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Old 5th Nov 2008, 14:23
  #8 (permalink)  
Shawn Coyle
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Philadelphia PA
Age: 69
Posts: 1,835
I have no dog in this action, so to speak, so I'd like to add my two bits.
Unions have a place when management is not always sweetness and light. If management were perfect, there would be no need for unions. Mind you, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need management or regulatory authorities either. There is at least one company in the Gulf of Mexico that treats their people really well, and has been able to keep the union out.

The issue for a union is to find a balance in representing their member's interests. It's a little known fact that the main airline union, ALPA, spends most of their money in making sure they have representation on all the technical committees that impact airline operations. This is a huge expense, but it's the only way they can make sure that their main interest - safety - gets heard. They have been instrumental in many of these committees in preventing bad ideas from organizations like the FAA and management from becoming rules.

The other main reason is to make sure wages are reasonable. ALPA will send their accountants in to look at the books when an airline cries 'no money', and has accepted the truth when they find it.
If you want a really interesting story get 'Flying the Line' from ALPA, and you'll recognize a lot of parallels to the current helicopter industry.

I'm not going to say that unions are perfect. There have been lots of abuses of power by unions, and times when personality gets in the way of logic and reason. But a union staffed by good people, who are backed by reasonable people in the ranks can be a very positive thing.
If you don't get involved one way or another, you deserve whatever happens to you!
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