View Full Version : Can numbers of furloughs be reduced by pay cuts?

Ignition Override
8th Oct 2001, 08:15
As a pilot with a US airline, I've been curious as to whether United's or Delta's management, both of whose pilots recently received substantial raises well above the other US majors' pay rates, have offered to reduce potential furlough projections in exchange for pay concessions, with clearly-defined snapback provisions. I have read/heard nothing about this from the US media, or any other source, not even rumours.

Even if either of these MECs agreed to a 10-15% pay cut, their salaries would still be at least equal to the other US majors, assuming that monthly hours etc were unaffected. I'm not suggesting that pilots there nor anywhere else do anything on impulse, nor am I making any accusations. It just seems strange to me that no discussions of cold numbers have leaked out. Over the last 15 years or so I've never noticed such a silence on this entire issue, especially from management.

Maybe the timing of the government's airline rescue fund is at a very delicate stage? Being aware that packages are not anxious about airports, I was surprised that FEDEX's Fred Smith had the gall to be in Congress looking for sympathy along with the other airline CEO's, and according to a FEDEX pilot's friend, have no plans to furlough.

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: Ignition Override ]

8th Oct 2001, 08:35
The airline management's dreams come true, they get to furlough pilots as allowed by specific clauses in the contracts in "emergency" situations, the fat ALPO boys aren't about to take a pay cut on behalf of the junior folks getting furloughed...it's all about selfishness..on both sides of the fence...

8th Oct 2001, 09:27
Are you for real? Why in the world would you want to subsidize an airlines operations at your own expense? If you are willing to do that, why have a union in the first place? At your next contract negotiation, just ask the company what they are willing to pay you and accept it with no questions asked. These airlines we all work for with few exceptions have been doing extremely well for the last several years. Executive pay is never cut (unless you need to in order to make a case for getting $5B from the government)so why should we, the backbone, take it in the shorts now? Maybe it should go on and individual basis. If you gave up a portion of YOUR salary, the airline would be able to afford more of those shiney new airplanes they wanted. Just look at United, just days after the bailout they announce they will continue their plans for a corporate jet fleet. Yeah you should accept pay and work-rule concessions. One step forward and three steps back!

8th Oct 2001, 09:40
MEC Chairman Rick Dubinsky said.

"In response to the company's recent announcement regarding pilot furloughs, today I sent several communications to senior management concerning provisions in our collective bargaining agreement that take effect when the first United pilot is furloughed.

In response to Sr VP-Flt Opns Steve Forte's letter of Oct. 1, formally advising ALPA of the impending furlough I advised him that as indicated in LOA 91-42, ALPA stands ready to consider non-concesionary proposals to mitigate furloughs such as early retirement programs, personal leaves of absence and military leaves - all of which may provide substantial relief to the company's training requirements.

I also advised Captain Forte that central to this task is the necessity to provide the MEC and our legal and financial advisors a complete analysis of the company's current and projected business condition and plans. I indicated that it IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALPA TO UNDERSTAND WHETHER, OR TO WHAT EXTENT THE COMPANY'S FURLOUGH PLANS WILL RESULT IN ACTUAL COST REDUCTIONS AND OVER WHAT PERIDO FO TIME.

In another letter I formally notified Captain Forte that, our contract (Sections 5-B and 5-B-3), that at any time while a pilot is on furlough, THE COMPANY MAY NOT DESIGNATE FLEX MONTHS AND DOMESTIC PILOTS MAY NOT OPT TO FLY UP TO 83 HOURS, BUT ARE INSTEAD LIMITED TO THE NORMAL CAP OF 81 HOURS.

In a third letter to Captain Forte, I have put the company on notice that we are rescinding the Overprojection Protection provided for in paragraph two of Letter 96-1, the Trip Trade with Open Flying Agreement, which will take effect with the Feb 02 monthly schedule. Thereafter, pilots will no longer be able to fly over the applicable 81-hour domestic or 85-hour int'l actual limits as a result of a month end carry-in or other circumstances.

I also sent a letter to COO Andy Studdert advising him that with the planned retirement of the B-727 and B-737-200 fleets, as announced by Captain Forte in his Oct. 1 letter, it is obvious that there is no way in which the Company can comply with the requirement of Section 1-C-1-f, which obliges the Company, if it WISHES ITS EXPRESS CARRIERS TO OPERATE ANY SMALL JETS WHATSOEVER, TO MAINTAIN NO FEWER THAN 451 LARGE-GAUGE NARROW-BODY AIRCRAFT IN ITS FLEET. Thus, absent ALPA's consent, as of October 31, 2001 the Agreement requires all Small Jets, now approaching 60 in number, TO CEASE OPERATION UNDER A UNITED CODE-SHARE RELATIONSHIP.

The Company's October 1 "furlough letter" along with the above described communications as well as a cover letter from myself is currently being prepared and is scheduled to be in the mail to all United pilots by early next week.

Ignition Override
8th Oct 2001, 10:41
I'm not with UA, DAL or AA. My company is looking at early retirements etc, which is certainly a complicated matter. IF we could prevent a fraction of our folks from getting cut (only speaking for myself), I would reduce my hours a bit, or take a pay cut with clear "snap-back" language. Even retraining many pilots in different planes is very expensive, and that also makes me wonder...

In any case, those furloughed by our company should receive medical insurance for the entire period they are off, even if the line pilots help subsidize. It worked in the early 90s.

Many of the main issues are much more complicated than many of us realize. It almost takes a law degree to understand our contract.

9th Oct 2001, 05:13
Can NOT imagine the top of the heap ALPA guys accepting a pay reduction....why should they, after all they paid the price early in their own careers. The junior guys will just have to take their lumps now, just like those before.

9th Oct 2001, 07:45
As a pretty senior pilot with a major I am willing to fly reduced hours to alleviate a furlough (been there for four years myself). However, the company is presently showing no signs of complying with any of the contractually negotiated means of implementing these protections. Instead they are following their own "slash and burn" path under the "emergency" section of our contract.

Once again, it seems we will have to try to hit them with a baseball bat to gain their attention. Sorry for the delay potential furloughees. I for one am with you but we cannot let the company run wild otherwise when you return it will be to much deteriorated working conditions which you will regret for the rest of your career.