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UAL-MEC Focus

A Publication of the UAL-MEC
Air Line Pilots Association, AFL-CIO 
6400 Shafer Court - Suite 700,
Rosemont, IL 60018 
 

March 1999
 

"People" added to UAL Corporate Core Objectives

In a jointly worded statement, UAL-MEC Chairman Mike Glawe, IAM President R. Thomas Buffenbarger and UAL CEO Gerry Greenwald announced "...a significant addition to the categories used to measure company performance in the context of executive compensation." This addition will add a PEOPLE objective to the three original core objectives. The defined goal of the PEOPLE core objective is to place United Airlines on the Fortune magazine's list of "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America." The successful companies are determined by an independent survey conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute, San Francisco, and Hewitt Associates, Lincolnshire IL (management consultants). This year's list includes small companies with as few as 510 employees up to Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer at 780,000. The list includes union and non-union companies. Three airlines are already on the list - Southwest, Continental and FedEx. By way of refresher, the original three core objectives are customer service philosophy (as measured by customers intent to repurchase tickets), dependability (as measured by on-time performance), and profitability (as referenced to the other airlines with which United competes). 

As an employee owned company, United Airlines takes great pride in the strides made during recent years toward the development of its new culture. That process has now been recognized as integral to United's ongoing and long-term success in building shareholder value, providing excellent customer service, and realizing increased efficiencies," the joint statement went on to say. This step was actively recommended by ALPA and the IAM. 
 

What we employees think about how management is doing will be measured by employee satisfaction surveys. This measure of employee satisfaction will then have a direct impact on the incentive compensation of approximately 625 executives at UAL. 
 

Customer service satisfaction has already been factored into management bonuses, but employee satisfaction has not - until now. 
 

Shuttle Pilots are Back Home

At its January meeting, the UAL-MEC, ratified Letter of Agreement (LOA)99-1, and brought the Shuttle back into the realm of the normal Section 6 process with its full rights and privileges as provided by the Railway Labor Act. With this LOA, Shuttle pay rates will equal Mainline B-737 pay rates on April 12, 2000. The UAL-MEC may, at its discretion, move that date back to the date of a new collective bargaining agreement to succeed the current agreement. Additionally, in vacation year 2000, pilots with less than 10 years service will have two vacation days restored to accrue the full 16 or 23 days per year. 
 

LAHSO Status Quo ... or the FAA Missed the Implementation Date

On Friday, March 12th , ALPA President Duane Woerth advised the ALPA Board of Directors that the agreed-to safe guards that specifically address ALPA's safety concerns with LAHSO would not be implemented on March 12. A "snag" arose when the FAA tried to write the specific language of the Order to implement the new requirements. The "snag" has been resolved, but the FAA was unable to complete the required documentation - the appropriate Flight Standards Bulletin and revisions to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) - in time to meet the March 12th deadline. The new deadline is April 15. 
 

A fourth edition of Critical Juncture had been printed. It is a practical guide to working under the new LAHSO terms. A new "fourth" edition will be published outlining the new implementation time line. It will be mailed to all ALPA members' homes. Since many of the new safeguards will not be in place until April 15th, pilots are advised to exercise caution and as always use their best judgement in determining whether to accept a LAHSO clearance. 
 

West Coast Contest

It's almost springtime and Reno Air is wasting no time in stepping up to the plate with increased service threatening United's market share on the West Coast. In late January, Reno announced it would increase its daily round trip service between LAX and SFO from three/day to eight/day effective March 1, to go along with its seven daily circuits between LAX and SJC. Just recently, Reno added to that total when it announced an additional LAX-SFO round trip, as well as an additional LAX-SJC round trip. This brings their totals to 17 daily round trips between LAX and the Bay area, which just so happens to account for nearly 20% of their total flights! Throw in eight daily round trips between SNA and SJC and their plan should rapidly come into focus. 

To lure our customers away, Reno is offering triple American AAdvantage miles and triple Reno Air QQuick miles on qualifying flights between LAX and the Bay area.
 

Race is on for RJ Delivery Positions (Clarification & Update)
 

In the February 1999 edition of the Focus, a snapshot of the current RJ situation was presented. To recap: the total number of RJs or FJs (Feeder Jets-30 to 44 seats) in service or on order/option by their respective code-share partners is as follows: 
 

American - 329, Continental-274, Delta-354, and United (UAL)-65. To clarify the UAL feeder situation, note that Atlantic Coast Airways has 43 RJs allocated to UAL feed, plus options for 27 more for a total of 70 aircraft. Sky West has 10 allocated to UAL, options for 22, total 32. It must be clearly emphasized that our Regional Jet Exception Letter of Agreement restricts to 65 the number of total RJs (FJs), of any size, to be allocated for feed to UAL. 
 

On the update side, Northwest announced on Feb. 18 that it has agreed to acquire 54 Canadair RJ Series 200 LR aircraft, as well as options for up to 70 additional 50 seat CRJs. Deliveries of the 54 firm orders are expected to begin in April 2000 and run through mid-2004. Northwest has yet to determine how these aircraft will be deployed, but indicated it would use them for growth in the company's route system, to inaugurate service in several new non-stop markets and to replace smaller turboprop equipment. 
 

To date, Bombardier Aerospace (manufacturer of the CRJ series) has delivered 290 of the CRJ 200 aircraft and has orders and options for an additional 482 aircraft. 
 

Challenges for ALPA with the 106th Congress

The long held hostage Airport and Airway Trust Fund may find its way to freedom if H.R. 1000 can work its way through Congress. If the measure is approved, the fund would no longer be subject to restrictions that limit spending even when there is a budget surplus (projected to be some $9 billion by the end of 1999). In its eagerness to tackle the agenda that these new billions could create, the House Transportation Committee increased its membership roster from 32 to 50. 
 

In the improve the quality of life department, ALPA is strongly supporting the "Retirement Security for the 21st Century Act." If enacted, the bill would dramatically improve pilots' ability to realize their negotiated retirement benefits through tax-favored qualified plans. Additionally, ALPA will continue to closely monitor the Social Security/Medicare debate, specifically its impact on labor, as it continues to unfold in the months ahead. 
 

ALPA will continue to wage an aggressive campaign against relaxation of both cabotage and foreign ownership laws. Under current rules, foreign ownership of a U.S. airline is restricted to 25%, but various foreign airline operators and some U.S. airport interests are pushing for a larger share, up to a controlling interest in an airline! These same two groups are also recommending changes to the cabotage rules in the name of increasing competition. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been put on notice by ALPA that any change to current laws is unacceptable. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater has personally expressed his support for our position. 
 

The small community services pricing debate doesn't look like it will be disappearing any time soon. The Airline Services Improvement Act, signed into law last October, requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study of unfair competition and predatory pricing in the airline industry prior to the issuance of any pricing guidelines being proposed by DOT. The effect of this study would be to delay the implementation of DOT's pricing guidelines that are strongly opposed by the major carriers. ALPA will continue to work with the major carriers to deal effectively with this issue. 
 

Who's Got the Oldest Iron?

In a nutshell - Northwest. At the end of 1998, the average age of major U.S. airline fleets was 12.1 years, down 0.4 from the end of 1997. Of the 10 majors examined, Northwest came in at the rickety old age of 20.0 years per airframe. Topping the list was Alaska at 7.6 years; Southwest was second at 8.3; United came in 3rd at 9.7 years; American was fourth at 10.7; America West fifth at 11.0; Continental sixth at 11.3; Delta seventh at 12.3; US Airways eighth at 13.3; and TWA ninth at 16.2. 
 

Over the last year, the average age of United's planes has dropped nearly 24 months to 9.7 years, and should continue in that direction as new aircraft are acquired and older planes retired. Northwest has told the Wall Street Journal it intends to keep flying its DC-9 and DC-10 aircraft until they are 50 or 60 years old. The president of the Flight Safety Foundation, an organization that monitors the maintenance and safety performance of the nation's domestic airline fleets, said, "There is no reason why these aircraft should not fly satisfactorily for that long or even longer. In other parts of the world, there are still some DC-3s that first flew in 1936 still in mainline service."
 

UAL Corporate HO to Move to ORD
 

UAL Corporation recently announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters back to the city of Chicago. Chances are that many of us cannot remember when the move was made from Chicago to the present 108-acre campus in Elk Grove Township (1962). The company's announcement indicated it would build a new facility for some of its 3,000 headquarters employees, including top officers, on the present site of the O'Hare military installation located in the northeast corner of the ORD complex. The current corporate headquarters will continue to house the largest piece of the WHQ employee group, but the globalization of the company has created a need for additional space. Details are pending, but suffice it to say, Chicago's home town airline is returning home.
 

Safety Awareness Seminars

The one hour Pilot Safety Awareness - An Introspective Approach program is off and running through May 10, 1999. Although attendance is mandatory, all pilots, including reserve line holders, will receive one hour of pay for participating, in addition to any monthly guarantees. You may attend at any pilot domicile or DENTK. Some locations require reservations due to space constraints. Please consult DIS*17811, for scheduling dates and times. 
 

Hotel Committee Updates

Captain Bob Ward (ORD 737), chairman of the UAL-MEC Hotel Committee, asked that the following items be passed on to help with dissemination of the information: 
 

  • EWR field transportation grievance has been settled. Please review the TVLQCK pages for hotel van pick-up point. Big picture: The Sheraton van will pick you up downstairs at door 1 by the employee bus stop and will take you to the hotel; perhaps stopping at the monorail stop for other passengers. If you find this arrangement does not get you to the hotel within 10 minutes of leaving the curb, please file a TVLLOG report immediately. 

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  • The committee has assurances from UAL Catering that identified crew meal problems will be corrected ASAP. 

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  • UAL's Information Services Division (ISD) and WHQBQ have worked out a temporary solution to the four-digit ID problem. On four-digit IDs that are created less than 96 hours from departure, WHQBQ will be responsible for booking the room, arranging transportation and updating the audit trail of the PLTID. Four-digit IDs created that depart after 96 hours will still be handled by the crew desk. The long-term solution will see these functions automated. We hope to have it completed by the end of 1999. 

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  • The committee is currently working with WHQBQ to rectify the current unfavorable situations at both the IAS Circus Circus, as well as the LAX San Pedro Hilton.

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