Saturday, August 15, 2009

Punching Holes in a Leaky Hull

I'm going to break from the norm on this blog and make one comment on the new contract:

We've all heard the arbitrators' results by now. Truly bittersweet. I know many were hoping we'd see the last three years of the White Book erased and everybody made whole again. That's obviously not what happened.

Yes, I'm happy that myself and the other new guys are getting a phased raise over the next three years. That'll be very nice. I'm looking forward to many of the other changes in the TAUs as well.

However, I am not happy that the people who have the most to offer - both to the public for safety and to us neophytes who need them to pass on their decades of experience- are getting the short end of the stick. They stuck their necks out for us three years ago in fighting the B-scale, and now they get shafted.

Given the economy and the need to compromise, I wasn't expecting everyone to walk away completely satisfied. Would I have liked a full, immediate raise? Sure. Would I have liked back-pay for the thousands of dollars of per diem myself and my classmates rightfully deserved - and did not receive - during our Tower class in early '07? Of course. Who wouldn't? But such is the nature of compromise. You lose one thing to gain another.

But the old guys and gals? They really didn't gain a thing. There was no compromise. And it sucks - for them, for us trainees, and for the flying public. They no longer have a real reason to stay past retirement.

We have two people eligible to retire. We have two more eligible within the next few months. We just lost one person to a staff position. Another one just got promoted to supervisor. Since I've been here, we've had an additional seven people either retire or transfer to other facilities as supervisors. Insofar as I know, there are no new developmentals scheduled for this year, though there is a rumor of one or two transfers.

If those four potential retirees decide to go, that leaves us with nineteen CPCs and six Developmentals to run a nine scope, 24/7 operation. The six day weeks and 10 hour days many other facilities have been living with are almost certainly in our future.

Am I looking forward to the pay and other changes? Sure. But I think in some ways we're losing more than what we're gaining. Some things - like experience - just can't be replaced.


Anonymous said...

Well reasoned, well said. (As are all your posts, but I needed to say it).

Anonymous said...

Well said young sir! Honestly though, I really don't feel all that screwed over (at least not by the new contract). Here's the thing, as a group we are a dysfunctional lot, not used to how the rest of the union world negotiates agreements.

Allow an old timer to take you back in the way-back machine. In 96 or 97 (sorry at my age the mind starts to slip a little) we got the KING OF ALL CONTRACTS handed to us, we said, "we want..." and the FAA said "here ya go..." so the green book is born.

Now, fast forward to 05-06 period, we said, "we want..." and the FAA said, (Imagine this in the voice of Eric Cartman) "screw you guys we're going home." So we get shafted with the white book.

Now today we get a fairly arbitrated agreement, just liek what we begged for back in 05-06. Like you said I would have like a make-whole award, but really I didn't expect it. The thing is we are not used to a fair process, and it is causing some folks to want to pack up thier toys and go home and that is ashame. I believe with this contract we can move forward from here and create the kind of work place we deserve. The problem is going to be getting some people to put the last three years behind them. If we had been offered this agreement in 05-06 I don't think anyone would have even blinked. I would love to have gotten a make-whole award, I would love to have all the SOBs responsible for the debacle that was the last 3 years brought out into a public square and beaten with a whip, but lets face it, aint gonna happen.

The real crime as I see it can't be addressed by our new contract, the real crime was the freeze on hiring new developementals when they knew this retirement wave was coming. I have been on 6 day work weeks for 14 month now and there is no end in sight. We have gone from 27 CPCs to 14. We are losing 1 in Oct, with 3 more eligible right now and no developementals even close to certifing. So when I am eligible in 4 years 3 months and 15 days I am going to retire, not because of the contract, but just because by that point I will have been on 6 day weeks for years and years and at some point you have to say "uncle".

Keep plugging away brother, you'll be CPC before you know it, and keep on blogging, it make for very informative reading.

Signed, an old guy in west Texas.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you as well. We have I think 24 cpc's eligible to retire in the next year and a half and we are horribly understaffed. There are many trainees, myself included, and our facility is going to be in serious trouble if everyone that is eligible decides to leave as soon as they can.