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Comair Pilots Ready to Walk the Walk...

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Comair Pilots Ready to Walk the Walk...

Old 28th Mar 2001, 02:59
  #21 (permalink)  
Beaver Driver
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sounds like a lockout to me. Good luck to all of you Comair pilots.

Comair Pilots' Leader Responds to Management's Retaliatory Tactics
WASHINGTON, March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chairman of the Comair pilots' unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) today sharply criticized Comair management's final collective bargaining position, which was presented to the union on Sunday.

Captain J.C. Lawson, Chairman of the Comair pilots' Master Executive Council said: "Unfortunately, Comair management in the last hours before the strike deadline put in place a new proposal that is detrimental to resolving this dispute. This last-minute proposal calls into serious question the company's good faith and desire to reach an agreement that is fair to all parties. Management's new proposal eliminates all work rules, job security provisions, and numerous other benefits that were in prior agreements and proposes to maintain these drastic changes for seven years.''

In the three years of negotiations for a new contract that preceded the current strike, the company had never suggested anything like this. And for good reason, because neither ALPA nor any other pilots' union could accept such a drastic and extraordinary cutback in working conditions. Plainly, this is a punitive and retaliatory tactic that can only complicate our efforts to end this dispute and get back to work."

Lawson challenged the legality of management's action, asserting that it overstepped the airline's right to impose terms for reasons of operational necessity to allow a carrier to operate during a strike. Lawson pointed out that Comair is not currently attempting to operate. Lawson charged that management's retaliatory tactics constitute a direct attack on ALPA, the Comair pilots and the bargaining process and will operate to the detriment of the flying public.

Old 28th Mar 2001, 03:10
  #22 (permalink)  
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Don't see how COMAIR and DELTA could be on the same seniority list. They're technically different companies covered under separate union contracts. All major pilots ought to start doing what APA did with Eagle and start restricting who can operate the larger aircraft. That theoretically would put more commuter guys on the major's roster where they belong.

I wonder if COMAIR's phone bank is going strong right now with calls to pilots' families warning of dire career consequences, a la Frankie and trolls.
Old 28th Mar 2001, 04:23
  #23 (permalink)  
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Alpa has always tied pilots salaries to productivity. As an example the American contract is done at 3 cents a mile multiplied by 3 cents a ton of gross weight per hour flown or something like that.

Airline pilot's salary took off with the advent of jets. Suddenly the pilots were twice as productive.

The turbo props were paid under asimilar scale and a b1900 driver was not terribly productive. The real travesty was when the regional jets came out the pilots opted to operate them for what was basically turboprop pay rates. Then they were really left behind.

now compare an f100 salary of 168.73 an hour for a 12 year captain American's soon to be expired contract and half that (100 seats for the F1oo and 50 for the RJ) and the fifty seat RJs should be paying about 70 dollars an hour and the 70 seater should be paying about 115 an hour.

Furthermore, AA pays newhire FO's approx 30k a year while on probation and considerably more in Year 2. So somewhere between 15 and 22.5k for first year would be fair. Of course don't forget the pension and medical...

Pay em at the same productivity rate established for the majors. Then it also doesn't matter which system you put the aircraft in...

If they gain this, they will catch up considerably to what major's pay. Furthermore, it would remove a lot of integration issues for mergers of pilot groups...

Old 28th Mar 2001, 22:09
  #24 (permalink)  
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Comair cancels flights through morning of April 5
WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - Comair, the regional airline carrier owned by Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE AL - news), said on Wednesday it was canceling all flights through 9 a.m. on April 5 as its pilots spent a third day on strike.

The nation's second-largest regional airline said it would continue to cancel flights seven days in advance until it reaches an agreement with its pilots, who striking for higher wages, retirement benefits and improved work rules.

"We want to get back to the table and bring this situation to a resolution,'' Comair President Randy Rademacher said in a statement announcing the flight cancellations.

Comair's main hub is the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and it has 800 daily departures to 95 cities, serving mostly small Midwestern markets but also Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico.

I would definately call this a lockout now!
Good luck COMAIR.


PS. Towerdog: NY is great as well!

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Old 29th Mar 2001, 05:27
  #25 (permalink)  
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Don't see how COMAIR and DELTA could be on the same seniority list. They're technically different companies covered under separate union contracts.<<

Agree with you on that one! The Delta Connection commuters tried last year to get ALPA national to put their pilots on the Delta mainline list, saying it was really one airline.

Ironically, some of the pilots on the Delta list got there because Pan Am bought a commuter and ALPA put the pilots on the Pan Am list years ago...
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Old 29th Mar 2001, 05:31
  #26 (permalink)  
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Old 29th Mar 2001, 06:34
  #27 (permalink)  
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point #1 Combine (major) delta and (regional) Comair seniority lists, a pipe dream.
point #2 Mgmnt proposed a contract that only 6 pilots voted for, out of over 1300. These managers should be strung up by their short hairs to allow such a thing to happen.

[This message has been edited by Brad737 (edited 29 March 2001).]
Old 1st Apr 2001, 10:11
  #28 (permalink)  
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The problem lies with the idea that an airline moving 7.8 million pax a year with 1000 departures a day that flies from Mexico to Canada in 100+ small jets is considered in any way shape or form to be "regional."

Comair is a short haul major airline, just like American Eagle and Continental Express. They all make major airline profits, they should pay major airline wages.
Old 1st Apr 2001, 10:54
  #29 (permalink)  
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Well said Qwntm.. ASA and Comair greatly contribute to the DL bottom line and are relatively much more profitable than mainline. Don't think all "regional" pilots want one senority list. In fact, some of us would rather remain separate, not be scoped, and be compensated fairly..
Old 1st Apr 2001, 23:35
  #30 (permalink)  
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you knew i'd show up eventually!!

good luck to the colleagues at comair. there's nothing like taking the fall for a lock-out when all the media dogs show is you on strike!

i, too, wonder where was el president jorge when the lock-out started. . . only a matter of HOURS after he SWORE there would be no airline strikes. i guess that he either a)doesn't consider march "summer" (as in "there will be no airline strikes this summer")
b) doesn't consider comair an airline, or
c) doesn't think anybody has to worry too much about arriving at comair destinations (they're not very important like say, oh, just to grab one out of the hat, uuummmmmm, northwest destinations!!)

hold the line, comair. we are with you!

Old 2nd Apr 2001, 14:46
  #31 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up

To my Comair brothers, stay solid, stay foucused. ...ah and could ya send me a couple ears? I'm making a necklace.It's a jungle out there.
Old 16th Apr 2001, 19:27
  #32 (permalink)  
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Comair is not attempting to operate flights with replacement pilots nor is it furloughing ground staff after three weeks. This is pretty unusual during a strike from my experience. Delta does have deep pockets, perhaps they want to cut a mainline deal before they call Comair pilots back to the table.

Had a jumpseat rider this morning who claimed that Delta was planning to fold Comair and send the jets and employees to ASA which would then be spun off, repackaged and sold. Sounds unlikely but something is up, why would Comair continue to pay the ground troops but not be in a hurry to negotiate?


Sunday, April 15, 2001
Comair's jets idled, workers not

Airline aims to save retraining

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The 2,600 Tristate residents who work for Comair but don't fly planes are still picking up paychecks, even though the shutdown caused by the pilots is about to enter its fourth week.

Taking the daily payroll hit has earned the Erlanger-based airline a lot of employee goodwill and good public relations, to be sure.
But Comair also is saving itself a big headache if and when the strike ends.

By keeping its employees close to the vest, Comair is trying to avoid having to train a whole new set of workers in an industry that is training-intensive.

And efforts to keep employees busy range from cleaning plane galleys with toothbrushes to working for local soup kitchens to relearning how to serve drinks.

“It's very logical an airline would like to minimize the disruption when a strike is settled,” says Brian Harris, airline analyst for the Wall Street firm Salomon Smith Barney. “It's not like boom — everything is back to normal. It takes awhile to ramp up, and you want to minimize the ramp-up as much possible.”

That can only be done with a fully-trained work force. And in airlines, workers can take up to 6-8 weeks to learn jobs such as checking in customers for a flight, fueling up a jet in less than 30 minutes or repairing a jet engine's cracked flange.

“We are not only trying to manage this airline through the strike, but manage the airline to be ready for the end of the strike,” says Comair spokesman Nick Miller. “And we also want to be able to serve the customer, and the best way to do that is to have everything in place to run smoothly with fully-trained employees in place.”

Comair's 1,350 pilots walked off on March 26, citing differences over work rules, retirement benefits, job protection and pay.

Comair has vowed to keep paying full salary and benefits for its entire non-pilot staff of 4,000, which includes about 2,600 locally at the company hub and headquarters at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Officials for the Delta Air Lines subsidiary won't say how much the strike is costing them in payroll per day, but one Wall Street analyst has estimated the overall impact is as much as $2.5 million a day, meaning Comair has lost $52.5 million through today.

But Comair's non-striking employees have been keeping busy. There have been multitudes of training classes, while employees have swarmed the airlines 119-plane fleet for a deep cleaning. And Thursday, company officials announced some idled employees would be placed on loan to Tristate social service agencies.

“The reaction was overwhelming when we told the employees about the volunteer program,” says Steve Ellis, Comair's general manager for ramp and tower operations. “The employees appreciate the effort to keep them active.”

But Mr. Ellis admits that if employees were to leave due to boredom or layoffs, it would have a major impact on operations, especially since tower workers — who coordinate planes entering and leaving gates as well as other vehicles such as luggage carts — require 6-8 weeks of training before they can man a station solo.

And ramp workers, who load and unload luggage, refuel and de-ice planes and help guide planes into and out of gates, take at least 2-3 weeks.

“There definitely would be some hindrance, especially in the tower,” Mr. Ellis says.

Another group that has undergone intensive training are the 500 or so mechanics. Mechanic union official Dan Pennington says a trained mechanic is highly prized throughout the airline industry.

“I've heard discussions about people saying they could easily find work if layoffs come,” says Mr. Pennington, shop steward for Local 804 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “It doesn't matter if it's an RJ (regional jet) or (Boeing) 727, a jet engine is still an engine and still the same components.”

Despite the efforts to keep the payroll full, relations between non-pilot employees and the company have been mixed.

The mechanics union has publicly supported the pilots as much as possible — buying picketing pilots lunch.

“We know what they're going through, and for the most part, we support them,” says Mr. Pennington, who has led the union through two, at times contentious, contract negotiations with the company. The last set of talks included informational pickets at the airport by the mechanics.

Officials from the flight attendants' union, a branch of the Teamsters, refused comment, saying they were afraid of disciplinary action if they talked.

The 700-member flight attendant union has been negotiating its first contract with the company since it was established at Comair in 1996.

With negotiations in their second year, several of those flight attendants conducted a sympathy parade in front of the airport's Terminal 3 during the first week of the pilot strike.

But many employees have lauded the airline for keeping them not only on payroll but actually busy.

“A lot of companies, if they had shut down, they would close the doors and say "see you at the end of this thing' to the employees,” says Brenda Ryan, a ramp worker from Newport.

Sherri Porter, a 7-year veteran customer service gate agent, says that she knows she could leave and get another job in no time at the airport with her skills.

“But knowing that Comair has kept us on and is doing the right thing makes me want to stay through this thing even more,” says Ms. Porter of Hebron.

Still, there are those who wonder how long the company can keep paying employees and question the financial wisdom of the move.

“In my view, it really doesn't take that much to retrain ground employees,” says Raymond Neidl, airline analyst for the Wall Street firm ING Barings. “It's a much larger hit to take on your payroll than it is to retrain people. They've got to start thinking about layoffs at some point, sooner probably more than later.”

But Comair's Mr. Miller says it's the current policy that makes sense.

“What we are developing is a creative, innovative way to keep our valued employees on board,” he says.

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Old 17th Apr 2001, 11:05
  #33 (permalink)  
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Let the head games begin:

Monday April 16, 9:29 pm Eastern Time
Comair Reduces Fleet During Strike
HEBRON, Ky. (AP) -- Comair, the country's second-largest regional airline, said it is reducing its fleet by 17 planes and eliminating 200 pilot jobs to save money as a pilots' strike moves into its fourth week.

The airline's 1,350 pilots went on strike March 26 and Comair, which also flies under the name of Delta Express and is owned by Delta Air Lines, canceled all flights.

"These steps are necessary to preserve capital, reduce costs and put Comair in a better position to maintain its competitiveness when operations resume,'' the airline said in a statement.

Industry analysts estimate Comair's losses at $2.5 million to $4 million a day since the strike began. Comair won't comment on those estimates.

"We remain committed to reaching an agreement that will enable us to take care of our customers and our employees while remaining competitive,'' said company spokeswoman Meghan Glynn.

The striking pilots are seeking higher pay, company-paid retirement, more rest between shifts and pay for non-flying hours when they are on duty.

Union leaders say Comair pilots deserve compensation similar to that offered by the major airlines because they must meet the same federal requirements.

Paul Lackie, spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, said the announcement was not unexpected. "They are adjusting to the reality of the pilot training backlog, and the closing of the Embraer base was already planned for September,'' Lackie said.

Comair had served 25,000 passengers a day with flights to 95 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas.

Comair officials said they will retire the company's nine remaining Embraer-120 Brasilia aircraft, which operated throughout Florida, and eight 50-seat Canadair regional jets.

The base for Embraer-120 Brasilia flight crews in Orlando, Fla., will be closed early and at least until the strike is settled. About half the eliminated pilot positions will be there, management said, with the rest coming through dismissal of pilots in training.

Comair is also delaying indefinitely the delivery of new Canadair regional jets that were to be received this year.

Old 17th Apr 2001, 21:33
  #34 (permalink)  
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Sincere thanks to the striking pilots.

I hope to be in a position to join a commuter one day.

This will surely help all those that follow.

--No matter who you are, at somepoint, sometime, someplace, you're gonna have to plant your feet, take a deep breath, and kick a little ass--
Old 18th Apr 2001, 09:40
  #35 (permalink)  
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It would appear that word on the financial street (in Atlanta) is that indeed DAL is prepared to transfer aircraft to ASA, then repackage with a view to sale. Not good news for Comair pilots. The commuter salaries have been low for a long time and now with the bright shiny new equipment, salaries need to be brought up to spec. Anyone here know what salaries ALPA wants?

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