Airtran and Southwest Mechanic Seniority Bridging.

Runwaysticker

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Dec 24, 2007
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Unless something has changed recently, the mechanics at FL and WN are represented by different unions so the seniority integration will be governed by federal law - negotiation followed by binding arbitration if necessary.

Jim
Would they not do the same as American did with the TWA guys, give them thier company time, and occ time will be when they bought Airtran??????????????????
 

BoeingBoy

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Nov 9, 2003
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If the law is triggered, one side can't unilaterally impose a solution on the other side. Once triggered, the law requires negotiations between the two sides and if that doesn't yield results then final and binding arbitration follows. The exception is when the same union represents the same "craft and class" on both sides or both sides are non-union.

Jim
 

Bob Owens

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Why in the world would you say DOH for senority, not knowing everything the AriTran employees will gain? As the RLA states it must be fair and not overwhellming for one side. They will gain everything once they become SWA employees. The mechs. will gain about 8-12 bucks an hour, more holidays, more vac. more F/H, more sick time accrual, a 7.3% 401K match from co., profit sharring, cheaper ins. cost, and more... Lets not forget about the job security here, and pretty much work all the overtime you want. We have mech and insp getting well over 1000 hours per year. The quality of life will increase as well.
I think they (airtran) should get 1 for 4. However, word on the street is they are looking at trying station senority as well. It doesn't really matter as SWA will continue to grow. We have also heard of some possible hiring next year if we start a "C" check line in Dallas.

Because as you said SWA will continue to grow, there will be no major adverse affect to you. No doubt that the AirTran guys hit the Jackpot, but the thing is you want the merger to become history, you dont want to set divisions that will be a cause of strife long after Air Tran is forgotten by everyone else. Skip the station seniority, its a bad idea, you want to have portability and options and dont want to put yourself in a position where you are locked into one location. You want to be able to move around the system without penalty. Seniority can be a good thing but it has its down side as well, I personally feel that the best thing for the profession would be to have a master seniority date for the whole industry, then employers would have to compete to keep the experience, instead our individual seniority systems put us all in a race to the bottom .
 

swamt

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Because as you said SWA will continue to grow, there will be no major adverse affect to you. No doubt that the AirTran guys hit the Jackpot, but the thing is you want the merger to become history, you dont want to set divisions that will be a cause of strife long after Air Tran is forgotten by everyone else. Skip the station seniority, its a bad idea, you want to have portability and options and dont want to put yourself in a position where you are locked into one location. You want to be able to move around the system without penalty. Seniority can be a good thing but it has its down side as well, I personally feel that the best thing for the profession would be to have a master seniority date for the whole industry, then employers would have to compete to keep the experience, instead our individual seniority systems put us all in a race to the bottom .


Now this post, in most part, I do agree with. We don't have any station senority currently. However, I do agree with you that I don't want restrictions for someone to bid to another station, most of the time this is for employees to get closer to family in other cities. So yes, why restrict that?

I think I understand where you are coming from on the "master list" But that would be a hard sell to anyone at an airline. I understand to use the list for pay and bennies, but you really don't exspect someone to maintain their "industry senority" when moving from co. to co. do you?
 

southwind

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Now this post, in most part, I do agree with. We don't have any station senority currently. However, I do agree with you that I don't want restrictions for someone to bid to another station, most of the time this is for employees to get closer to family in other cities. So yes, why restrict that?

I think I understand where you are coming from on the "master list" But that would be a hard sell to anyone at an airline. I understand to use the list for pay and bennies, but you really don't exspect someone to maintain their "industry senority" when moving from co. to co. do you?

Your right. If I "QUIT" airline A and went to work for Airline B no, I would not expect to keep my seniority from Airline A.

However, if Airline B "BOUGHT" Airline A, the one I work for ,then yes, I would expect to keep my seniority !
 

swamt

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Your right. If I "QUIT" airline A and went to work for Airline B no, I would not expect to keep my seniority from Airline A.

However, if Airline B "BOUGHT" Airline A, the one I work for ,then yes, I would expect to keep my seniority !

Agreed as you explained it.
 

Bob Owens

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Now this post, in most part, I do agree with. We don't have any station senority currently. However, I do agree with you that I don't want restrictions for someone to bid to another station, most of the time this is for employees to get closer to family in other cities. So yes, why restrict that?

I think I understand where you are coming from on the "master list" But that would be a hard sell to anyone at an airline. I understand to use the list for pay and bennies, but you really don't exspect someone to maintain their "industry senority" when moving from co. to co. do you?

Yes, if you ever want to see mechanics get what they should be getting we have to be able to move about as freely as possible. Right now, due to seniority, workers race to the bottom with the hope that the carrier where they have seniority survives. Transfer of seniority should be at the mechanics discretion, not the company, however under Southwinds line of thinking your fate as far as seniority lies with the actions of the company.

Look at it this way, I'll use observations from AA. At EAL the IAM represented mechanics took on the company and said no to any more concessions, they struck, the company went bankrupt and eventually liquidated. The stance they took benifitted all airline mechanics but when these warriors of the labor movement got hired by other carriers they started at the bottom, several years later TWA went bankrupt for its third and final time, however its IAM represented workers had agreed to every concession that management asked for, the company milked concession for another 10 years and over those years they helped drag down the whole industry, they helped lower standards, now you are saying that these guys should be rewarded with something that the labor movement fought for-seniority rights, even though for at least a decade they dragged down standards, and the EAL workers should step aside to let them claim that reward.

You have to remember that seniority is a union concept that was fought for and established by Unions. We should not allow seniority to be used as a weapon to lower wages and benifits. Unions should not allow workers to be penalized for fighting against concessions and should not reward those who agree to them at the expense of putting us all in a race to the bottom.

The arguement that "If I quit I should not get my seniority but if my employer gets bought by another company I should" basically says that the company should control your career, not you, and not your Union, that your seniority is a company priviledge granted to you by the company for your years with them and not a union right. It strenghtens the companys bargaining position and weakens the union members bargaining position in several ways.

The concept of tieing seniority to a company instead of your profession was perhaps the industries biggest coup, it basically leaves your carreer up to the chance that you pick the right company, and it stays that way for your whole career. Even at SWA, you could, through no fault of your own, one day see a new management team take over and run it into the ground, and you could be the one who is 55 to 60 years old starting all over at another carrier at the bottom. They know this, and they use it to their full advantage. While having portable seniority will likely never fly what we should concentrate on doing is getting rid of all progressions. Pay rates, vacations, holidays etc, everyone should be on the same page. Maybe a stipend for longevity but thats it. At least then you would not see mechanics with 20 years starting at entry level pay way below what a mechanic should be getting.
 

swamt

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Yes, if you ever want to see mechanics get what they should be getting we have to be able to move about as freely as possible. Right now, due to seniority, workers race to the bottom with the hope that the carrier where they have seniority survives. Transfer of seniority should be at the mechanics discretion, not the company, however under Southwinds line of thinking your fate as far as seniority lies with the actions of the company.

Look at it this way, I'll use observations from AA. At EAL the IAM represented mechanics took on the company and said no to any more concessions, they struck, the company went bankrupt and eventually liquidated. The stance they took benifitted all airline mechanics but when these warriors of the labor movement got hired by other carriers they started at the bottom, several years later TWA went bankrupt for its third and final time, however its IAM represented workers had agreed to every concession that management asked for, the company milked concession for another 10 years and over those years they helped drag down the whole industry, they helped lower standards, now you are saying that these guys should be rewarded with something that the labor movement fought for-seniority rights, even though for at least a decade they dragged down standards, and the EAL workers should step aside to let them claim that reward.

You have to remember that seniority is a union concept that was fought for and established by Unions. We should not allow seniority to be used as a weapon to lower wages and benifits. Unions should not allow workers to be penalized for fighting against concessions and should not reward those who agree to them at the expense of putting us all in a race to the bottom.

The arguement that "If I quit I should not get my seniority but if my employer gets bought by another company I should" basically says that the company should control your career, not you, and not your Union, that your seniority is a company priviledge granted to you by the company for your years with them and not a union right. It strenghtens the companys bargaining position and weakens the union members bargaining position in several ways.

The concept of tieing seniority to a company instead of your profession was perhaps the industries biggest coup, it basically leaves your carreer up to the chance that you pick the right company, and it stays that way for your whole career. Even at SWA, you could, through no fault of your own, one day see a new management team take over and run it into the ground, and you could be the one who is 55 to 60 years old starting all over at another carrier at the bottom. They know this, and they use it to their full advantage. While having portable seniority will likely never fly what we should concentrate on doing is getting rid of all progressions. Pay rates, vacations, holidays etc, everyone should be on the same page. Maybe a stipend for longevity but thats it. At least then you would not see mechanics with 20 years starting at entry level pay way below what a mechanic should be getting.

You do make some very good points. However, I don't think you could get any mechanic, pilot, flt attendant, ramp agent, customer service agent, cleaner ect... to agree with your idea of someone maintaining their senority if they quit one carrier and go to another. Your idea is very proffesion oriented, but you will never see it enacted.
 

Bob Owens

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You do make some very good points. However, I don't think you could get any mechanic, pilot, flt attendant, ramp agent, customer service agent, cleaner ect... to agree with your idea of someone maintaining their senority if they quit one carrier and go to another. Your idea is very proffesion oriented, but you will never see it enacted.

And thats why we will continue to go backwards. You would be suprised at how many are receptive to it though, the older they are are, after seeing and experiencing this industry for what it is, the more they favor it. Our problem is that we identify with the company we work for as one would identify themselves ethnically, as if its a part of our identity. We need to focus more on what we are and not who we work for like most trades do. Odds are, in this industry, who you work for will change, and you have little control over that (even though its favorable how much say did the Airtran guys have when their employer was sold to SWA? Or the NWA guys , the CO guys, the TWA guys etc etc?) but what you are (an A&P Mechanic) you have complete control over. We need to insulate ourselves as much as possible from the whims of management. Its about control, taking it away from the company and giving it to us, thats when you have true leverage.

The ideal would be to get all the mechanics in one union of course, or at least establish bilateral agreements between unions where mechanics are in control. Mechanics would have to push for this, in unions where the members come from many different classifications they have never really devoted much effort to promoting the profession, thats understandable since they would have to do the same for all classifications they represent and from what I've seen many union reps dont have that high of an opinion of the people they represent. Their high salaries make them start to think they are management. The other issue is many mechanics have a problem distinguishing how to promote the profession without being elitist and trying to tear others down. The fact is this is a challenging, demanding industry on everyone involved and all of us deserve a fair wage.
 

southwind

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And thats why we will continue to go backwards. You would be suprised at how many are receptive to it though, the older they are are, after seeing and experiencing this industry for what it is, the more they favor it. Our problem is that we identify with the company we work for as one would identify themselves ethnically, as if its a part of our identity. We need to focus more on what we are and not who we work for like most trades do. Odds are, in this industry, who you work for will change, and you have little control over that (even though its favorable how much say did the Airtran guys have when their employer was sold to SWA? Or the NWA guys , the CO guys, the TWA guys etc etc?) but what you are (an A&P Mechanic) you have complete control over. We need to insulate ourselves as much as possible from the whims of management. Its about control, taking it away from the company and giving it to us, thats when you have true leverage.

The ideal would be to get all the mechanics in one union of course, or at least establish bilateral agreements between unions where mechanics are in control. Mechanics would have to push for this, in unions where the members come from many different classifications they have never really devoted much effort to promoting the profession, thats understandable since they would have to do the same for all classifications they represent and from what I've seen many union reps dont have that high of an opinion of the people they represent. Their high salaries make them start to think they are management. The other issue is many mechanics have a problem distinguishing how to promote the profession without being elitist and trying to tear others down. The fact is this is a challenging, demanding industry on everyone involved and all of us deserve a fair wage.

And under your guidelines of transferring seniority from company to company, what's to keep said company from hiring off the street (lower pay) vs. hiring someone with 20 years and having to top them out from day one ?

Sounds to me like you'd probably have problems finding a job, using your scenario ! :blink:
 

gizmo_sc

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I found this while reading about SOUTHWEST and AIRTRAN:

http://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/10/whats-the-difference-between-airline-merger-and-buy-out/
 

swamt

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And under your guidelines of transferring seniority from company to company, what's to keep said company from hiring off the street (lower pay) vs. hiring someone with 20 years and having to top them out from day one ?

Sounds to me like you'd probably have problems finding a job, using your scenario ! :blink:

Didn't look at it that way but your correct. Let's not forget to give them their 5 weeks of vacation from day one as well. In your example, at SWA, if co. had a choice of rookie off the street or fresh out of A&P school and a 15-20 year veteran from say XXX airlines, SWA would take the rookie hands down. The rookie would take longer to top out, start fresh with one week of vac., AND more than likely will be a much younger mechanic and will stick around alot longer. Good point SOUTHWIND.
 

Bob Owens

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And under your guidelines of transferring seniority from company to company, what's to keep said company from hiring off the street (lower pay) vs. hiring someone with 20 years and having to top them out from day one ?

Sounds to me like you'd probably have problems finding a job, using your scenario ! :blink:

Looks like you missed this and my delivery was unclear;
While having portable seniority will likely never fly what we should concentrate on doing is getting rid of all progressions. Pay rates, vacations, holidays etc, everyone should be on the same page.

The rookie would come in at Top rates because there would only be one rate, no progressions. Remember, portability and solidarity, thus more bargaining leverage is the objective

I'm the company, per the contract I have to pay this guy the set rate, do I hire someone who has experience and can produce from day one or hire someone whith no experience who I have to train and will be on a learning curve for four to five years? Do I get more value by hiring experience or inexperience if the price is the same? My bet is the experienced would be picked up first.
 

swamt

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Looks like you missed this and my delivery was unclear;


The rookie would come in at Top rates because there would only be one rate, no progressions. Remember, portability and solidarity, thus more bargaining leverage is the objective

I'm the company, per the contract I have to pay this guy the set rate, do I hire someone who has experience and can produce from day one or hire someone whith no experience who I have to train and will be on a learning curve for four to five years? Do I get more value by hiring experience or inexperience if the price is the same? My bet is the experienced would be picked up first.

I see your point. Same level of pay @ new co. rather you have 15 years or 15 months. I hate to repeat negativity but, still don't see the "experienced" mechanics going for it, as well as the co. Too high of cost from the get go for the co. Of course this is in comparisome to current ways they are hiring now.
 

Bob Owens

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I see your point. Same level of pay @ new co. rather you have 15 years or 15 months. I hate to repeat negativity but, still don't see the "experienced" mechanics going for it, as well as the co. Too high of cost from the get go for the co. Of course this is in comparisome to current ways they are hiring now.
An experienced guy with half a brain would go for it. Here's why. I'll use AA again as an example. AA did very little hiring from 1979 to 1984, however from 1986 to 1990 they did a tremendous amount of hiring. There was a long progression and wide disparity in pay so what the company basically did was offer to cut the years to the top but not raise the top. (there was even a shortage of mechanics at the time due to the low starting wages, the company even offered us $100 for each application we got them from an A&P) The new guys went for it and outvoted the old guys so the Old guys didnt see much of an increase for many years. Progressions are a means of dividing the workforce. The savings from the progressions are not used to pay the senior guys more, they discourage movement by mechanics from one company to the next and other than an ego boost they do nothing for the senior man, let alone the junior one. At AA the old timers sold out the newborn by agreeing to extend the progression from two years to twelve years and the new guys returned the favor several years later. In the end we all lost and the company won.

What it comes down to is how does having these progressions help us maximize our leverage at gaining better compensation? Some may try to justify progressions by saying that an experienced guy can produce more but if an experienced guy gets hired he starts at the same rate as an inexperiened guy, at the bottom. So that arguement is trashed. Some say it promotes loyalty to the comapny, true, and that does the exact opposite, it drives down our negotiating leverage because companys 99% of the time do not place any value on loyalty. They negotiate based on your replacement cost, and by agreeing to progressions you have essentailly agreed that your replacement cost is much lower than what they are paying you.

There's no benifit for workers to agree to progressions, all they are is a means to lower costs, restrict lateral mobility between airlines, divide the workers and in effect lower the value of our labor.
 

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