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March 7 , 2011

In this Issue...

The Way It Has To Be, Part 3  

ALPAWatch Think Tank Paper

The Way It Has To Be

Part 3 of 5


This is Part 3 of The Way It Has To Be.

Click here for Part 1 and the entire Paper, The Way It Has To Be


How do you explain the negative correlation of safety records having never been better while pilot compensation has been drastically reduced?

The short explanation is that the industry is enjoying a grace period.  We are living on borrowed time.  Pilots are still performing as they did when they were properly compensated because they are trapped.  They are too old to change careers and they are too professional to not perform as the professionals that they are.  They not only approach the job with the same commitments as always, but they are going the extra mile.  They have risen to the challenge in the face of a hostile work environment…all for 40% less pay and little or no retirement.  What more could you ask from an employee group?

But what if most pilots were 20 or 30 years younger?  If you were 20 or 30 years younger, and you knew what you know now about the airline industry and you had the opportunity to change careers for equal or more money, would you do it?  Would you have gotten into aviation in the first place?   If you and many others like you decided on another career, would that have hurt the industry?  Do you know any pilots that encourage young people to become pilots?  Is it more likely pilots today tell them to stay away from aviation?

If there is no viable plan in the works to restore this profession, are the talented 20 something’s of today going to choose aviation?

The clock is ticking.  Solve this problem quickly, and it will not do any long term damage.


Changing the mindset of pilots and ALPA about their career and the union

The mindset of some pilots is outdated and flawed.  ALPA is not a fraternity and it’s not a labor movement, ALPA is a business tool…or it should be.  The union is nothing more than a set of laws, recorded in the United States Federal code.  It is a business tool to help you manage your career…or it needs to be.

You don’t need a fraternity.  Flying for a major airline is the only club you need, and a great club it is!  Let that club be your fraternity.  The union is for business.  Standing together to achieve common goals is a good business decision, but that does not make it a fraternity.

As an airline pilot, you have two jobs.  Flying airplanes is one job, managing your career is another job.  Both of these jobs should be thought of as white collar jobs, but without question the management of your career is a white collar job.  As a Delta pilot, you are one of 12,000+ individual business professionals, all with multi million dollar businesses called your career.  The labor laws that exist in this country are a tool, a tool you use through a union to manage that career.  That is what the union really is, nothing more, nothing less.  Trying to pretend that tens of thousands of millionaire business professionals are some kind of a labor movement is silly and degrading.  Acting like the business professionals you are.  Expect the respect that such business professionals routinely receive.  The pilots and ALPA need to adopt an elevated mindset that the union is a business tool and your career is white collar.  This will improve the effectiveness of the union because it will force it to focus on reality and its purpose.

You are far more invested in your company than most managers or executives.  You are here for life.  They come and go.  You live with the ups and downs, the successes and failures of your company.  Executives get bonuses for joining the company and again when they leave.  So I ask you, which group has the greater good of the company at heart, the life-long employee or the temporary manager? 

Drawing this distinction is not promoting class warfare.  Management and pilots are cut from the same cloth.  They simply pursued different professional paths.  Pilots need to recognize their place in the company.  They have a vested interest in its success.  They demonstrate this everyday with their professionalism, but they also need to recognize their responsibility to creating a stable and sustainable pilot profession.


Part 4 will cover

  • The Numbers
  • How much should Delta Pilots be paid?
  • How does this plan help Delta?

To read the entire Paper click on The Way It Has To Be


Thank you again for participating in ALPAWatch.  With the participation of pilots such as you, ALPAWatch will be successful in obtaining the Union Leadership that the Pilot Group deserves, and in doing so regain our fair compensation, our quality of life, our future, and our dignity.