Local 33 webmaster note:  The following are emails that I am receiving from the Pilots at Northwest Airlines on their observations since the strike began. Personal identifying information has been removed for obvious reasons.   Send to webmaster@amfa33.org


Received:  Sun, 16 Oct 2005 22:32:52

I am a Pilot, albeit a retired one. (January 2005). You are obviously looking for support. You will find none from me. In my opinion, AMFA miscalculated and has caused a gross injustice on their membership. Yes, the contract terms were onerous if not downright disgusting. However, you knew BK was pending and could have saved 2700 jobs.

You all saw a conspiracy between pilots and MGMT. Not so. The pilots are going to take a Hugh bath in pay cuts and work rule changes. Apparently over 600 million counting 2004 givebacks is targeted. No one is winning here. The battle was lost when LCCís were formed and allowed to flourish because of what I call ďLegacy carrier arroganceĒ and very good times from 1995 -2000. Unions overreached (including pilots) mgmt mismanaged, 911 happened, the economy tanked, fuel prices spiked, LCCís flourished while Legacyís regrouped and downsized. The rest is history.

To quote an old song, ďYou got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em.Ē AMFA needed to respond to the realities of the moment and choose a pragmatic solution allowing the possibilities of recovering losses at a later date.

I wish for success for AMFA members. They are excellent mechanics and cleaners. I also wish for success for NWA as my retirement check and retired NWA AMFA members are depending on that.

I would love to see the strike settled and as many AMFA workers get back to work as possible. You should try for nothing less.

Received:  Sun, 16 Oct 2005 20:58:55

First and foremost, Iíd like to say that I am a pilot. Iíve been one for over three decades. Secondly, Iím not going to address the specifics of each and every post to this forum or any other forum on this website. There is simply not enough time in the day. Anyone reading this message should do so with the intent of reading my message in itís entirety. Iím writing this with the full knowledge that some people will try to nit-pick it and tear it apart. The first part of this message will not necessarily be nice since I donít agree with everything AMFA has done. For that matter, I am not completely enamored with ALPA either. However, Iíll always side with the union before Iíll side with the lying, cheating rats that we work for.

Iíve seen a couple of messages implying that we pilots are spoiled brats, are egotistical and are the overpaid favorites of the company. If you can still say that with the knowledge of how hard weíve worked to get where we are then I can only say youíre pretty foolish. Just about everyone one of us is intelligent enough that we could have chosen another career. The reason I pursued an airline career is that I wanted to make a lot of money, doing something I liked. Looks like that may have been the wrong decision. Even if we pilots did make the wrong decision in our choice of careers, to say that we have no balls or suggest we are company lackeys is very stupid indeed. Iíd like to see some of the people making those kind of statements go out and get an airline transport rating tomorrow. How would you like to take a flight physical every six months? Our licenses are on the line every time we take an annual check ride, line check and every time FAA examiner rides with us. ! What some pilot bashers may forget, is that we donít get paid for what we do; we get paid for what we know. So, whatís stopping you from getting your ATP?

Myself and my fellow pilots are just as angry at Northwest for what theyíve done as you are. However, some of you may recall that a few years ago, ALPA wanted all the employee groups to negotiate with the company to avoid bankruptcy. AMFA was one group that chose to go a separate way. I believe that choice was wrong and still do. But I also think the company was down right evil for not negotiating in good faith. In addition, what are cleaners and custodians doing in a mechanics union? Would you expect a pilot to be a member of a flight attendantís union or vice-versa. It would be ludicrous to expect the flight attendants to be represented by truck drivers which is why they switched to the PFAA. That being said, maybe things would have been a little different if only mechanics would have been represented by AMFA. If Iím wrong on that point, please forgive me and accept my apologies.

In addition, the aforementioned comments werenít meant to bash the custodians and cleaners. They should have been in a separate union, and have been just as important to the success of NWA as any other employee.

I want to reiterate something and make it very clear; we should have all had a unified front when negotiating with the company from the beginning. Yes, it is true that other employee groups were cheated and lied to. All that is well known. The pilot group was no exception. It was also ALPA that suggested we all work together. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ďWe shall all hang together, or we shall all hang separately.Ē It looks as though some of us have started to feel the noose tighten.

I think AMFA is a great union, but have made two mistakes. (1) Only mechanics should have been in the union in the first place. (2) AMFA should have worked with ALPA (as well as the rest of the employee groups) to deal with the company in the post 9/11 operating environment.

Now that it seems that Iíve been critical of AMFA let me say some nice things.

First of all; your web site is great. Iím telling all my colleagues about it. The links to the various stories about the airlines, strikes, and NWA are great. Itís extremely informative, and I visit it every day. Keep up the good work. Itís not only a valuable resource for AMFA members but for the rest of us as well.

Secondly, the mechanics that Iíve known since my arrival at NWA have been nothing short of outstanding. You are greatly missed. I hope the strike succeeds and you are all back to your jobs in a very short time. It would be easy to compare the SCABS to the striking mechanics and say you are the best. There is no comparison. More importantly, is the question about how NWA mechanics compared with the other airline
mechanics? Once again, I still feel you are the best in the industry. There is no comparison!

I noticed that it has been said that some pilots at NWA have been pressuring the Flight Attendants to not make any write-ups in the logbook. I havenít seen or heard of that from any other pilots. To be honest, a couple of flight attendants have told me that they have been pressured. If thatís true, then the Flight Attendant should be contacting professional standards. In addition, the Flight Attendant who is not insisting that the discrepancy be reported immediately is just as guilty as the Captain that is reluctant to make a write-up. In any mishap that the FAA investigates, the Flight Attendants are asked if they ever received a cabin briefing from the Captain. If the answer is no, the next question is, ďWhy didnít you demand one?Ē So, you can see that in that case the Flight Attendant is just as culpable as a negligent pilot. The same is true for not demanding that the discrepancy be reported. I tell all the Flight Attendants that I fly with to report the discrepancies as they discover them. If they ever say anything to me (even if itís the last flight home) I will put it in the book myself. Nobody wants to get home at the end of a long trip more than me, but Iím not going to do something illegal or unsafe and risk losing my job. A Flight Attendant is just as bad if he or she lets a pilot slide on reporting a discrepancy. So donít talk to me about no balls.

What have I observed from the SCABs? Iíd like to go into detail, but I wonít. It may be easy for someone on the companyís side to figure out who I am if I were to go into any anecdotal detail. So forgive the generalitiesÖ

1) I donít socialize with SCABs. I only talk to them to the extent that my job requires.

2) I donít help them do their jobs at the gate, such as actuating switches, working flight controls or engine run-ups. If they are so ďhighly qualifiedĒ they can do that themselves.

3) I donít stay in the flight deck if a SCAB has to be there at the same time. That would only encourage them to ask me for help. The few times that I have been there and they have done something stupid it has usually elicited a question from me. So I donít do that anymore since this almost like giving them a hint.

4) The discrepancies that have been reported on the aircraft that Iím flying either get fixed, deferred, or the flight gets cancelled or we get another aircraft. Concerning the discrepancies that do get repaired; it usually takes a very, very, very long time. It also takes several SCABs to do the job of one very experienced AMFA mechanic. Iíve also seen a few MEL errors, and these are mostly clerical in nature. A phone call is usually necessary to correct the error. As far as every MEL deferral that is performed, I make sure the DDGs have been complied with properly.  If not, another call to maintenance is made and another SCAB is sent to the aircraft until itís done correctly. The bottom line is that things are getting fixed. However, what were once simple tasks, are Herculean to these SCABS and the pace is glacial. I wish I could go to the FAA on these guys but canít because things are getting fixed (from my perspective) but it takes a very long time with a lot of mechanics!

5) If I do see something that is illegal or improper I will call a halt to everything immediately. One does not have to be a Captain or even a pilot to do this. All crewmembers share an equal responsibility to ensure that a flight is conducted safely.

6) One thing that Iíve noticed about the SCABs is that they are the most polite individuals you can every run across. Child molesters, sex offenders as well as con-artists are also the most polite people youíll ever meet. If people like this ever showed their real personality nobody would have anything to do with them. This point is related to item number 1. I donít socialize with them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this message. My apologies for the length but there were a great deal of issues that needed to be addressed. Keep up the good work.