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Author: ProAMT Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 610  
Subject: Re: Saving the Friendly Skies Date: 11/4/2001 8:01 PM
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I will agree with you on many of the points you made but I would vehemently disagree with your ascertains on airline mechanics (AMT's) pay and your grasp of events of the last year, insofar as we are concerned.

The AMT is far from being "the best paid mechanics in any industry." An AMT spends between two to four years training before they are even eligible to attempt the required FAA exams and become licensed. We do fine and technical work outdoors, in all weather, nights, weekends, and holidays all as standard practice. For this we make little more than the person who throws your suitcase into the cargo pit. Every skilled tradesman makes more than us yet if your plumbing is installed wrong, or a dealer auto mechanic fails fix your car you will not fall from 35,000 feet and end up as tiny unidentifiable and burnt pieces. If you are wondering why I don't choose another carreer it is because I love my part of aviation, which is what I do and do very well. Some things are worth fighting to make right!

Today we a seeing the mass realization that our craft (aviation maintenance) has been very systematically robbed for too many years by industrial unions that use us only to gain advantage for the unskilled workers they represent. We have tried to separate ourselves but are blocked by a system that has gerrymandered the election process to a degree that is as transparent as it is corrupt. In an attempt to gain an election this spring we were denied because we failed to show a majority of support. This was only possible after the biased and AFL-CIO influenced NMB ruled that 430 some (previously and still separate) management types needed to be included along with the janitors, aircraft cleaners, and an odd assortment of other folks (who have not one thing to do with aircraft maintenance but get to vote on our future) in our election (we failed by 6 people).

It is obvious that the Airlines are struggling with how to deal with the loss of their lapdog unions' ability to meld AMT's to mediocre contracts. The Internet, with the access to information and ability to freely exchange opinions has awakened a sleeping giant...US. Some airlines have reacted to this turbulent labor period by allowing the "Old School Command and Control" types to reassert themselves as the only way out of trouble. Any company foolish enough to think it can compete in today's market with a 1900's coal mine mentality will surely be out of business. Airlines are a service business. Pissed off or even beaten down employees do not win you market share. Customer intent to repurchase can be directly tied to employee confidence and morale.


Recently, airlines have sought to negotiate contracts by going to a judge with data they make-up themselves and claim we are the bad guys. The fact that the airline fails to provide timely or sufficient parts access to prevent out of service aircraft or that overtime runs at 30 to 40 percent just to meet minimal staffing levels and that much of the time we are seriously understaffed because of industry wide shortages or that they just plain skew data... never comes into play...we are just the bad guys! And that is the message sent to the traveling public.

I am an Aviation Maintenance Technician! I have always been proud of the fact that it is in great part due to my skill, knowledge, and integrity that the most complex machines ever conceived, continue to carry millions of people, regularly, safely, and comfortably around our world long past the time when most baser forms of transportation are junk yard fodder. The fact that close to 500 people can board an 875,000-pound machine (Boeing 747-400) and leave contrails through the sky at .85 mach continues to amaze me still... even after 20 some years doing this.

Modern flight is made possible by many different groups of professionals. However, the AMT is the ONE person who assures that an aircraft remains in the same or better condition than when it was first certified to fly. The best Corporate Maintenance Programs, Engineering Change Orders, FAA Airworthiness Directives would all be rendered ineffective, useless, or dangerous without being implemented by skilled AMTs. The need to amend maintenance programs or aircraft systems is often due to input from the AMTs that maintain the various aircraft fleets.

I am not talking about pushing aircraft or changing seat cushions. I am an AMT who uses my talents to diagnose, repair and test defects on aircraft that prevent it from safely operating and return it to service as soon as possible... often in less time than it takes Jiffy Lube(R) to change the oil in your family car. I adhere to the standard in this industry that allows zero-errors and to that end I subject myself to monetary fines, civil and even criminal prosecutions. Unlike a pilot whose responsibility for a single flights safety ends when he leaves a particular aircraft, I work on multiple aircraft and when I put my name to that work I assume a responsibility that remains there indefinitely. To put it another way, today with the refinement in autopilot systems that allow aircraft to land in near zero visibility it is the mechanic who checks, repairs, and certifies that system that is more responsible for your safe landing than the pilot who over-sees the system operation. For this I demand I be treated as a professional, compensated as a professional, and be given the respect that I have earned!

It should be noted that I am still compensated (http://www.amfanow.org/AMT-Wage_Scales.htm)at the same level as I was in 1993 and for many of these last years I was compensated much less than that. Our ongoing sacrifice is occurring at the same time my union leaders increased their pay by over 49% from my dues and my corporate leaders, "Wolfishly" used my company as a personal piggy bank. Am I upset? You have NO idea!

I thank you for your time and hope I provided some insight behind the headlines.
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