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View Poll Results: Which of these best summarizes your perspective (see paragraphs below for more guidance)?
The unions have brought their company to its knees. Down with labor unions; up with management! 15 45.45%
American Airlines’ employees did not cause this bankruptcy! 7 21.21%
Compromise and teamwork: there’s no better way to set the course for the future! 11 33.33%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-27-2012, 08:22 PM
 
105 posts, read 276,071 times
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Which of these paragraphs most closely matches your perspective? Vote in the poll window above, where only the last line of each paragraph has been posted!

1) American Airlines’ employees are overpaid and underworked. No wonder American Airlines can’t stay afloat! It’s only fair that American Airlines should effectively take their employees to court and abrogate all contracts. The unions have brought their company to its knees. Down with labor unions; up with management!

2) American Airlines’ employees have taken it in the shorts since AA’s near-bankruptcy in 2003. At that time, they effectively volunteered for large pay cuts, considerably worse work rules, and slashed benefits to preserve their pensions and keep their company afloat. Other factors, like chronically high fuel prices; competing airlines’ bankruptcies (with their own subsequently slashed pensions, wages, and benefits – hence ‘artificially’ lower costs); and probable executive mismanagement and/or greed are more to blame. At this point, more employee sacrifices must clearly be made, but American Airlines should stop publicly blaming their own employees. American Airlines’ employees did not cause this bankruptcy!

3) Surely there’s a way that American Airlines management and their 3 labor unions can come to some sort of an agreement. I don’t trust either party, and I think both parties are equally to blame. American Airlines employees need to take substantial hits – their industry leading contracts and impudent actions have negatively impacted this company; and executives need to treat their employees as part of the solution, not part of the problem – their mismanagement and repeated miscalculations have negatively impacted employee morale and productivity time and again. American Airlines should allow their employees significant leeway as to how they take their hits; and employees should sign on to take them in substantial ways. If you’re not negotiating at the negotiating table, then you’re a huge part of the problem! Compromise and teamwork: there’s no better way to set the course for the future!

Last edited by SimpleLife2; 03-27-2012 at 08:31 PM..
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:38 PM
 
1,004 posts, read 3,554,455 times
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Their planes are old, nasty and their service is horrible. They are nickle and diming to the wazoo and their fares are obscene if you don't book a long time in advance.
The flight attendants are witches.
AA makes flying torture.

That's my perspective and may a reason why they are struggling.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:26 PM
 
Location: plano
7,759 posts, read 9,817,991 times
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American Airlines reminds me of a tired old restaurant in NYC living off its past. The planes are tired and old looking, the pilots and other workers are over paid versus other airlines yet do little to prove they are worth higher cost. The airline business model has not proven successful in a dereguated mode. Continental by contrast had newer plane and workers who happier to see passengers than most other airlines yet they are now United based out of Chicago, which reminds me of American. TGIF for SW airlines or we would be poorly served despite being the second most populous state. I think bankruptcy is going to be painful for workers and investors but necessary to get cost in line and to bring some reality and customer service to the airline. I hope they dont merge or get acquired by another airline either. If they do Texas wont really have a large international airline based here despite our size and economy.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:46 PM
 
12,765 posts, read 12,427,871 times
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Given their recent orders in a couple of years they will have a much younger fleet.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:27 PM
 
13,180 posts, read 14,051,090 times
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The USA is unique in the Western Word with this ideology that smears unions. Southwest airlines is the most unionized airline in the country and it's very successful. The most unionized nations in the World have a highest standard of living, surpassing the USA, which has a low unionization rate. I've got to hand it to right wing propagandists, they've managed to convince the ever shrinking middle class that unions are evil, and benevolent corporations and diminished government is the answer. This is like watching a 30 year slow motion car wreck. Americans lack the intellect to even understand the most simple issues pertaining the their own family's well being. Vote to hurt unions, and workers rights, and continue to watch this country go down the drain.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:24 AM
 
12,765 posts, read 12,427,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padcrasher View Post
The USA is unique in the Western Word with this ideology that smears unions. Southwest airlines is the most unionized airline in the country and it's very successful. The most unionized nations in the World have a highest standard of living, surpassing the USA, which has a low unionization rate. I've got to hand it to right wing propagandists, they've managed to convince the ever shrinking middle class that unions are evil, and benevolent corporations and diminished government is the answer. This is like watching a 30 year slow motion car wreck. Americans lack the intellect to even understand the most simple issues pertaining the their own family's well being. Vote to hurt unions, and workers rights, and continue to watch this country go down the drain.
Nice post comrade. LOL!

Granted, SWA is highly unionized by any metric. SWA's various unions have also been exceptionally realistic and honest with themselves and the airline for decades. You'd struggle to find another situation like it anywhere. Look at AA's unions right now. AA is in real peril and the pilot's union is still playing games.

The bottom line is unless you want to close the borders to imports or apply stiff, and by the way illegal, tariffs on imports we can't have lots of unionized workers payed more than world standards - transportation costs and specific market efficiencies etc. noted.

For the most part "Standard of Living" metrics are for news shows and magazine articles as data points always include socialized medicine, lots of time off and pay to sit schemes. Economists look at per capita GDP among other items. The US is the only very large nation in the top 10 on that list. IIRC Germany is about #16 or 17 and Japan below that.


If you are really for the "US working man and woman" you need to support on shore oil and gas exploration.


ETA - there is a significant re-shoring or manufacturing jobs back to the US occurring right now. It'll take a while to really catch on. Significantly higher wages here would kill that trend.


ETA II- http://www.bcg.com/expertise_impact/...d=tcm:12-84591

Last edited by EDS_; 03-28-2012 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,390 posts, read 23,376,728 times
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The reality of American's Chapter 11 filing is a lot more complex than the nature of this thread.

While Chapter 11 is very polarizing and its easy to take a side (the unions or management), the reality is that the unions and management made this bed together and now they have to lie in it. I have worked with people on both sides of this issue, and this is my humble opinion:

The Unions at American are some of the most inflexible and corrupt Ive seen in the airline industry. They dont belong in the same sentence as the unions at Southwest which represent the way unions should work. The APA has some of the least productive and over paid (relative to their peers) pilots in the industry. They have a scope clause which prevents American from being able to launch new routes without their approval based on length. They also have a clause which prohibits American from having reigional jets over 70 seats. This has severely hampered Americans efforts in Chicago where this type of jet would be most useful to American. Given that pilots are paid as long as they are in the air, you would think they would want to be able to have longer flights. Having talked to some pilots, I have had some tell me that they know that management wants it so they dont. Ive also had a couple of pilots tell me they would rather the airline fail than for "Arpey and his goons" to prevail. I would imagine that is ok for them since some of those guys make more than the people who manage DFW. This is a group that is so stubborn, they really are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

I can understand not wanting the airline to get larger reigional jets given the pay scale of reigionals is lower, but not flying based on flight length is just a road block the APA is happy to have. There is no logical reason they wouldnt want to have more flights where pilots could make more money based on the length.

When American has asked for permission to fly routes that are longer, the APA would stonewall and then eventually say yes or no. Im sure you all remember the bid to start DFW-Beijing. The pilots waited until right before the DOT decision and then announced they would not fly it. This caused American to lose the filing even though they were the favorite to win it at the time. A few years ago, the APA leaders also did some adverts to publicly discredit the airline and the leaders. Thats a big no-no.

Admittedly I do have a lot more sympathy for ground workers at AA. Whatever cost savings is to be had, I hope it doesnt come from them. They have been really professionaly throughout the years and have tried to play ball with managment. I have not worked with the FA's as much so Im not really qualified to speak on them. The real problem in labor costs is the productivity of the pilots.

But then you have the flip side of that coin you have the management which has lacked any sort of visionary leadship, bold direction, or inspiration. This all started with Carty. Back in 2003 he demanded big concessions from the unions and got them. Later it was discovered that he took a huge bonus while everyone else took cuts. That made everyone very angry and rightfully so. However, even though Carty soon departed, labor has held that against all management ever since. Instead of tacking the situation head on and trying to gain inspiration from it (the way Crandall would have), Arpey decided to take on the role of a bean counter focused solely on the bottom line. That draws no inspiration from your work force and naturally they didnt respond to it.

In the months prior to Chapter 11, management did try to gain an agreement with all the unions. Mind you these were all agreements that are better than any BK judge would have given them, but the unions wanted no part of it. Instead they always countered with offers that would put American in liquidation in a short time. American did release figures that showed they were in dire straights, but the union heads said they thought they were liars. The head of APA went on record as saying just that. Arpey and Horton called the bluff and now they are in Chapter 11. But now that they are in BK, the unions are trying to agree to binding arbitration. Naturally, its too late for that. Had they agreed to that 9 months ago, it might have been enough to save them from Chapter 11. However, 9 months ago they never would have agreed to it.

At the end of the day, this is something that is the product of corrupt and greedy unions, bad management that lacks any inspiration, and the hatred that exists between the two. This is not one persons or one groups doing. Im normally sympathetic to unions, but the unions at American get no sympathy from me. Neither does management.

+++++Sorry for any gramatical errors or spelling, I typed this in a hurry+++++++
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:34 AM
 
1,004 posts, read 3,554,455 times
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I don't understand that labor costs are apparently the reason for AA's struggles.

How much does a pilot make, for example?

The cheapest coach fare to my former home town in Europe us $1300. This pays for 26 hours total flight time in a plane that can hold 300 people and it's almost always full.

If everyone on that plane pays just $20 from the minimum fare if $1300 to the pilot (which seems like a small percentage), the pilot would cost $6000 for an hourly wage of $230.

Baggage fees alone would pay for one ultra highly paid pilot it seems.
I'm sorry but if about 1.5% of my cheapest coach fare would pay for a yearly salary of approx. $500k, then it seems to me that pilot salaries aren't the reason for AA's troubles.

In my opinion it's the horrible quality of their product. I always try to avoid them if there is an alternative.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:44 AM
 
16,086 posts, read 38,656,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnhw2 View Post
American Airlines reminds me of a tired old restaurant in NYC living off its past.
The old Times Square Howard Johnson's came to mind: HoJoLand.com
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,390 posts, read 23,376,728 times
Reputation: 10497
Quote:
Originally Posted by galore View Post
I don't understand that labor costs are apparently the reason for AA's struggles.

How much does a pilot make, for example?

The cheapest coach fare to my former home town in Europe us $1300. This pays for 26 hours total flight time in a plane that can hold 300 people and it's almost always full.

If everyone on that plane pays just $20 from the minimum fare if $1300 to the pilot (which seems like a small percentage), the pilot would cost $6000 for an hourly wage of $230.

Baggage fees alone would pay for one ultra highly paid pilot it seems.
I'm sorry but if about 1.5% of my cheapest coach fare would pay for a yearly salary of approx. $500k, then it seems to me that pilot salaries aren't the reason for AA's troubles.

In my opinion it's the horrible quality of their product. I always try to avoid them if there is an alternative.
Thats too simplified.

Its not the pilots salary, but the pilots productivity that is a large part of the problem. Its also the fact that the airline is still paying fully funded pensions while none of the other legacy carriers are. Mainline pilots do make between 100k and can top out around 300k for 777 pilots.

Its not just the pilots too. You have to pay the FA's, you have to pay the gate agents, you have to pay the ticketers, you have to pay reservations, you have to pay the airport, you have to pay the people who clean the plane, you have to pay catering, you have to pay logistics, etc. Everybody you see at the airport or on the plane who is not a passenger or vendor, you have to pay. Bear in mind you only see a tiny fraction of it.

Then you have to remember that everyone at American has fully funded pensions. That means, from your pilots to the ground workers. Not one other legacy carrier has this. Then you have to factor in the pilots and FA's at American have more relaxed work rules thanks to some very outdated work rules that still exist there. THIS is why American is at a cost disadvantage. Its not even their salary, its the pensions and productivity which are much greater in cost relative to their peers.

There is a lot more to this than meets the eye and a typical flyer doesnt see it 99% of the time.

Then you have the American consumer screaming about high air fares and booking whatever is cheapest. The airlines realize that at the end of the day, the American consumer cares more about price than service.
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