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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 21:11   #1 (permalink)
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Swoop

From another forum, I am taking the liberty of pasting someone else's comment here so anyone looking to come here from an expat position has a better understanding of what is going on at the moment. I felt this was well written and explains the situation very well without any emotional language attached.

Why would anyone want to go to Swoop?

#1 Post by Oldcommercialpilot » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:26 pm

I just wanted to post some frank information about the reality of Swoop Airlines for any young pilots weighing this as a career move. I am clearly against Swoop and what it represents to the aviation profession in Canada so I fully acknowledge that I am writing this from a biased point of view. However, ask ANY pilot at WestJet or Air Canada, and they will likely tell you that the following is accurate:

Career Progression - Swoop is not WetJet. There is not and never will be any form of flow-through agreement from Swoop to WestJet. In fact, between the ALPA hiring ban and the fact that nearly every WJ pilot feels this is an attack on the profession I would say it would most certainly hurt your chances of going to WestJet In the future. Even if you somehow managed to get on with WJ the working environment would be toxic and I most certainly would not want to be an ex-Swoop pilot going into any training/check-ride event with a WJ captain & instructor. Would you really want that looming over your head for your entire career?

Uncertainty - WJ has launched an Unfair Labour Practices complaint against ALPA. ALPA will likely do the same in the coming weeks. Then there is the almost-certain filing of Common Employer status, etc. In other words, this is about to get very messy for a very long time and there is no telling how this is going to play out after the courts/arbitrators/CIRB are done. I'm curious what Swoop is even telling their applicants in the interviews. I'm not entirely sure how they can even hire any pilots without knowing if they are legally allowed to circumvent their Union and hire from outside. Picture this... Today you are hired and are pilot #1 on the Swoop list. Months from now a CIRB ruling comes down in ALPAs favour and WJ must amalgamate the pilot lists. So... You go from Captain #1 to pilot #2500 and are now below the lowest FO on the Dash-8 at Encore.

ALPA hiring ban - For those of you who aren't aware, ALPA has issued an international hiring ban against Swoop as they are arguing that it is WestJet's attempt to circumvent the Union and cut labour costs. What this means is that ALPA is asking airlines & their unions to refuse to hire any pilot that has previously worked for Swoop.

I fully acknowledge that Unions don't hire pilots, companies do so this ban is more symbolic than anything. But... The reality is that breaking this ban is thumbing your nose at ALPA and at pilot solidarity in general - not just in Canada but worldwide. While companies may do the hiring, it is pilots that generally make up the majority of the interview panel as well as the training departments of these airlines. Do you really think this hiring ban is going to be entirely overlooked come interview time? Would you bet your career on it?

So what is your best-case scenario at Swoop?
You get hired, get a fairly quick upgrade, and move on to somewhere else before you top out at Step 3 pay? Well, you better hope you make it through the AC interview first time around because WJ is no longer an option for you. Did I mention that the Air Canada Pilots Association has issued a letter of support in regards to the hiring ban at Swoop?

The reality of WestJet - Even if there was flow-through from Swoop, WJ is not the same as it was a decade ago. 10-15 years ago WJ was the best airline job in Canada - hands down. Today, I would argue it is the worst airline job in terms of career progression, morale, and labour relations. If you were to get hired today at WestJet, you are likely looking at 5 years plus at Encore. Then you get to move to the right seat of the Jet in whichever base happens to be available for you and then move to that base - at your own expense all while taking a pay cut so you can start back at Year 1 FO pay. Then you can rot away in the right seat for about a decade or so before you are offered an upgrade, again, in whichever base happens to be available and you can once again move at your own expense across the country to start again at Year 1 Captain pay. So... in today's environment of global expansion and pilot shortages if you went to WJ - you can expect to put in a whopping 27 years with the company before you ever see the top pay scale as a captain. Depressed yet? A friend on the top WJ captain scale recently showed me a copy of his first pay stub of 2018. After taxes, ESP deductions, etc. it was a whopping $2100. So after putting in a 27 year career you can look forward to pulling in a little over 2 grand per pay cheque. By the way... These numbers are all based on WestJet BEFORE Swoop takes flight. After Swoop you can probably expect Flow, Hiring and Upgrades at WJ to slow to a trickle so you can likely double those expected upgrade times. As far as the $2100 pay cheque ... Good luck ever negotiating any kind of pay raise in the future once you have an airline in house flying the same airplanes for less money. Dont expect wages to improve.

In today's aviation world where we are just on the very cusp of a worldwide pilot shortage why would anyone in their right mind even consider such a career-limiting move? Let's face it - no one's career goal is to fly a jam-packed 737 painted pink for an Ultra-Low-Cost Airline with minimal benefits and for 40% less than the going rate. If you are even considering this as a stepping-stone to land you that next great job I would urge you to walk down the street to Sunwing, Flair, or any other of the multitude of airline jobs offering comparable positions for equal or better pay.

Air Canada is growing rapidly and experiencing unprecedented retirements - hiring hundreds of pilots per year for the forseable future. They have a long track record of hiring pilots without jet experience. Great benefits, new airplanes, pension, best pay in Canada, quick upgrades, and best of all... Years of Service -based pay meaning that when you upgrade after 5 years you will move directly over the Year 5 captain pay unlike WJ where you will start at Step 1 and have to work your way up. This equates to millions of dollars in total career earnings.

Do you really want to work for an airline that has such lack of respect for its employees that it's attempting to circumvent them entirely by subcontracting their jobs out for 40% less. Trust me... You do not.
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Old 23rd Jan 2018, 20:35   #2 (permalink)
 
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Timing is everything in this business - both good ... and bad. This one's going to get very interesting.
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Old 29th Jan 2018, 06:29   #3 (permalink)
 
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If the possibilities at Air Canada are so great then why is the poster concerned anyone would be tempted by this Swoop?

Sounds like simple self-interest of his career progression at WestJet to me. Fair enough, but he can't expect anyone else to care.
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Old 29th Jan 2018, 16:26   #4 (permalink)
 
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Like the pay and conditions? Work there.

Don't like the pay and conditions? Don't work there.

This is labour relations 101 for the new millennia, thank heaven. Unions are so 20th century.
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Old 6th Feb 2018, 03:58   #5 (permalink)
 
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“Like the pay and conditions? Work there.

Don't like the pay and conditions? Don't work there.

This is labour relations 101 for the new millennia, thank heaven. Unions are so 20th century.”

Thanks, I almost spit my beer out. So where do you think your current conditions came from, generous, benevolent employers I guess?.
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Old 7th Feb 2018, 00:52   #6 (permalink)
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The very short version of this:

The company is moving 10 tails from it's mainline to a new start up just after the pilots unionized. It's clearly an attempt at union busting as the wages offered to the "new" pilots are roughly 50% of the current wages paid. No contract has been negotiated with the pilot group yet. The rhetoric is ramping up as the executives of the company have now stated that 10 tails will become 40-50 tails. The model the company touts as a success is that of JetStar.

Wages aren't that great in Canada to begin with because there has been a pilot surplus in this country for over 30 years (where else would you see 10,000 hour first officers in a B-737?). We are finally catching up with the rest of the world on the pilot shortage and would like to see some wage increases.

Cheers
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Old 7th Feb 2018, 09:46   #7 (permalink)
 
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MOSTLY HARMLESS said.......

A friend on the top WJ captain scale recently showed me a copy of his first pay stub of 2018. After taxes, ESP deductions, etc. it was a whopping $2100. So after putting in a 27 year career you can look forward to pulling in a little over 2 grand per pay cheque.

You're suggesting that Swoop will pay 50% less than this? I've seen the pay scales, and I don't see how it's possible (even in the high tax regime that is Canada) that you'll only end up with $1,050 per month. I don't dispute that the pay will be less, neither do I think it advances the argument to overdramatize the facts. You've also detailed the long road to the "top" in Westjet, so clearly some will see this as a shortcut to some decent money, and will no doubt fill the seats.

It is a fact that the management will attempt to keep the cost base in the new airline low. It is after all a ULCC model. Some of that savings will come at the expense of the employees (pilots included), and some will come at the expense of the passengers, who will be crammed in with an unbearable seat pitch, and will have to endure being nicked and dimed for things now considered basic.

Citing Jetstar as a success that they aim to duplicate is a bit strange. Absolutely, they were set up as a union buster, but I don't think they are ULCC - stand to be corrected. There are many other full service airlines that attempted to house a lower cost model within the same group that failed. They have proven, more often than not, to be a cancer to the mainline. And, if they really wanted to pick an analogy that the Canadian passenger/shareholder/investor could relate to, then why not cite Rouge?
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Old 7th Feb 2018, 18:26   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
You're suggesting that Swoop will pay 50% less than this?
Around 50% or Gross (pretax) income. It will not work out to 50% of Net. It's not over dramatizing. It is what is offered.
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Old 7th Feb 2018, 23:26   #9 (permalink)
 
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Clarification

Townie,

Just for info. In Canada, you get paid twice/month. That may help clarify things a bit.
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Old 8th Feb 2018, 00:16   #10 (permalink)
 
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Just to add to the fun...

WestJet CEO says it hopes to recruit Swoop pilots from mainline operations | Financial Post
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 19:11   #11 (permalink)
 
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The 'Boys' have big plans. The worst thing ever done was unionize...been there, done that! It won't get any better for WJ as the snowball has begun to roll down the slope.

Swoop (Canada) plans to expand outside of Canada in 2018 and could grow to a fleet of as many as 30 to 40 aircraft, subject to regulatory approval. First flight on track from June 2018 with three B737-800s, expanding to six aircraft flying by September and all 10 by spring 2019.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 19:27   #12 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by 777AV8R View Post


And according to CBC ALPA International has filed an unfair labour complaint against WestJet and also requested help in resolving it's first contract with WestJet.
WestJet pilots' union files complaint over recruitment for new low-cost airline - Calgary - CBC News
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 23:07   #13 (permalink)
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Old 10th Feb 2018, 02:56   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Swoop (Canada) plans to expand outside of Canada in 2018 and could grow to a fleet of as many as 30 to 40 aircraft, subject to regulatory approval. First flight on track from June 2018 with three B737-800s, expanding to six aircraft flying by September and all 10 by spring 2019.
One wonders whether Swoop will have similar legs to, dare I say it, Air Canada Tango and/or Zip?

IIRC, Tango had 15 to 20 aircraft and I don't know about Zip. I'm not well versed in the internal decisions Big Red took to launch the two airlines, but they certainly didn't last long (granted, 9/11 played a part as I think they started flying in and around the same time).

A ULCC is a great idea for passengers where either distance (Europe) or passenger numbers (United States) are not a factor. I've never been certain that a ULCC can be profitable in Canada given the relatively longer sector distances and the low population base.

As an example, CDG to SVO is almost 500 miles shorter than YXX to YHM. It overflies seven different countries (depending on the route) and more importantly overflies nearly 400 million people. YXX to YHM overflies one country with 36 million people. A similar distanced sector in the US overflies 323 million people.

The scales are not tipped favourably in Canada for a ULCC. But maybe that's why I drive the airplanes instead of managing the airline.
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Old 10th Feb 2018, 21:11   #15 (permalink)
 
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This looks like it could get ugly depending on how determined the WestJet pilots are.

Is it realistic to expect the Canada Industrial Relations Board to actually do anything ?

Is scope not a factor in airline pilot contracts up there ?
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Old 10th Feb 2018, 21:40   #16 (permalink)
 
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Union posturing and intimidation tactics like threatening those who choose from the limited career options in Canada to make the decision to join bottom line carriers like Swoop amounts to nothing more than a group of professional pilots trying to bully anyone thinking of joining. Such attitudes won’t help improve the situation or ease any future pilot shortage or encourage those who would like to make aviation a career.

It seems reasoned minds can’t find a purpose beyond salary and seniority.

Why would anyone even think of becoming a pilot in Canada?

Let’s wait to see if these unionized pilots speak up when it becomes necessary to hire foreign pilots. Maybe then reasoned minds will wake up and accept some responsibility for their contribution.

I doubt it.
Willie
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Old 12th Feb 2018, 13:02   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mostly Harmless View Post
The very short version of this:

The company is moving 10 tails from it's mainline to a new start up just after the pilots unionized. It's clearly an attempt at union busting as the wages offered to the "new" pilots are roughly 50% of the current wages paid.
Cheers
Just to clarify the sequence of events:

1) The company announced it was starting a ULCC. Under the existing non-union employee agreement, pilots for the ULCC would have to have been taken first from the ranks of the combined WJ and WJE (Encore) pilot list.

2) Later that same day, ALPA announced it would seek to certify the WJ pilots.

3) ALPA's position is that only WJ pilots should fly the ULCC planes, at WJ rates (no mention of WJE pilots).
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Old 14th Feb 2018, 14:45   #18 (permalink)
 
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Swoop offers a way to feed yourself.

Is this important to you? Work there.

This is not important to you? Don't work there.

Any further extrapolation of the issues is anachronistic twaddle. Union tish tosh and fiddle faddle ended in the Reagan era - for which the bulk of society is truly grateful.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Old 14th Feb 2018, 16:50   #19 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Just to clarify the sequence of events:

1) The company announced it was starting a ULCC. Under the existing non-union employee agreement, pilots for the ULCC would have to have been taken first from the ranks of the combined WJ and WJE (Encore) pilot list.

2) Later that same day, ALPA announced it would seek to certify the WJ pilots.

3) ALPA's position is that only WJ pilots should fly the ULCC planes, at WJ rates (no mention of WJE pilots).
WestJet and the WestJet pilots would not be in this position had WestJet taken heed when the first union vote failed by a very small margin.

Had the executive turned around, wiped their brow, said "that was too close for comfort," and worked with their pilots, I have a very, very strong feeling the vote would not have succeeded the second time around 6 months later. Hell, it probably would not have even happened.

While I won't say that Encore voted to unionize because WestJet did, it certainly went to the vote for that reason.

I don't think it would have taken any more than sitting down with the WJPA, telling the pilots the executive screwed up and working on a plan. Very small concessions given to the pilots between the first and second vote would have been enough to stop this whole mess. Sometimes all you need is a little foreplay to keep a marriage happy.

1) Better schedules? Let's do it.
2) Years of Service and Trip Rigs? Let's talk once the schedules are fixed, but bring us an outline of what you'd like to see.
3) Equal pay for Swoop? Let's negotiate.
4) 90% median for Encore? Yeah, let's make sure we're focused on making sure that happens.

Now, the idea spewed on AvCanada about the WestJet and Encore pilots turning in their ALPA cards and going back to the WJPA is akin to a bruised wife going back to her a**hole husband. The husband will think he is in the right and will beat his wife harder than before when words are spoken.

All the parties involved made their beds, and now they have to sleep in them, for better or worse.

In my mind, this is exactly what GS (GGG, the Tan Man, whatever we're going to call him here on PPRuNe) wanted. There is talk he will be fired for being the first CEO at WJ to bring in a union. It would surprise me none to find out he's about to get a nice little boost to his pay. The best WJ pilots can hope for is that it's all in stock options.

Do I hear Work to Rule?

Last edited by +TSRA; 14th Feb 2018 at 16:52. Reason: grammar errors...despite Grammarly giving a clean bill!
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Old 14th Feb 2018, 20:01   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dropp the Pilot View Post
Swoop offers a way to feed yourself.

Is this important to you? Work there.

This is not important to you? Don't work there.

Any further extrapolation of the issues is anachronistic twaddle. Union tish tosh and fiddle faddle ended in the Reagan era - for which the bulk of society is truly grateful.

Here endeth the lesson.
That's hysterical. Ronald Reagan did more to advance the cause of unionism than any national leader in history. His ego powerplay cost the industry billions at a time when it could least afford it.
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