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Unionize The Whole Damm Industry



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Keeping in mind that it is dangerous to make assumptions, a couple of

observations are in order.


When discussing volatile issues like unionization, there will be those

who are for, those who are against and those who are against but are

silent. They are silent because they fear repercussion if they make

their views known. Remember that if you are an at-will employee, the

employer can fire you and not even have to say why. If the employer

fears unions, which is likely, then he can easily weed out the



Those who believe their anonymity is sacrosanct on this forum are sadly

mistaken. Even without the help of the forum moderators, one's IP

address can be traced.


Here are some of the advantages of unionization. No longer are the

employees at-will. They have a legal, enforcable contract. Why

employers should fear this is a bit of a mystery. After all, they

will rarely, if ever, enter into a business deal without a contract.


Cost-of-living allowances are usually included in the contract. A

grievance mechanism is constructed. Seniority lists are produced.

Often the deal includes medical and dental benefits, and employer

contributions to pension funds.


The employee need not fear a diminuation of his standing in the eyes

of the employer for refusing overtime or extended tours of duty. He

need not fear being labeled a non-team player. Team player is often

an alternate description of one who allows the employer to walk all

over him.


The main thing though is wages. Helicopter pilots are underpaid and

overworked. This is why nearly every airline pilot belongs to a union.

Piloting a helicopter requires at least as much if not more skill than

piloting an airliner. Helicopter ag pilots make more turns, landings

and takeoffs in one day than some 747 pilots do in a year. Some

airline pilots are pulling down in excess of $150k a year and working

about one week a month. A helicopter pilot with five thousand hours

and ten years experience should be making at least $60k a year and

working only 180 days a year.


Even though the results of the poll show only 30% in favour of unions,

it must be kept in mind, as elsewhere pointed out, that an unknown

proportion of the voters are management and an unknown proportion are

intimidated. I would say that 30% is a strong indication that union-

ization is in fact favoured by the majority.

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Keeping in mind that it is dangerous to make assumptions, a couple of

observations are in order.


Those who believe their anonymity is sacrosanct on this forum are sadly

mistaken. Even without the help of the forum moderators, one's IP

address can be traced.


So John....what assumption(s) should be made with a statement like that?


It could be assumed as a bit of a threat (just an observation). Please feel free to trace my IP address, i am here on the west coast, and would be happy to get together anytime for addressing the challenges facing our industry.


And that point made, the hurdles we face in an industry that is still trying to find itself, are many and complex. After de-regulation in the mid eighties, it is more diverse than ever, and growing more each year. How would a proposed union approach the heli-logging sector? How about the heli-ski side? What about the dozens of mom and pop commercial operators spread across this huge country of ours? Opps, don't want to forget the off-shore sector, or the oil and gas division. Does a unions jurisdiction hold outside of Canadian borders? A lot of larger operators are establishing themselves globally.


To compare airline pilots to helicopter pilots is like, well, comparing planks to flingwings! Well how about those non-union airline pilots at Westjet?

Yep, they seem like a pretty unhappy bunch......bet a union would vastly improve things there.


For someone who has been around the industry as long as yourself John (and you are obviously very well educated and an eloquent speaker), i felt you were making a very well put together post.....up until the above mentioned sentence.


I think a lot of members here would give you more credibility, if you refrained from such statements.


Only my small 2 cents worth.

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Bad Helilog 56 for not watching the West Jet commercials. Are you not aware that they are all owners?????


How can you unionize owners????


Probably a good answer for some companies in the industry.


Cheers, Don


PS: Don't be to hard on JM, he brings up some good points that most people don't think about.


Has anybody figured out why HAI is still an assocciation?????

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:) Hey Don ....not a bad idea, let's make everyone shareholders/owners, that way when we screw up, we can fire ourselves... :blink::lol:


And yes, i do feel JM makes valid points, but as we all do, stuck his foot in his mouth :shock:

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As for 60K in 6 months, well, I was doing that in 2003!


I am part of management, I'm certainly not intimidated, and I still don't feel a union is appropriate.


The key words in Mr Moore's post are "airline pilot" - they all work for large companies, as do the CHL guys who have unionised. Most of us work for very much smaller ones without a critical mass of income, staff or machines. Is everybody going to go on strike because one person in a small company is in trouble? I don't think so.



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A helicopter pilot with five thousand hours and ten years experience should be making at least $60k a year and working only 180 days a year.




Do this mean if we unionize I have to take a pay cut??? :shock: :shock:


Maybe this comes under the "hidden benefites" section of the agreement... :down: :down:

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Mr. Moore


As I do not agree with your direct or indirect involvement as the matter of contrail is concerned, you make some very valuable points that are undoubtedly comming from an educated point of view, and I agree that 28-30% is a very strong indication.


Over the last decade I have participated in this industry, I am also a safe pilot, although a little headstrong, I am also very outspoken. I will tell you first hand that the owner or operators in this industry are opposed for the most part to unionization simply because it could remove some the absolte rule that have wielded since its inception. For the most part this has led to what can only be infered to as helicopter price wars driving down the tarrif rate for AC, and in factual reality unknowingly cutting their own throats.


In addition, yes there is certain degree of fear by participants who fear retaliation in a " at will market as you have clearly pointed out". For the most part the guys and galls who make up the staff that fly the birds have been engrained by the older generation to fly the helicopter and shut up attitude :unsure: . All is not lost however, as many of these ' cult leaders' will soon be taking leave of the industy due to old age and retiring soon. So there is still hope for a new leadership that will have a more tolerant and 21st century open view to the needs of the employee, this compounded with the shortage of qualified aircrew,we may even start seeing a reversal of the infamous "cull".


Although your comments are appreciated, and provide a certain leveheaded overview of some of the difficulties employees face, its really up to the pilot and engineer of this industry to speak up. ( please refer to the above paragraph for an indication why they do not!)





Hurler ;)

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I worked in a few different unions before I became a pilot. They were all great for the first little bit when they were trying to get your vote but after they were in you never heard from them again. It was just like the last month or so on the T.V. The last union I worked for managed to weed out all the good employees and somehow under protection all the culls were kept :down: It indeed was a different industry, but I can easily see how quickly it would ruin what is left of our already stressed out industry. Unions used to protect workers in a good way but now there more powerful than government Just look back to Mr Clark when he got all the unions busy on the fast cats :down:. Internal unionization for big companys sure, the whole industie NO THANKS :D





My 2cents



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