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Subject: Timing is everything.... Right??? (Vortex to Air Logistics)
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Ryan_BakerUser is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

02/06/2005 12:53 PM  
I started posting on this forum about 2 years ago. I could never imagine how many opportunities that there could be, and how the people getting into the industry right now, are getting in at probably one of the best times possible!!! Right??? Well.... I started at Vortex Helicopters, Inc. in March of 2003. I tried to be as active in the school/organization as I could be. I watched the school transition and grow far bigger than it was when I started. Air Logistics partnered and became a name that you hear every day here at Vortex. Opportunities arose that allowed us (and all people) to get into sector of this industry that would give us a relatively good lifestyle. Throughout my training I met a few "good" folks, watched quite a few people become professional pilots, developed an accent (of sorts), adapted to the 110 degree cockpits in 90% humidity (and still be able to breath), and most importantly I learned that this industry is a small one! Everyone talks, so it seems! Well now I'm done with the flight instructing, and I've reached my time to move on. I made the decision to pursue Air Logistics as a future employer, interviewed, and was offered a job that would start very soon. Now, it seems that there's a little dilema here!! Air Logistics L.L.C. and the Pilots Union, OPEIU, are in a little quarrel about the "contract negotiations" that are going on at this time. The cooling-off period is happening as I type, and my training will end pretty much RIGHT WHEN the cooling-off period ends. Self-Help... Now... What form will that come in. What do I do? From a "newbies" stand point, we've got 2 choices: Work, and be hated by our fellow pilots for a period of time: Take-Action, and lose our "new" jobs. So some of you are saying, hey, that's your problem, but the truth of the matter is, I'm speaking for quite a few folks here. What do we do! The problem is that this is not something that anyone can give us an answer to. It's something that we're going to have to decide for ourselves. I hear comments as such (usually from people who aren't involved with the company whatsoever): A: You can't strike, you're not backed by the Union and you'll be terminated immediately! B: Ahhh... don't worry about it, there's other companies that will pick all you guys up! C: If you get fired from Air Logistics over this, no other companies gonna want to touch you! D: Hey, look at it this way, it's a "free" transition! E: All the pilots are going to think your a SCAB anyway, so it doesn't really matter what you do! There's more where that came from, but there's other things I want to get out that I hear from a few of the new guys, and a few of the future pilots. Now the Operators in this industry knows that MOST of the new people coming out of a flight training academy are willing to work for peanuts JUST to be flying by themselves doing what they "love" to do. The Pilots in this industry know that these new guys will eventually realize that this is a job, you do get burned out, you have a LOT of responsibility, you are the one putting your life on the line, and your family is #1. So... I guess as a new person, making the decision to pursue a good company that just so happens to be in contract negotiation puts me in a position where I'm being threatened from all sides. So, as a new pilot, I look at is this way. The glamours gone, the Major decision making is here, I'm already putting my life at risk (career wise), it does support the fact that Family is #1, and regardless of what happens, I know they're gonna be there for me, RIGHT?? If anyone has any comments about this situation they may help the Newbies here, have at it... if you don't want to post your name... feel free to post in the un-registered users forum!
slgrossmanUser is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

02/07/2005 5:58 AM  
Ryan, Obviously it would have been best if you'd not been placed in this situation. That is, if you'd been able to find suitable employment elsewhere. However, as I see it your dilema is not so much a moral issue as a legal one. The fundamental question is, if you were to walk out and honor the strike would you have the same legal status and receive the same protection under the law as the other union members? If not it would be unfair for anyone to expect you to risk more than the others, not that you wouldn't have to endure the occasional hotheaded response. When this issue came up at PHI the union leadership said that new hires who were still in their probationary period and EMS pilots would not be expected to honor a strike. For the new hires it would have been unfair, and for the EMS pilots the negative publicity would have been detrimental to the overall effort. While solidarity is essential to an effective job action, there are other ways you can support a strike without actually risking your career. For instance you might contribute to a strike fund or provide other behind the scenes support. You have a vested interest in what's going on there, so I'd have to say you're not completely "off the hook." However, it would be irresponsibile of the union to expect you to sacrifice yourself knowing you don't have the same protection as the others. -Stan-
wdavisUser is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

02/07/2005 11:29 AM  
A tough spot to be for sure. I think Stan has given some good advice. Although it isn't the fix all you were hoping for. I have a little more to add. Still, no magic fix. As for your mind set, in dealing with this problem. You must have been hired in the middle of all these problems. If so, looking back did Airlog tell you all they should have about the problems looming and your potiential for being placed in the middle of it. The question I feel you need to get straight first is did they hire you knowing you would be in this spot and be a (forgive me) scab, or contract pilot, or just a new hire with little rights and protection. If you soul search and come up with a yes. That they did stick it to you and should have been more straight with you about the possiblity of being in the middle with no help or protection then you owe AirLog nothing. You can walk with your training. You can get sick the day the strike starts and not come back until it is over. You can stay and fly. If you choose to stay then you need to talk with the union reps and get to know them and allow them to get to know you. Do that right now. Talk to them about your concerns and that you got hired not knowing all this strike stuff was brewing. Ask about paying in to the strike fund, paying into the union quietly. Both of which you will need to do if you have any chance of surviving at AirLog or PHI after the strike is over. No matter what I would not move the family or yourself until this thing irons itself out. Anything could happen and a lot of money would be invested in a move. The cheaper you live right now the less boxed in you will feel. Think in terms of the long run and your career goals. Personally I would make sure I had the respect of fellow pilots I work with over one company. Aviation is a small world and this is a hot topic. I think your fellow pilots will have a longer memory collectively than any one company. Good luck
44pilotUser is Offline


02/07/2005 5:05 PM  
Ryan - Very very good and legitimate concerns. I read both replies and could not agree more. Pilots stick together and can be understanding of certain circumstances. During the interview process while I razzed you - your questions were very provacitive and sometimes insightfull. Anyway give me a call if you want, if you don't have my number - ask around someone will have it
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Forums > JH Alternate Forum > General Helicopter Discussion > Timing is everything.... Right??? (Vortex to Air Logistics)

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