Crown Jewel?


May 26, 2003
Anyone have a guess as to how much $$$ we are loosing due to managements refual to properly staff PHL ramp? I have heard over 1500 misconnected bags a day along with 75 agents a month on OJI.
I talked to a friend of mine who works the ramp in PHL.He gave the same number of misconnect bags as you did.He said it''s not unusual for international flights to have to wait for over an hour for gate space on the weekends because of severe understaffing.He also said OSHA was there last week investigating because they have over 100 agents out with occupational injuries.We''re hearing the same kind of stories coming out of CLT.One of my co-workers who is trying to get to PHL was told by a transfer clerk that they don''t anticipate adding any full time agents in the near future. Apparently,Dave plans to turn this into a regional airline with mostly part time employees.
when is this airline going to 50lb max on dom. and 70lbs intnl
baggage limits like the rest of the airline industry?
this might help on the OJI''s
come on dave get with the program!!!!
you follow every other it!!!
I heard that baggage delivery charges were between $1500 and $2000 per day. It seems that this is way more than the salary of several agents that may help the problem.
I hate to say it, but the same thing is about to happen in CLE at Continental. local management has decided to downgrade full-time ramp agents to part-time agents and almost change the entire operation. Connecting baggage will be the worst hit. What really makes no sense is that CO/COEX and CO connection is adding flights and loads are supposed to be very heavy for the summer, if you want to see bad morale check out the CO cle ramp.
On 5/27/2003 12:08:04 PM PineyBob wrote:

You are not going to like this one bit, but outfits like US & CO are taking a look around at the staffing levels of folks like Jet Blue & SWA and matching them. Why match their staffing levels? Because they earn a profit! That''s right PROFIT! The only reason your jobs exist!

The reason you can''t keep up is arcane and antiquated work rules. The Company is going to force your hand on this and the only way to combat it is to get out in front on it and negotiate your terms. Granted it will be terms of surrender, but the alternative is lees appealing.

Just remember things change. Today the economy is poor and you are taking it in the shorts! That will change and you need to position yourself to be the "Blankor" instead of the "Blankee" like you are now.

Quick....everyone get your applications in to SWA or Jetblue.....tell ''em PineyBob sent you......
Hey Piney, get a clue!
JetBlue and SWA hire folks that they don''t intend to keep. Virtually no one on their ramp is over 40, since they are growing carriers and hired most of their folks in the last 10 years. When their workforces mature, they''ll have many of the same difficulties U, UAL, DAL, CAL and other mature carriers have. Unionized labor WILL prevail, as it has throughout the last 100 years in the USA. If it doesn''t, we''re looking at a lot more than a recession, poosibly a serious depression or even a total change of political systems. I don''t understand just what you have against the folks that work here, but why not understand that all most want is a decent living with acceptable working conditions and fair wages. You come on here gladhanding everyone, telling them that it''s the employees that keep you here, then you continually regurgitate management''s sound bites. Profit is one thing, and SWA (I don''t know much about JBLU or they''re wages for any group other than pilots) pays pretty well actually (they also treat their employees with respect, a VERY foreign concept for U management). Their wages are structured differently than most, in ways that encourage productivity. When Unions propose similar rules at U, they are looked upon as trying to get away with something, and their suggestions are promptly dismissed by management. You might see a whole lot more motivated workforce if they had ANY confidence in what this management proposes for their future, but most of the folks that have worked in this industry for long, seen it from inside as well as outside (something I doubt that you can do) do not like what they see or hear.
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This isn''t the union of old. There is no standing around saying "that''s not my job." The ramp at US has NO work rules. The other work groups do. If it''s not in the other groups contract...we do it...bottom line. You can''t compare SWA and JetBlue staffing because they don''t have hubs. I doubt that they would have 1 person trying to run 120 connecting bags to 30 different gates in 25 min. or 2 people doing a 10000 lbs. turn in 30. This is about US expecting the job to get done with a staffing that is physically impossible. There is no profit in that.
Efficiencies which are often permitted under the labor contracts are OFTEN not taken advantage of by management. It really does seem rather ridiculous that they seem to prefer to make stuff up, whether it violates contracts or not, than take advantage of efficiencies already allowed them. Take duty rigs, for example. They are there to ensure that the flight crew is used efficiently, not left sitting around with nothing to do for no pay. Even with this incentive, the company continues to schedule long airport sits, long overnights, etc. SWA has them as well, they just schedule much more efficiently so that they don't pay this sort of penalty. The pilots allowed all the efficiencies for a SWA type operation. Maybe you remember Metrojet. It was VERY popular with customers, and even the crews appreciated the more efficient trips and cost structure. It even appealed to management in that it allowed the pilots to basically work as much as they wanted to, up to 288 hours in 3 months (FAA max, since only 1000 hours per year can be flown). Trips were basically "hard time" with very minimal rig pay due to the MUCH more efficient use of crews. Rather than even entertain the notion of expanding it to more of the mainline operation, management just pulled the plug and parked the airplanes. I know a lot of folks here on the pilot list that to this day resent Metrojet being on the property, but faced with that sort of operation or flying an RJ, I think I know which they would choose. Piney, just let me emphasize that I know of very few employees at U that are here for any sort of "free ride", all they want is fair treatment, fair wages, and a decent lifestyle. BY the way, my solution to your example about 100 unionized workers would be to: realize that there is a cost to doing business, and our business model in the NE is more expensive than most; then, I would line fewer executive pockets in order to maintain the operation profitably, while NOT comparing my operation to anyone elses, especially not marketing models as different as those of SWA and JBLU. I hope you can understand that unions would NOT exist if fairness was a concept embraced throughout the business world.
On 5/27/2003 10:16:05 AM Seatacus wrote:

I heard that baggage delivery charges were between $1500 and $2000 per day. It seems that this is way more than the salary of several agents that may help the problem.

i would say that 1500-2000 is a very conservative number.
i have a friend who works baggage in tampa and says 10-15 claims of each flt from phl.....average del is 25.00......also that does not count any interim expenses doled out....
On 5/27/2003 6:21:45 PM PineyBob wrote:

On 5/27/2003 5:21:39 PM oldiebutgoody wrote:
I hope you can understand that unions would NOT exist if fairness was a concept embraced throughout the business world.
Apparently you haven't been reading! I have stated often the NEED for unions!

The American Labor movement was largely responsible for creating our middle class!

I have a friend who is a singer and writes some very powerful songs mostly about Coal miners!

Spent a summer when I was 8 on the picket line with my dad (teamster)

It's just that as an outsider it is very tough to fully comprehend the inability of US to make money. I also personally observed the meltdown of the steel industry in part because of the USWA's initial refusal to modify work rules. With the "Wal-Marting" and globalization of entire industries, companies need to be flexible. This is the weakness of most unionized workforces. Read all you can about NuCor Steel and their approach and how the workers there actually earn more than their USWA Brothers. NuCor is a bad example in some ways because their management is very progressive, but they do have a track record of no layoffs in their history. They have a poloicy where if the work slows down then everyone takes a hit. they have been a various times down to 3 days per week but EVERYBODY had a job!

All true. But look at the reality. It's not the employees' pay that's killing U or keeping it from making money. It's stupid things like "giving away" 35 million dollars the night before you declare chapter 11, paying two or three times the going rate on aircraft leases, then parking all the planes you own in the desert and keeping the high cost leases, and probably the most ridiculous reason of all, paying $25 million a copy for 50-70 seat jets, when for the same amount you could have had airbusses (except that you cancelled all the options for them). It's management that's killing this airline, not the employees. I'm glad that you agree with me on that point! And, one more thing. I was pretty anti-union before I got into this industry. I thought that folks should be paid what the market would bare, and that collective bargaining was a form a extortion. Now, however, after seeing it from both sides, I see that without the protections provided to labor through such associations, management would only get richer by stuffing their pockets while giving as little as they could get away with to the employees. Crappy management is what caused unionism in the first place, and now I've experienced first hand why it will be a part of the US national culture forever. If it ever goes away, so will the US as we know it.
Just my 2 cents worth. Using Southwest, AirTrans or JetBlue as comparison carriers is very difficult to measure. AirTrans and JetBlue are relatively new carriers with junior work forces (not age but lower on their pay scale). Southwest has been able to continue to expand at a rate of 10% to 15% a year which has allowed them to maintain a more junior work force (appox. 50% of Southwest employees have 5 years or less). Because of this, when computing an average wage, it will be less than a more mature carrier (less expansion and therefore a more senior or expensive work force). Also, Southwest, AirTrans and JetBlue do not operate true hubs, the majority of their business is point to point(they do have hubs or focal cities but the connecting passenger is not the core of their business). US Airways, before Mr. Wolf, had a balance between point to point routes and hubs. He led the company into focusing on hubs and the point to point flights have disappeared. This continues under current leadership. Because of the hubs, passengers and bags must be handled many more times then on point to point flights. Therefore to accomplish the same work, more people are needed (thats the folks in the hub).

It is my belief that the airport personnel at US Airways actually work harder (handle more passengers and bags) per employee than any of the 3 aforementioned carrier. It is the extra gate agents and ramp agents in the hubs that add the extra cost. So the advantages of the hubs for passengers-1 connections to many more cities (and small cities) also increases the required number of staff and therefore increases cost. So when trying to do a direct comparison, US Airways will always look bad compared to Southwest, AirTrans and JetBlue.
You keep harping about arcane work rules.Tell us what they are.You''re buying into the crap that Dave Seigel keeps shoveling.We don''t have any minimum staffing numbers for certain types of aircraft.You work it with what you have on hand.In CLE it was not unusual to have four aircraft on the ground and five agents to work them.I wish the suit and tie crowd could come down on the ramp and do what we do for a few weeks,then maybe you could tell us what work rules are holding this company back.What rules does Southwest have or JetBlue,that make them so much more efficient? Or,will this industry just be comprised of part time transient workers who stay for short periods of time.
Our problem at CAL is that we dont have a union..we really need one, if we did they wouldnt have downgraded me from a full-time agent to part-time agent (7 yrs senority). All part-time agents were not affected in any way, some hired in 2001..thats bull!
We are getting beat up due to understaffing. The company is not listening to the employees and the union is standing right behind the company! Please do not blame us if your bags dont make its connections. We are doing everything we can to help the public and our passengers but no one will listen to us in mgt. We ask for more people to get the job done and all we get are more layoffs and a witch hunt to fire good employees.

God help us all if this is the future of avation and transportation

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