Better Them Than Me

Better Them Than Me

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King

(For a PDF of this posting, CLICK HERE)

When management and government came after the American Airlines pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and fly their Latin American routes. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the United Airlines pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and fly their Pacific routes. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the US Airways pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and fly their East Coast Shuttle. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the Delta Air Lines pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and fly their European routes. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the Alaska Airlines pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and have a Seattle crew base. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the Southwest Airlines pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. The problem was confined to passenger aviation. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the UPS pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them, I was silent. I wanted to get senior and fly their cargo. Too bad, so sad. Better them than me.

Management became more emboldened and pilots grew more fearful.

When management and government came after the FedEx pilots, and they cried out for their brothers to help them. There were no brothers to help – only tens of thousands of wet leased pilots who all wished someone had helped them in their hour of need, despite their own selfishness and shortsightedness. Nobody will get senior as it is all outsourced to wet lease companies and foreign pilots.

They have our freight operations.
They have our passengers.
They have our Seattle domicile.
They have our European routes.
They have our East Coast Shuttle.
They have our Pacific routes.
They have our Latin American routes.

Good for them; not for me.

In 1983, had we stood up against Lorenzo, as a united front, none of the past 15 years would have happened. The UAL strike would not have happened. Eastern would still be flying, and employing thousands of pilots at good wages and working conditions. TWA and Pan Am may still be operating, albeit in a different form. The United, Northwest, Delta, US Airways, Hawaiian, Aloha, and American bankruptcies would not have happened. The “regional jet” would be nothing more than a failed marketing gimmick, and our trans-oceanic flying wouldn’t be code-shared away to foreign airlines. We wouldn’t be subject to management shuffling money around the various code-sharing alliances, and claiming poverty when it is time to negotiate pilot contracts.

Our passengers would be enjoying travel on well maintained, properly staffed, and superbly capitalized airlines. They would not be playing “you bet your life” to save $10 on unsafe, dirty, dishonest operations known as “regional airlines.”

We wouldn’t have scabs from Continental, United, and Eastern.

Our pilot associations would be working together, because they would have seen how valuable a wartime partnership can be. Today, they work at odds with one another, and even within themselves.

The laws would not be twisted to their current interpretation, because Congress would not allow it, lest 6000 jet engines fall silent in unison.

The price for this independent contractor mindset is 30 consecutive years of intentional mismanagement, career destruction, unsafe and dirty operations, and the entire profession hanging on the precipice of becoming an historical footnote – another job that “Americans won’t do.”

We must see the plight of our brother as that of ourselves. What starts at one carrier (Continental in 1983) soon spreads as a contagion to other carriers. No pilot group is immune; not Southwest, Delta, Alaska, or FedEx. The only thing we are accomplishing by undercutting one another, and failing to stand together as bothers, is determining the order that the executives and government will shred us.

The lesson we need to take from the past 30 years is “what happens to them, eventually happens to me.”

It must end now. Stand together, or fail separately.

The career you save WILL be your own.

For more information, visit www.OPERATIONORANGE.org

 

 

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