Could U go Non Union and We Survive

Aug 29, 2002
196
0
www.usaviation.com
What do you think..would it work? could we all survive? and just who has a problem with it?..I am waiting for Chip to cast the first stone. Just kidding.
 

UAL777flyer

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
730
0
I don't think there is a question as to whether U could survive being non-union. They'd certainly have just as good a chance at a future as they do now, with unions. But to expect the employees to go non-union at a time like this is a bit unrealistic in my view. U is attempting a massive restructuring of their company and their future, and whatever size/shape it takes, is still uncertain. A lot has been asked of the employees in terms of painful cuts in pay and benefits. They stepped up and contributed but that doesn't mean they're happy about it. They want assurances that Siegel and his team will live up to their end of the agreements. Without union representation to ensure that happens, you'd have no recourse.

I'll be the first guy to say I'm not a staunch union advocate. In many ways, in terms of the airline industry, they do more harm than good. However, in situations like US Airways current predicament, I think in general, unions serve their intended purpose of looking out for the welfare of the employees they represent. I'm not debating that politics is entrenched in each union. And I'm also not debating that at times, they have their own agenda that can appear to not be in the best interests of their members but more along the lines of what is best for the union on a national level. But at a time like this, they're the best assurance employees have that the company won't simply come back tomorrow and take even more than is necessary.

The problem isn't unions. The problem is union and senior management relations. The two can work together if both sides are willing. Unfortunately, this industry has a history of being the poster child for lousy labor relations. I think much of that is because as an industry, we rarely learn the painful lessons of the past. More often, we simply repeat them again and again.
 

PHL

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
1,658
57
I once worked for an organization and was represented by AFSCME by default - whether I paid the dues(2% of my meager salary) or not. But I paid, because it was my first job out of college and my fellow union colleagues convinced me that it was the right thing to do. It would ensure my representation in the event of a grievance. I gleefully accepted the 3% salary increase, and even a 2% signing bonus one year. My $18,000 salary was surely going up, up and up!

But then I was purusing the job postings from other departments in the organization and saw better salaries for jobs which I was qualified. I applied and got one. Bumped my salary to $32000. Whoo Hoo! Mom could finally get that operation.

But this was in a department not represented by a union. No contract, no guaranteed raises, but all the other benefits (medical, vacation, retirement, etc.) were the same as what I had. I had to ask myself, then, what did that 2% of my salary really do for me? AFSCME represented me and my bretheren and got us the same benefits that people at the rest of the organization (20,000 employees) got. The only thing I really saw different was the contract that stipulated the annual raises. Maybe I was missing something.

My next 2 years saw raises taking me to $40K before I finally moved onto greener pastures at another company. Ever since that first job, I've never been in a union represented job. Yet my benefits, pay and companies I've worked for have all been generous and comitted to maintaining compensation that is competitive with the market. I learned that whether I was to ever be represented by a union or not, I would see my pay ebb and flow with the market. This year, my company has laid off people. It froze salaries. There are no profit sharing payouts. And we'll start contributing to our medical benefits in 2003. This is what the market bears, and we have to accept it. It's reality. And you know what, I'm fine with it. I'd rather see the company manage it's costs for long term survival than see them continue to erode profit margins and lose market share. In the good times, we prosper, in the bad we have to suck it up a bit, and it's not always pretty.

As I see it, compensation(defined as salary and benefits) is just as flexible as the housing market, stock market, or any other economic indicator. I just don't see how having union representation changes that. A company will furlough or lay off as needed. Your job is never REALLY protected.

So, should USAirways go non-union. I don't know. Wasn't Southwest non-union for a while? I don't know that history, or why they eventually unionized. Might be a good case study.

Look at it this way - if there were no union representation at USAirways, you'd be an at will employee. When it came time for cutbacks, your seniority would mean nothing. But, what should determine if someone keeps their job or not? Years at the company, or level of performance and skill? Logic and good business-sense would suggest the latter.

Without union representation, your skills and qualifications would be what advanced you within your profession - not the number of years you have. On the other hand, if you are a comitted worker, your number of years would advance your skills. Is that fair? Depends on who you ask.

If I owned a company of 20 people and it came time that the money was tight and we couldn't survive without laying 5 people off, I'd look at performance and who's contributing the most to the company to ensure it's survival. If there was an employee with 10 years, but he's a total underachiever, or just does the minimum to get the job done, don't you think I have a right to consider letting him go in light of other employees who have demonstrated their dedication and perseverance?

So, while I'm not anti-union - I respect what they stand for - I'm just not always convinced that they're completely beneficial for the membership. I believe in rewarding and paying in accordance with the market and individual performance. It's objective and pretty simplistic, I know. Maybe that's what a perfect world is, which we all know is not what we live in.
 
The Mechanics just had a chance to be non-union. Having the contract abrogated gives the company the same rights and powers as not having a union.

Everything PHL talked about could be happening to the mechanics right not. Personally, I feel that I would be better off working without a contract. Instead of possibly being laid-off next spring, I would be guaranteed a place because of my work ethic and ability to interface comfortably with management.

Yet, I voted yes on both contract ballots. I believe in TRADE unionism. I believe that we have a right, and are better off bargaining as a group. I also believe that market forces are worse than we are being told, and soon will deteriorate even more.

Does this make me a scab? Certainly the angry amongst us would say so.

Work without a union? Personally I would excel in such an environment, but I don't think that it would be the best for the industry or the country.

Change unions? Absolutely! Fill out those cards, or we will be condemned to endure the same mealy incompetence we've had to put up with for decades.
 
OP
W
Aug 29, 2002
196
0
www.usaviation.com
[blockquote]
----------------
On 9/19/2002 1:43:23 PM repeet wrote:

The Mechanics just had a chance to be "non-union". Having the contract abrogated gives the company the same rights and powers as not having a union.

Everything PHL talked about could be happening to the mechanics right not. Personally, I feel that I would be better off working without a contract. Instead of possibly being laid-off next spring, I would be guaranteed "a place" because of my work ethic and ability to interface comfortably with management.

Yet, I voted yes on both contract ballots. I believe in TRADE unionism. I believe that we have a right, and are better off bargaining as a group. I also believe that market forces are worse than we are being told, and soon will deteriorate even more.

Does this make me a "scab"? Certainly the angry amongst us would say so.

Work without a union? Personally I would excel in such an environment, but I don't think that it would be the best for the industry or the country.

Change unions? Absolutely! Fill out those cards, or we will be condemned to endure the same mealy incompetence we've had to put up with for decades.

----------------
[/blockquote]
Thanks for all the replies..one comment though...I do not see any Union representing Aircraft Mechanics as a Trade Union...maybe a Hinz 57 Union, but not a Trade Union,IE: Electical workers, Plumbers, Hoisting Engineers,
Pipe fitters, and the such..Hell even the Laborers have there own Union, and they have more power than the IAM, or AMFA. Thanks all
 

MCORESCWA

Newbie
Sep 17, 2002
1
0
AS to the question of Could U go non-Union and we servive, The company has no authority or option as to representation once a Union has been voted in. The members, and only the members if the so desire, get to make that choice. It is my opinion that the recent restructioring, contract negotiations have shown the value of Union representation. All one has to do is compare what the company wanted from every employee group, and what was finally agreed to. And while there is some language in our new CWA contract that many of us don't like(myself included), I am very happy that our top salary level isn't the $17 and change that the company had as their orginal goal. I think that the $3.00 an hour we didn't loose more than makes up for the dues we pay. Besides, here in customer service we are still getting our 25 cents an hour customer contact premium. This premium, which is above and beyond our salary is designed to cover the cost of our monthly dues.
 

Boomer

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
1,139
70
NMB Representation Manual

Anyone wanting to get or change Unions should start at the link above. Do not trust your future to what someone told you or to anything you think you know-look it up yourself.

As for decertifying your Union, and then certifying another Union after the mandantory year wait; refer to ACA v. AMFA, it pretty much tells you what can happen during the interval between having no Union, certifying one and then negotiating the first contract.

As far as changing Unions, refer back to the NMB Rep. manual and do not believe the hype: if you vote out one Union for another, the Union you bring in inherits the contract in-toto for the duration of the agreement.

As far as what you should do, that is the choice of each person. As far as whether you need a Union or not; the fact that you were able to vote on the degree of the concessions you chose to take should be all that is required.
 

sabre

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
161
0
Certainly the thing that keeps us under wraps for at least 6.5 years + at least 3 more years of negotiations is our CBA.
US AIRWAYS would love for us to stay organized because it gives them the stability it needs for the next decade.
On the other hand, getting rid of the union means you destroy your CBA. It isn't that great of a give up assuming you reorganize a year later and restart negotiaitons. Then you will be about 8 years ahead.
I wouldn't think any such plan by a group of employees would be smart unless it is outside BK. And then you can expect the pushbacks lost and Line Utility lost [2,000 jobs]. Fleet service would lose Catering [150jobs].

I find it odd that someone would want to decert a union to get out of a horrible CBA when they could have voted NO and kept their union without going through the lengthly process.
 

flaptrack

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
141
0
www.usaviation.com
PHL

Junior or middle management at union companies usually have better benefits than non-union companies. This fact is driven by the union labor contract and the lower management employees can not be given less then them. You will bash me but - ask your friends. I interviewed at State Street Bank (Boston) for a white collar job. They gave their new management employees 1 week vacation after one year. And now for the rest of the story-------------