Friday, August 31, 2012

Pilots and Unions

It wasn't too long ago when someone said "teamsters" that you immediately conjured up images of Jimmy Hoffa being buried under a football? stadium. Turns out these days Teamsters actually represents airline pilots, along with ALPA (Air Line Pilot Association). So what am I getting at? The company dh works for just voted in Teamsters to represent the pilot group. I am one of those pilot wives who knows (I think) dh's agreement better than him, and in general I'm super interested in most aspects of aviation (aside from actually flying, of which I am convinced is PFM). So I have been watching what has happened with the teamsters drive religiously.

Now when dh was at XJT they were ALPA (and no ALPA is not "the best ever" ) then when he went to work at his new company it was non-union. Which (as far as I can tell) worked great (for a while) and management and the pilots played nice together for a number of years. Of course, since we have gotten there it hasn't been quite so copasetic. We personally have run into a few issues such as trip trades going though only to find a week later they said "oops" our bad, and switched the trips back AFTER we had gotten plane tickets to go see family already. Not giving back days off, more instances of screwing with schedules things like that.

Wait! I know you're going to say those things happen at other places (like XJT) too, and it's true they do hence the phrase "fly now grieve later." The only difference is at other places there is a recourse you have "grieve it" weather it accomplishes anything or not is always up for debate BUT at least it is something. I came into the airline industry knowing NOTHING about Unions (good or bad) but what I have determined (at least in the airline industry) is they are a necessary evil.

As with most things there are postive and negative aspects about Unions. On the good side they (management) will actually be required, by law, to sit down with the pilots (reps) and talk about issues (whatever it may be tdy, overnights, ect) this was actually (in my opinion) one of the biggest problems they were having. Management would say "sure we will get together with you" and then never show. Another plus of the union is the legal team you get, in case (god forbid) you would ever need it. And of course wait for favorite....medical coverage. There is a pretty solid rumor (I don't know for sure hence the word rumor) that teamsters because of its size, can offer better medical coverage than what we have at a cheaper cost to the company, so of course this is a big one for me since the company so kindly last year chopped our health insurance to pieces. Of course there are downfalls to Unions as well, see the "fly now grieve later" sentence above. And they do cost $$$ (nothing in life is free right?).

Since no one has yet invented a crystal ball that actually works, I have no way of knowing if Teamsters will be beneficial or not.....In the great words of Jimmy Buffett "Only Time Will Tell."

* These are MY thoughts on the union(s) not my dh's though he may agree with some I didn't ask him before writing this.