As a mechanic at the airline in question I'd like to add a couple facts that most of the public probably doesn't know. When I hired on in 1986 after going to college & picking up a degree along with my aircraft & powerplant license I was making ok money for being in my early twenties and just starting out. We had a five yr pay progression to reach full mechanics pay. About a year after I reached full pay a guy named Stephen Wolf promised to save us (as if with over 2 billion in the bank we needed it) by going through with an ESOP. I beleive he was hired due to the pilots failed attempt to buy the company a couple yrs. earlier. Remember when all those investors bought up our stock in hopes of cashing out at over $300 a share? Well the deal died and the market crashed. I beleive he was hired to recover some of that cash that the big investors missed out on. Wolf fired all the UAL kitchen workers and farmed out the work to show us he meant business. Our union, (bless their hearts), thought it was a good idea also and tried to convince us as such. Now the mechanics at the time were doing battle with our union trying to decertify them and join a different union ( AMFA ) because we've always felt our pay was being held down by the rampers, cleaners & others that we are lumped together with in our present union. The IAM seeing that we wern't going to vote for them or the esop made darn sure that those kitchen workers who were on their way out the door voted for the esop. They allowed them to vote for a contract/esop even though they wouldn't be working under it. Coincidentely if the esop went through they got a higher severence check. They even bused them in special to the polling place. We fell a few votes short (about 500) and the esop passed along with our not getting amfa. They found about 1000 of the mechanics ballots invalid for some reason by the way, (no coruption there),. So the esop goes through and I get an about 20% pay cut for six years in exchange for a fraction of that pays worth in UAL shares, (worth about 15k to 20k these days),. So here I sit in 2001. I haven't a raise in nearly eight years. I'm making 1994 wages (what we were making before the esop went through). And during six of those 8 yrs I was making the equivelent of 1988 wages. These days I see that plumbers, electricians, nurses, auto mechanics are all making more than aircraft mechanics. When your car breaks down, you pull to the side of the road. When a plane breaks down sometimes, although its rare, people die. Pilots are paid well because people see them up there and they know that their lives depend on how well they they do their job. Guess what, you depend on us for the very same thing. Every day it seems I hear of people quitting due to the pay and probably moreso due to the strong arm mgmt. style were being subjected to because of our not having a contract and their perception of why things aren't going well. Needless to say the number of kids entering the profession are drying up due to the higher pay and benefits in other fields. So yeah, cutting everybodys pay 15% may sound like a good idea but maybe you simply need to compare their pay to others doing the same work. And if you want happy employees treat them fairly and with dignity. If your talented employees are leaving, trying paying them just a little more than the other guys like Delta has been doing all along. Maybe the problem isn't labor costs. Maybe it's the fact that a person can fly from one end of the country to the other in a fraction of the time it takes in any other mode of transportation and for alot less money. People no longer pay for that convenience. The only people keeping this airline & others afloat is the business traveler who needs a ticket NOW. So what does Goodwin do, he's starts another buiseness to draw away our lifeline customers. Brilliant man. Almost as good as his US Air deal. I agree with some of the others in that we should start a strong cargo operation. We can use all those planes that we're in the process of mothballing to park in the Nevada desert. We already own them. What would it cost to gut the interiors and make room for cargo? I've heard UPS & Fed Ex are still doing well and hiring some of the mechanics we're losing. I really do hope that one of you guys gets the job. Anybody would be an improvement at this point.
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