What Are Pilots Saying about ALPAWatch?

 

 
Questions and Comments about ALPAWatch
 

We asked former NWA pilots"what would tell Delta pilots about ALPAWatch?" (Solicited in an ALPAWatch Newsletter, Nov. '08)

Skip the Comments I already read in the January 16th ALPAWatch Newsletter

ALPAWatch is an excellent source of information.  No one is running for office.  The information provided is another point of view that comes with a commitment to be fair and discuss all the ramifications for the average line pilot. The facilitators show integrity and fairness.

Since our pilot group is diverse with highly varying concerns, it is unlikely to have someone on the MEC/LEC who can know all those concerns, yet alone promote the ones important to me.  Better representation occurs when there is a vehicle to discuss and present all the points of view and record how representatives make choices in an easy to read and easy to get format. 

I have been an NWA pilot for over 23 years.  I was an LEC Scheduling committee chairman and an elected LEC FO Rep during the '98 strike.  I still find it very difficult to really get the unbiased information with the time I have.  ALPAWatch is making a positive contribution.

I saw a great difference in the information provided to the pilots of Council 1 and Council 20 during the Chapter 11 process, as I was getting both Council's updates.  Council 20 was more thorough in providing important details and did not gloss things over.  I felt like I got all the facts, and they would clearly state what the LEC Reps thought, but still gave me enough information that I could decide better for myself. Council 1 seemed to just tell us we would have some "turbulence ahead," and spare us a lot of the details.  I wanted more. Some Reps don't communicate as often or as fully as we would like. I know from personal experience, it is a difficult job.  And communication skills vary. With the fewer days off under the current contract, our time is even tighter.  We need concise, complete and timely information.

ALPAWatch is easier to navigate and read than the formal ALPA web products.  But the best attributes are it's commitment to fairness, accuracy and completeness, and being free of political aspirations.

Jay Quinton
MSP B757 Capt
NWA

**********************************************************************************************************

To our new Delta......Please take a moment to review AlpaWatch....The news letters are to inform you on the movements within the ALPA framework....Their reports take an inside view on agendas and direction that will have an impact on you & I as line pilots.....

Sometimes.... politics & fairness need to be exposed and explained....


Peter Horan
A330 FO  DTW

**********************************************************************************************************

I continue to be an avid and loyal Alpawatch reader for the second
straight year. There are so many rumors and nonfactual stories out
there, and Alpawatch seems to know the issues, and confirms or dispels
said rumors. I have completely given up on the unions news letters and
just turn to Alpawatch for all my union news. They, like us, have a
vested interest, but no conflict of interest, in what is happening
with the union. I always recommend it to other pilots, and have yet to
hear a disparaging comment about the organization. It is what Fox News
claims to be, "Fair and Balanced". It is without any reservations that
I highly recommend Alpawatch to any Delta or Northwest pilots.

Regards,

Booth Devitt
320FOMSP

**********************************************************************************************************

ALPAWATCH has been very effective at keeping an eye on the NWA MEC/LEC
Officers.  ALPAWATCH has been during these difficult times a very good
check and balance against some ALPA leaders from running their own
agendas. ALPAWATCH is an Alarm System.... I say we should keep it at
the New Delta...!

Takecare  BOTH DAL/NWA
Roger M. Gordon
DTWCA757

**********************************************************************************************************

I found AlpaWatch during a period when my brother-in-law at UsAirways was in the Decertification mode and my confidence in ALPA was at an all-time low.  Dysfunction was the watchword of the day, and since we had warring factions on our seniority list, I thought it prudent to have a non-biased source of information.

I have found this organization to provide that function without any of the usual agenda or programming.  Although it seems no source can be totally philanthropic in nature, I have found them to bring the extra set of eyeballs every pilot should have in reserve.  I would review their performance as timely, concise, and on the mark, even explaining some of the nebulous issues surrounding our union's business at NWA and overall in the industry.  I would give them a 10 out of 10 for doing the right thing just because it is right, and not giving the politically correct answer.  They don't sugar coat the information and every bit of news is explained even if the answer is not pretty.

I think as we move forward as a unified union, we will have several issues that will come to the fore front early on regarless of how the seniority list fleshes out and I for one will be listening to ALPA Watch to make sure the "trust but verify" mechanism is in place.  I finally feel like their is someone on my side and I don't have to attend every meeting or read every e-mail just so I don't miss something important.  We all have a friend in the union business in ALPA Watch and I hope they are always there to count on.  They have earned their mettle in pretty unfreindly union waters, hopefully there will be no need for them in the Delta ALPA future, but they should be there just in case of emergency!!!

DJR
New Delta Pilot

**********************************************************************************************************

"alpawatch is the best thing that's happened at NWA since John Katona!" 

K.H. Gallgher

**********************************************************************************************************

Great information, great people.  An excellent unbiased source of what is really going on.  Keep up the good work.

P.R.

**********************************************************************************************************

I view alpa watch as the third eye that watches what is going on in the alpa meetings. They tell me what is happening and let me interpret the results. It like going to a unoin meeting without being there. The only way to be truely informed.

Kevin (former NWA)

**********************************************************************************************************

Just as with the federal government, ALPA has become a political machine, only disseminating information they want you to know, not necessarily all the facts. Their modes operendi has been to sway pilots opinion in favor of ALPA,  rather than laying out all the facts for the line pilot to make an intelligent decision. This is no more apparent than with the NWA MEC that led us through bankruptcy and the merger process. Unfortunately, there are those on the MEC who represent us that have their own agenda not that of the line pilot they are suppose to represent.
ALPA Watch is a group of line pilots just like you and I. They report the facts in a fair and unbiased manner, so you can separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to making important decisions about your career. At the new Delta, 12,000 pilots will be represented by only a few. Become better informed and let your voice be heard!

BK - NWA

**********************************************************************************************************

To the Pilots of Delta Airlines.

Alpa watch came about due to the complete and utter failure of our union leadership during the chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our union rolled over without so much as an objection to the companies inflated demands, along with the guidance and concurrence of Alpa National and their attorneys. Fear and intimidation were the tools for compliance. Once the ink was dry on one of the most regressive, over reaching, draconian contracts in the industry our union leaders ran like rats from a sinking ship.
Shackled to this 5 year indentureship with no language for any improvements we felt pretty helpless. Alpa Watch emerged from this mess and actually formulated a comprehensive strategy for improvements that our then union leaders could not begin to articulate or implement.
They held the LEC's and MEC's feet to the fire and were effective in gaining significant improvements to our contract.
These guys are smart,stregic thinkers and hold the support and interests of the line pilots by cutting through the political infighting and mental paralysis that impacts most organizations. They are a great oversight resource that we pilots at NWA/DELTA  are very grateful for and hope you may find equally as beneficial as a check and balance to an often time ineffectual union.

Thanks for listening.

Regards,

Bill Bowlby

**********************************************************************************************************

ALPAWatch is the Hamilton of ALPA.       

(In the 70s and 80s, on the bottom of every Delta advertisement was a line that read "Hamilton- The official watch of Delta Air Lines"

 

Mike Gerhard NWA DTW 747-400 First Officer

**********************************************************************************************************

ALPA Watch was/is needed at NWA due to the strong differences between the bases, Red/Green/Blue issues, and the unfortunate fact that the average line pilot doesn't  trust his ALPA leadership.  When NWA ALPA said they were protecting the interests of the line pilot, I took that to mean they were protecting the interests of the ALPA leadership.  I often found them to be arrogant and self-accomodating.  ALPA Watch has given a good perspective on the inner workings of the Union, and the nasty political infighting that goes on in the name of our "fraternal brotherhood".  Thanks ALPA Watch, I only hope that you are no longer needed after the merger.

Captain Bob McNeese

**********************************************************************************************************

'Nuff Said ! You guys are the only ones putting out a objective perspective!!!

Chris Andersen

**********************************************************************************************************

I believe in ALPAWatch because it is a type of "check and balance" that is required for every large organization, ALPA being no exception. With ALPAWatch there for the line pilots, it is as if we have an Inspector General (IG) looking out for us.

Mike Petraszko
NWA

Back to Top

"ALPAWatch sounds like a great idea, but will it work?" (Crew room conversations)

Yes, it is working now. When people understand what ALPAWatch is, how it functions, what its methods are, and what its objectives are they usually say "Why didn't we have this before?," "I like it!" or "We should have had this a long time ago."

While it would have been useful long before now, its time has come now because of dissatisfaction with our careers and the job our union has been doing. Going forward, the effectiveness of ALPAWatch will largely depend on how motivated the membership is about bringing about change. Somewhat surprisingly, pilot apathy still remains a threat to changing our situation. Another dangerous threat is resignation, "giving up." Don't give in to the temptation to just give up and accept our situation. You and the rest on the membership must act if you want things to get better.

Many great pilots that went before us made incredible sacrifices to secure what we once enjoyed. We owe it to them and those that will come after us to fix this mess.

ALPAWatch is being well received in part because of discontent and the recognition that we must make some changes in how we, the union, conduct ourselves. The climate is right for changing the way our union works and behaves. That means changing the attitudes and behaviors of our leadership. That will enable us to improve our careers. The extremely simplified list of steps that get us from where we are now to where we need to be are:

  1. Strengthen our Union Leadership
  2. That in turns strengthens our union
  3. A strong union is the key to forcing the company to negotiate contract improvements. Negotiations start now. There is no limit to changes that can be achieved through Letters of Agreement (LOA's).
  4. Better negotiations, along with other tactics (not just at contract time, but starting now!) delivers us better careers. Negotiations are how we got what we had and negotiations are how we will get it back. Tactics are methods used to bring the company to the the negotiation table. How long will all this take? As quickly as possible is the goal but this process must happen sooner or later. Most of us are not leaving this job, so now is the time to start.

ALPAWatch is here to organize the membership, and by doing so accomplish the steps above. Only a grassroots approach can accomplish the step number 1. Some of the methods and tools ALPAWatch is using to accomplish these steps are:

  1. Keeping the Membership informed on Union activities or inactivates as the case may be, i.e. the ALPAWatch Newsletter
  2. Providing the Membership methods to make their voice heard with a collective thought, i.e. the Click, Sign, Send feature in Contacts.
  3. Gathering the opinions of the Membership on subjects the union is not acting upon, or the union is acting contrary to the will of the membership, i.e. by sending ALPAWatch and email.
  4. Encouraging cultural reform within the Leadership, i.e. Developing and Implementing an Ethics Pledge
Back to Top

"ALPAWatch will fold. The Union will shut it down" (Note Written on Crew Room Poster in DTW)

The Pilots that have worked so hard to start ALPAWatch are dedicated to seeing it through. They are passionate and have no intention of "folding." As for Union Leadership, some Union leaders might not like having an organization like ALPAWatch looking over their shoulder. That is understandable. Likes and dislikes aside, there isn't much the union can do to stop ALPAWatch from functioning. Furthermore, there is no legitimate reason the union leadership should want to impede the efforts of ALPAWatch. In fact, most union leaders have agreed that ALPAWatch provides an extra "check and balance" mechanism.

Back to Top

"Is this a Red Ninja or Some Blue organization?" (Note Written on Crew Room Poster in MSP)

The short answer is Neither. ALPAWatch is a "color blind," non-political, neutral party that is independent of ALPA.

It is not surprising that many pilots automatically assume ALPAWatch is some splinter group of pilots with a hidden agenda to promote their own special interest, "take over" the union, or some such. It is not surprising that many pilots might mistakenly make such an assumption because the union they all belong to (especially former NWA ALPA) has an unfortunate legacy of being divisive rather than unifying. This has created an "every man for himself" culture. The strength of a union is unity, not every man for himself. While some individuals might benefit from this environment, as a group we suffer. The culture of our union must change!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the long standing practices of political feuds, backstabbing, and the preying of one pilot group on another must come to an end. That end will not come easily, it must nevertheless come to an end. The end of those practices, and the attitudes behind them, starts with the admission that this behavior has been an accepted practice within the union. The end starts by agreeing that it is a destructive practice and with all the other outside assaults we have on our careers, we can no longer afford this practice. Make no mistake, it will end. The only question is when and under what circumstances it will end.

If it is allowed to end by natural causes, it will end through years of attrition, or by liquidation or by a host of other unforeseeable events. All of these methods are unacceptable. They all leave us fighting amongst ourselves while our careers continue to suffer. The best way it can end is by design and with considerable effort. To do otherwise will come at great expense to this pilot group, and conversely at a great profit to airline managers.

To help facilitate this change and bring an end to these destructive practices, the leadership of our union must make a commitment to bring it to an end. ALPAWatch is here, promoting equal, fair treatment of ALL DAL pilots; expecting and demanding the same from our union leadership. There is no acceptable argument for this union's leadership to do otherwise.

ALPAWatch alone cannot make these changes occur. The leadership is not responsible to ALPAWatch. The leadership is responsible to the membership. It is up to the Membership to hold our leadership accountable for their actions on this issue and all others. It is ALPAWatch's job to provide the Membership with the tools, information and methods required to hold our Leadership accountable to their commitments. ALPAWatch will gather the information and point out activities that may need to change. It is up to the membership to determine if action is required. If it is, ALPAWatch will provide the necessary support to bring about that action.

Back to Top

"What is the Structure of ALPAWatch" (From an Email)

Every pilot on the DAL seniority list is a member of ALPAWatch; some just don’t know that yet.  That means it is an open organization working on the behalf of all DAL Pilots. ALPAWatch is a grassroots organization.  It is designed to work from the bottom up.  Improve membership participation in the union process and make certain that the leadership of DAL ALPA is responsive to the needs and concerns of the membership.  In short, the idea is for the membership to drive the leadership.

The pilots that created ALPAWatch and make it function are technically referred to as the Independent Membership Watch Committee (IMWC).  While this sounds very official what it really means is it is a group of pilots that want to make things better for all the pilots at DAL.  The members of that group consist of me (I'm Kevin Jones DTW757FO. I helped start this thing when I had the idea of a union leadership ethics pledge and the rest followed) and other pilots that have volunteered to help make this work.  We need more help so feel free to jump in with any time you have to offer. As volunteers, the IMWC is not a set group of pilots.  Different pilots do what work they can, when they can.  Any DAL pilot can help the IMWC if they agree to a few things.  They must agree with the principles of ALPAWatch, not only its stated Mission Statement, Objectives and Pledge (all on the web site), but also agree that the actions ALPAWatch takes must result in positive changes and conditions that are fair and as equal as possible to all DAL pilots.  Personal agendas are set aside.  They cannot have any past or present DAL management affiliation. They cannot be in a DAL ALPA leadership position, past or present, and they can have no ambitions to hold those positions.  ALPAWatch is independent of the DAL ALPA leadership, which is one of its sources of credibility.

You can read more about this on the web site by clicking on "What is ALPAWatch?" or "A Brief History of ALPAWatch."

The founders of ALPAWatch made this a grassroots organization. ALPAWatch will always be an open organization where all can see its operations at work.

The concept of an organization like ALPAWatch is new to our union.  ALPAWatch is in its infancy.  Its future, how it grows and what it accomplishes is up to the pilots at DAL. If the pilots agree with the need for ALPAWatch, then much will change for the better. If pilots are OK with the way things are, then ALPAWatch will not be in a position to accomplish very much. Either way, people like me are only here to get it off the ground and do the work necessary to make it function.

Back to Top

"Is this for all ALPA Carriers or just Northwest?" (Crew room conversations)

When ALPAWatch started it only had Northwest Pilots. It was started by NWA Pilots for NWA Pilots. The name, "ALPAWatch" just seemed like a good idea at the time. It was never intended to extend beyond NWA ALPA. Now, with Delta merger, it has changed accordingly. ALPAWatch still has no plans to extend beyond Delta. We have plenty to do here.

Back to Top

"All this sounds good. What are you asking me to do?" (Crew room conversations)

For ALPAWatch to be effective, its needs as many DAL Pilots participating as possible. What is participation?

  1. Subscribe to The ALPAWatch Newsletter. ALPAWatch is voluntary. If you don't subscribe, there is no way for you to know what is going on. You will get Newsletters...
    • When Something new or hot comes up
    • When Your action is requested, such as taking a new survey, poll, petition
    • When Surveys, Polls and Petitions open or close. A will get a copy of the results when they close.
    • When ALPAWatch sends or receives correspondence to/from DAL ALPA Leadership, you will get a copy.
    • When Other assorted issues come up. Don't Expect daily updates. We know everyone is busy. We intend to keep the messages to a minimum.
  2. Promote ALPAWatch to other pilots. Tell them about ALPAWatch and encourage them to participate as well. The easiest way for you to Promote ALPAWatch is to send an email to every DAL Pilot you have in your email address book. Send them the link to ALPAWatch.org along with a recommendation. Again, numbers count. The more pilots we have reading the Newsletter, more quickly change will come.
  3. Read the ALPAWatch Newsletter. The Newsletter keeps you up to date on information you will not get anywhere else, tell you when something new is on the web site. Occasionally, you might be asked to participate in an Email Campaign, which means sending an email to your LEC Reps and the MEC. We make it easy. The Click, Sign and Send Feature allows you to send all you reps and the DAL ALPA Board an email.

"I want out of ALPA. Why not just start a new Union?" (From Crew room posters, emails, conversations, etc.)

When a group of pilots sat down and started ALPAWatch, we did a top down assessment of what should happen to restore our profession, our contract, our careers and our dignity.  The question of whether to start a new union or not was at the top of that discussion.  It was quickly pointed out that the same union that gave away 30+ years of contract improvements is the same union that got those improvements in the first place.  So, what meaning can we take from that fact?  It means that this union worked very well for this pilot group in the past and there is no reason it cannot do so again in the future.  However, for DAL ALPA to produce the successes in the future that it has enjoyed in the past, a couple of things must be put into place.  The union must have good leaders.  The pilot group must have good reasons to believe, trust and follow those leaders.  The pilot group must give the leadership direction.  Securing strong leadership, holding that leadership responsible and ensuring group unity are the first crucial steps, the foundation or repairing the damage.

Starting over with a new union will take years. During those years, little or nothing will improve. And, after several years of work we could be no better off. If the new union was dominated by the same attitudes and behaviors as the old (likely because those in ALPA politics now would be the ones most likely to organize the new union), it would operate much the same as what we have now. The problem is not what alphabetic letters we used to define our union but the behavior of the leadership and to some extent, the membership. The fundamental structure of ALPA is sound. Its deficiencies lie in the leadership, more specifically the attitudes and behaviors of the leadership, the culture if you will. Change the culture and you change the behavior. Change the behavior and you have the opportunity to make past successes tomorrows realities.

The membership must take back this union. They need to clearly define what is and is not acceptable behavior from the leadership, clearly define what acceptable and unacceptable conduct is, and then hold the leadership accountable. Only then can the membership define what direction and what results it expects from this union and have any confidence in achieving those expectations. ALPAWatch was created to give the membership the organization and tools it needs to do just that. All it needs now is your participation.

Who Are the Pilots Behind ALPAWatch? (From Crew room posters, emails, conversations, etc.)

Kevin Jones DTW757FO started it with the idea of an Ethics Pledge for the Leadership of NWA ALPA and the rest followed.  Kevin has a background in business, an intense sense of fairness and a dedicated desire to help repair the damage that has been done to our careers.

Tyler Brisbon DTW320FO became the second permanent participant.  He is currently on long term medical leave (accident) and is helping on a limited basis.

We are looking for up to 2 more permanent members. We currently have some candidates but are looking for more. We believe the next member needs to be a senior pilot, preferably a captain, preferably a original Delta pilot.

Since the beginning of this effort, many other pilots have volunteered to help from time to time.  The names are always changing. They come and go as they balance the demands of job, family, life's demands and their desire to improve the careers of all DAL pilots. New volunteers contact us regularlyS. We are steadily finding jobs for those people. One of the most demanding jobs we always have trouble filling is having an ALPAWatch representative present at all LEC and MEC meetings. Few can find the time to make such a commitment. Almost everyone can help with another important task, promoting ALPAWatch to other pilots. Promoting ALPAWatch means telling them a little about it, like someone did for you, and then asking them to check it out by visiting this website and subscribing to the ALPAWatch Newsletter. Word-of-mouth is still our best promotional tool.

So, it isn't a fixed group.  Any and all are welcome. We need help on all levels.  Those that work for ALPAWatch on the deepest level must agree to put your seniority, position, personal agendas, and prior airline affiliations aside.  Your actions must result in positive changes and conditions that are fair and equal to all DAL pilots.  You can have no ambitions for ALPA politics or company management.