market analysts and managers, but they control the pricing. That's where AA's cash flow comes from, and yes, there's a huge amount of responsibility with that, and a VP is warranted for heading up that responsibility.

Close 10 cities, you get rid of ten general managers, and thirty to fifty supervisors. You might get rid of a regional manager as well. But there isn't always a way to get rid of the division VP in that process.

I think you also lost one or two VPs in M&E with MCIE closing down and Romano retiring.

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To be totally fair in the discussion on VP's, you have to look at what AA did prior to 2003.

A week before I started at the ticketing help desk in 1992, there was a management layoff.

First one anyone could recall, and it was brutal. One of the guys in the department had just had a heart attack days before the pink slips showed up, and his manager had to deliver the news to him about his layoff while he was still in his hospital bed...

Every 18 months or so for the next 14 years, there was a round of management reductions/layoffs. During that same timeframe, HDQ shrank from being in CP1, CP2, CP4 and CP5 to just CP4 and CP5.

In 1993, there were three VP's covering what was then Domestic Field Services -- one in NYC (Jerry Jacob), one in BNA (Bill Wallace?), and one in LAX (Joe D'Ambrosio). All those positions got whacked and replaced by a single VP over US/Canada. A lot of manager and analyst/specialist positions got whacked in the process of closing down the Eastern Div office at the Chrysler Building, Central in Nashville, and Western on Sepulveda.

That's just a few examples, but as someone with a ringside seat to all this, when 2003 came around, there honestly wasn't a lot of fat left to cut in HDQ. I won't bother addressing field supervisory management or M&E -- they're slightly different beasts, and few people on the front line believe they need to be supervised...


As an aside, the same holds true for agent and res staffing during those timeframes. The cutbacks in 2003 weren't as severe for res or agents, mainly because management already had the power to slash headcount during the prior decade...

Some of this was simple cost control, but a lot of it was driven just as much by technology...

At the airports, they'd already outsourced baggage service as early as 1994.

Thanks to AA.Com, in the past ten years, just about every City Ticket Office around the country was shuttered, as were Res offices in LAS, RNO, ORF, STL, DAL, SAT, BDL and CVG. I might have even missed one or two...

AA used to have 50 people or so associated with "Tickets By Mail". E-ticketing eliminated the need for that in 1996, and everyone in the department associated with the physical ticketing got whacked.

When kiosks and web check-in made their debut in the late 90's, ATO staffing was slashed, and EGR's helped scale back gate agent staffing to one per departure (used to be two agents per flight, guaranteed), and ACARS and centralized loads pretty much eliminated the need for a dedicated ops agent in outstations...

As telco costs dropped and VOIP started coming into use, local Res offices thru-out Europe and Latin America got closed and were either replaced by small centralized offices (e.g. DUB) or started forwarding calls to the SRO, SWRO and SERO. A few years back, I had to rebook a complex itinerary while in Munich. During the day, I spoke with agent in DUB, and when I called back that night, an agent in DFW finished up the transaction...


Bringing it back to the topic.... I'm sure Res will continue to be decimated as AA.Com grows, but as long as they remain as a corporate function, you're still going to need a VP over that area. Likewise for ramp and passenger service.

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Where I do think there's room for debate is whether or not the person running the department deserves a corporate VP title.

Personally, I think too much emphasis gets placed on the titles. The difference between a MD and a VP is negligible. They both get reserved space travel, the benefits are similar, and frankly, it wouldn't surprise me to find some MD's making as much if not more than VP's in unrelated areas...
 

wcs

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Feb 1, 2009
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When STL was de-hubbed in 2003, the hub VP position associated with it was eliminated

Don't try to imply that the a VP lost his/her job. In '03 Cush, the then STL -VP, went on to be VP of Sales. But they also brought in Johnson to create another VP of HR. The VP count has actually increased from 42 in '03 to 45 today since we now have a VP - Strategic Alliances

To be totally fair in the discussion on VP's, you have to look at what AA did prior to 2003.

That's apples and oranges again. I'm talking about the current AA. Way back when C.R. Smith had dozens of VPs.
VPs of each function of each division. VP of Eastern Division Maintenance. VP of Western Sales. Carty did it to a smaller extent increasing the VP ranks so that in the late '90s we had a VP of Love Field.

I think you also lost one or two VPs in M&E with MCIE closing down and Romano retiring.
Wrong on that count also Romano's replacement is already at work. And even though Cleveland has moved to Eagle his job is listed as "temporarily vacant" on the AA website

They clearly got rid of *people* in those departments, but still need someone to run it and be accountable.
They've outsourced HR to Providence RI and keep submitting form letters at the negotiating table but we still have 4 VPs under the Employee/HR function.That's all the employees are asking for; someone to be accountable instead of sitting back and having the Boston Consulting Group make decisions.
 

Ralph

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Jun 25, 2008
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Well, once again we have wandered off from the thread topic to the "there's no money for labor, but there's always money for executives swamp." Thread closed.

If anyone actually cares about pilot furloughs, you may start a new thread. If any of the rest of you try to hijack that one, you will be given time off. A word to the wise...?
 
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