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Guest FlyHeaven

A320 Inflight Emergency

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"How much work do you do for free,Richard?"A lot. I am invariably in my office before ANY of the unionised day-shift people, and usually still there long after they've gone. When they hit trouble at 2am in the field, they call me. If someone has an accident, they call me. If a client is mad about a bodged job at 2am, they call me. My pay doesn't go up when my hours do, and ALL my union field staff earn more than I do, for less hours.If my clients hadn't caved in to their own unions and required me to use Union "workers" (And I use the term "worker" in it's loosest possible sense) at their facilites, I wouldn't.One of my clients, with a Longshoremans Union workforce, has a new computerized bulkloader that requires 1 person to operate. To have someone run it for breaks, meals, etc, he'd need to have 2 people on a shift. The ILWU's deal though - which is not even with the employer, but with the Port authority (who don't even employ any Longshoremen!) so the employer has no right to bargain seperately - requires a *10* man crew for every loading shift. Eight "workers" on every shift, who turn up and spend a full shift playing cards and pool in the Union Hall on full pay. Another client, with a PACE workforce, caught a night shift operator fast asleep IN A SLEEPING BAG on the floor of the tankfarm shack, relying on the audible alarms to wake him to do tank switches. The Union got his dismissal reversed because the Supervisor violated the Union agreement by using profanity when he caught him! A month later the same operator slept through an alarm and overflowed a tank.Those are just two examples of tens of thousands. While there are exceptions to ALL rules, it's generally accurate to say that Unionized employees are simply NOT as motivated or conscientious as non-Union ones, despite being far better paid. I'd far rather fly in a plane maintained by a non-Union mechanic who knows he'll be fired if he screws up than a Union one who knows he can coast along doing the minimum possible and rely on his Union to protect him.Richard

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Nobody gets what they deserve...they only get what they negotiate. That is business. The fact that the ILWU has so much is because the management of the ports always caved in while the workers were completely united. Who was it that always caved in first? Was it APL? I forget. Only recently during this last time around did it seem like management grew a set with the lockout. It's not the worker's fault...that there is so much inefficiency there now, it's because of poor negotiations on the part of management. If you want to blame somebody for letting the unions put two guys on a job that only needs one, or prohibit you from using computer data systems, etc., look into the mirror. The unions and management will always tug, it's the ying and the yang, and only when there is balance of strength between the two sides, then can the industry be healthy. If one side is stronger than the other, then inequity results and the industry suffers.

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"The fact that the ILWU has so much is because the management of the ports always caved in while the workers were completely united."It's not a question of the "management of the ports caving in". The fact is that the port management has no interest in keeping labour costs down. The Longshoremen are hired and paid by Stevedoring companies, but the negotiating is done between the ILWU and a Port Authority run by a board of directors appointed by the local government. The ILWU gives money to their tame local politicians, the politicians appoint pro-labor directors to the Port Authority, the directors cheerfully agree huge payraises and cushy work terms for the ILWU, and the ILWU responds with bigger contributions to the politicians campaign chests. Why should the PA care how much the Sstevedors pay the Longshoremen? The PA bosses are government employees - if the Port suffers enough trade loss they might have to lay off some low-level cleaning and maintainance workers, but have you EVER heard of a government agency responding to a financial crises by cutting the number or salary of high-level civil servants?It's the same thing we see with agencies like BART - the wages keep spiarling upwards because the directors are appointed by left-wing politicians who rely on contributions from the public employee Unions to get re-elected, and there is NO-ONE looking out for the people who pay the bill, just like there's no-one looking out for the stevedores interests at the ports.Richard

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The PMA's Board of Directors consists of bigwigs from the shipping companies and terminal companies that end up paying the costs of these longshoremen. The problem with the ports is that the management has no leverage against the unions. Management has no choice but to use these workers, and these workers can isolate and shut down the operations of any of the shipping companies. Inevitably, one of them APL, Matson, OOCL, whoever, ends up not able to stand the losses from the slowdown and forces the PMA to give in. The workers suffer nothing since they are still getting paid, either as "slow" work or if striking/lockedout, through the union. The union wins because they have unity, while the PMA loses because their members suffer separately. Politics certainly helped that union get to where they are today, but the maritime industry management are still the ones blowing it during the negotiations now by not being unified enough to help each other hold the line against the ILWU.So, I do agree with you that the longshoremen have way too much power. This inequity puts way too much money into the longshoremen's pockets and the maritime industry suffers as a result. The industry seems to have enough income to cover it for now, but I doubt that will last forever. When that is reached, the longshoremen will suffer as well.However, you are using an extreme example of unionism run amock to paint a broad stroke of laziness across all of the other people like airline pilots, mechanics, grocery workers, teachers, etc., who don't have that kind of power and actually do work for a living. And that is wrong.

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