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Chc Global Helicopter Pilots Unionize

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Perhaps slightly off thread here, and almost certainly sure to raise hackles on an old topic, but having myself worked in several different parts of the world, I can't help thinking that the whole system of flight pay/incentive pay in Canada, is always going to be a cause of discontent/resentment amongst pilots.

I doubt anybody would even dream of joining a union, if they were flying 8 a day for a whole summer!

It's always during the bad times that these issues arise.

 

In Canada, there doesn't seem to be any scope for more experienced pilots to benefit financially from having that extra experience.

In fact, one can get into the ludicrous situation, previously mentioned on this thread, regarding flying for the oil/gas sector, where a more experienced pilot has to be allocated to a crappy oil/gas sector job, flying .9 a day, whilst his younger, less experienced colleagues, are flying 8 hours a day on fires/seismic/whatever, in the same type of aircraft, for the same hourly flight pay!

 

Usually, your rate of pay boils down to your desirability as a pilot with specific skills, such as logging/seismic whatever, but then where do you go when there's no logging/whatever? Do you accept a lower paying job?

 

In the airline world, at least there is some sort of career progression (by which I really mean pay), from co-pilot and up, and even increments for time served etc.

They still get paid the same, whether their 747 has 300 people on board or 25.

 

It seems that the main pathway to move up the pay ladder in Canada, is to progress to larger helicopters. However, you then run the risk of earning less then an R22 pilot in a slow season, because you will probably fly far fewer hours.

 

If pilots were paid a salary, ( I can already hear the booing!) be it annual, monthly, per tour or whatever, who would really complain then, about doing non-revenue flights to Resolute, sitting in the back of a 206 for 10 hours swatting bugs, or just "sitting" on a base somewhere.

 

Your salary, would, like the rest of the world, be based on your skill level, and experience. If you had a busy year, you might feel short-changed, but how many busy years do you have these days? One in four?

One can't rely on Galore Creeks and NWT diamond rushes for your whole working career.

 

This would also help to avoid the "stopwatch" culture of certain customers, pressuring pilots to work faster.

 

Customers would (hopefully) be more content in the knowledge that their pilot wasn't "dogging it", to help pay his mortgage.

Isn't that why Government agencies insist on meters? They think that pilots on incentive pay, want to rip them off, surely?

 

One might also be less inclined to push the weather/carry snags etc., if your pay packet didn't rely on you continuing a questionable flight.

 

Ok, so now I hear you say, "how do the employers pay us a fixed salary, when times are lean?"

Well, I'd like to think that the employer, who made a killing over the past few years in the good times, has put something aside for that. More likely he spent it on that new boat!

At least his wage bill would be more predictable.

So I'm not sure what the answer is to that one, but it seems to work fine in other parts of the world.

Short term, fixed rate, seasonal contracts would work, assuming the rate was sufficient.

 

As I say, a bit off thread, and probably an often discussed subject.

Just my observations........

 

 

 

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Perhaps slightly off thread here, and almost certainly sure to raise hackles on an old topic, but having myself worked in several different parts of the world, I can't help thinking that the whole system of flight pay/incentive pay in Canada, is always going to be a cause of discontent/resentment amongst pilots.

I doubt anybody would even dream of joining a union, if they were flying 8 a day for a whole summer!

It's always during the bad times that these issues arise.

 

In Canada, there doesn't seem to be any scope for more experienced pilots to benefit financially from having that extra experience.

In fact, one can get into the ludicrous situation, previously mentioned on this thread, regarding flying for the oil/gas sector, where a more experienced pilot has to be allocated to a crappy oil/gas sector job, flying .9 a day, whilst his younger, less experienced colleagues, are flying 8 hours a day on fires/seismic/whatever, in the same type of aircraft, for the same hourly flight pay!

 

Usually, your rate of pay boils down to your desirability as a pilot with specific skills, such as logging/seismic whatever, but then where do you go when there's no logging/whatever? Do you accept a lower paying job?

 

In the airline world, at least there is some sort of career progression (by which I really mean pay), from co-pilot and up, and even increments for time served etc.

They still get paid the same, whether their 747 has 300 people on board or 25.

 

It seems that the main pathway to move up the pay ladder in Canada, is to progress to larger helicopters. However, you then run the risk of earning less then an R22 pilot in a slow season, because you will probably fly far fewer hours.

 

If pilots were paid a salary, ( I can already hear the booing!) be it annual, monthly, per tour or whatever, who would really complain then, about doing non-revenue flights to Resolute, sitting in the back of a 206 for 10 hours swatting bugs, or just "sitting" on a base somewhere.

 

Your salary, would, like the rest of the world, be based on your skill level, and experience. If you had a busy year, you might feel short-changed, but how many busy years do you have these days? One in four?

One can't rely on Galore Creeks and NWT diamond rushes for your whole working career.

 

This would also help to avoid the "stopwatch" culture of certain customers, pressuring pilots to work faster.

 

Customers would (hopefully) be more content in the knowledge that their pilot wasn't "dogging it", to help pay his mortgage.

Isn't that why Government agencies insist on meters? They think that pilots on incentive pay, want to rip them off, surely?

 

One might also be less inclined to push the weather/carry snags etc., if your pay packet didn't rely on you continuing a questionable flight.

 

Ok, so now I hear you say, "how do the employers pay us a fixed salary, when times are lean?"

Well, I'd like to think that the employer, who made a killing over the past few years in the good times, has put something aside for that. More likely he spent it on that new boat!

At least his wage bill would be more predictable.

So I'm not sure what the answer is to that one, but it seems to work fine in other parts of the world.

Short term, fixed rate, seasonal contracts would work, assuming the rate was sufficient.

 

As I say, a bit off thread, and probably an often discussed subject.

Just my observations........

 

Those crappy oil and gas sector jobs aren't looking so crappy now days, as far as the rest of your ideas I'm thinkin you over packed your pipe.

 

As far as the owner making a killing I'm sure alot have done well the last few years but they also take a way bigger financial risk than the worker does. Just for the record I'm not an owner.

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. Nobody wins if everyone's needs are not understood and, like in unsuccessful marriages, there may be no resolution that works for everyone. Don't be bitter. Divorce, and look for something better.

 

That's my philosophy. If I have a workplace concern I approach my superiors, and make multiple approaches by differing means, if need be. If they remain uninterested with my concerns, and if the concern is a deal-breaker for me, then I find work elsewhere. I have little interest in telling someone how to run their business. If I did, I'd start my own.

 

I don't know what other people's experiences are, but there are labour laws in Canada and I have found success with them relating to some past employment concerns of mine (within the aviation industry), and have seen others succeed as well. There are more options available than simply the extremes of heartless management or union self-justification.

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...

It's a shame, though, that all too few of us seem to recognize that, as in almost all industries, and a large majority of businesses, mediocre management is the norm. Nor that pilots, of course, want to fly, and engineers want to wrench, but they rarely, if ever, shop effectively for their jobs. They're really no different, in fact, from the owners and managers they rant about.

...

Several of the contributors to the thread have suggested the need for more communication in the industry, and my experience tells me they're totally correct. Remember, though, that communication is much more about listening than it is about talking, and being heard isn't about shouting the loudest, it's about clarity and sincerity.

...

 

Well, what a breath of fresh air! Saved me hours of writing!

 

I think that the industry still suffers from a frontier mentality, "no rules for me!", true professionalism is not often seen. So many owners/managers are retreaded pilots/engineers who don't necessarily make good managers or human relations specialists. In fact, they likely bring the corner cutting, high expediency attitudes they learned from their first employers.

 

This may not be particularly worse in the Hx business than any other but it's always been a disappointment.

 

I'm convinced that a company that treats its employees well (not necessarily the same as pays them well, but listens to them) will likely never hear talk of a union. The best companies I've worked for respected their people.

 

Cheers . . . .

 

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I've been a full time salaried (non-union) employee for three years now at my curent employer and I am loving every minute of it. Unlike other "salaries" which I've earned in the past, this one allows me to afford a reasonable lifestyle whether I'm flying or not. As a result, I have a great deal of loyalty to my employer and have no desire to move on. I do my best to provide top quality service for them whenever I am at work as they clearly are doing their best to keep me happy. Seems like a "win win" from my perspective.

 

Decent salaries do exist here in Canada; I just don't think they're the norm.

 

Cheers,

 

Ben

 

p.s. if you work or fly more than "X" number of days/hours in a year, there is an insentive/reward program for that too. As I said before; lovin every minute of it!

 

Perhaps slightly off thread here, and almost certainly sure to raise hackles on an old topic, but having myself worked in several different parts of the world, I can't help thinking that the whole system of flight pay/incentive pay in Canada, is always going to be a cause of discontent/resentment amongst pilots.

I doubt anybody would even dream of joining a union, if they were flying 8 a day for a whole summer!

It's always during the bad times that these issues arise.

 

In Canada, there doesn't seem to be any scope for more experienced pilots to benefit financially from having that extra experience.

In fact, one can get into the ludicrous situation, previously mentioned on this thread, regarding flying for the oil/gas sector, where a more experienced pilot has to be allocated to a crappy oil/gas sector job, flying .9 a day, whilst his younger, less experienced colleagues, are flying 8 hours a day on fires/seismic/whatever, in the same type of aircraft, for the same hourly flight pay!

 

Usually, your rate of pay boils down to your desirability as a pilot with specific skills, such as logging/seismic whatever, but then where do you go when there's no logging/whatever? Do you accept a lower paying job?

 

In the airline world, at least there is some sort of career progression (by which I really mean pay), from co-pilot and up, and even increments for time served etc.

They still get paid the same, whether their 747 has 300 people on board or 25.

 

It seems that the main pathway to move up the pay ladder in Canada, is to progress to larger helicopters. However, you then run the risk of earning less then an R22 pilot in a slow season, because you will probably fly far fewer hours.

 

If pilots were paid a salary, ( I can already hear the booing!) be it annual, monthly, per tour or whatever, who would really complain then, about doing non-revenue flights to Resolute, sitting in the back of a 206 for 10 hours swatting bugs, or just "sitting" on a base somewhere.

 

Your salary, would, like the rest of the world, be based on your skill level, and experience. If you had a busy year, you might feel short-changed, but how many busy years do you have these days? One in four?

One can't rely on Galore Creeks and NWT diamond rushes for your whole working career.

 

This would also help to avoid the "stopwatch" culture of certain customers, pressuring pilots to work faster.

 

Customers would (hopefully) be more content in the knowledge that their pilot wasn't "dogging it", to help pay his mortgage.

Isn't that why Government agencies insist on meters? They think that pilots on incentive pay, want to rip them off, surely?

 

One might also be less inclined to push the weather/carry snags etc., if your pay packet didn't rely on you continuing a questionable flight.

 

Ok, so now I hear you say, "how do the employers pay us a fixed salary, when times are lean?"

Well, I'd like to think that the employer, who made a killing over the past few years in the good times, has put something aside for that. More likely he spent it on that new boat!

At least his wage bill would be more predictable.

So I'm not sure what the answer is to that one, but it seems to work fine in other parts of the world.

Short term, fixed rate, seasonal contracts would work, assuming the rate was sufficient.

 

As I say, a bit off thread, and probably an often discussed subject.

Just my observations........

 

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I've been a full time salaried (non-union) employee for three years now at my curent employer and I am loving every minute of it. Unlike other "salaries" which I've earned in the past, this one allows me to afford a reasonable lifestyle whether I'm flying or not. As a result, I have a great deal of loyalty to my employer and have no desire to move on. I do my best to provide top quality service for them whenever I am at work as they clearly are doing their best to keep me happy. Seems like a "win win" from my perspective.

 

Decent salaries do exist here in Canada; I just don't think they're the norm.

 

Cheers,

 

Ben

 

p.s. if you work or fly more than "X" number of days/hours in a year, there is an insentive/reward program for that too. As I said before; lovin every minute of it!

 

I'm glad that pay program is still working.

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When Harmac (a pulp and paper mill) was operating in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island

 

Just as an aside, the mill is still operating and is eligible for the 1 billion dollar bailout the Feds announced a couple weeks ago. So now you're personally paying for your neighbour's new paintjob.

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Given the choice, would you prefer to fly WestJet or Air Canada? Can you guess which one is union?

 

Happy flying guys and gals.

 

Both are union. WJ has a internal association (PACT) that functions the same as a union.

The pilots have their seperate part of the association (union) that deals with mangement on issues such as pay, bonuses,etc, etc. Same as the AMEs or FAs or office staff.

 

The big difference is the PACT group is not run by the Teamsters or CAW or whatever other non traditional aviation union seem to be running most aviation-related businesses. Canadian Airlines had the AMEs and groomers lumped into the same group and the FAs were represented by the CAW or posties or some one like that. No wonder they are now a footnote in history.

 

Biggest union difference in WJ re-pilots is that the pay is the same for flying a -600/700 or 800

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