This from Captain Steve Wallach (UA) & Captain Jay Pierce (CO):
Of the Air Line Pilots Association In Reaction to the Announced Merger Between Delta Airlines and Northwest Airline
“For the past several years, mergers and consolidation have been part of the vernacular of the airline industry. Monday’s announcement of a merger involving Delta and Northwest Airlines could be just the first of a series of announced marriages between major U.S. carriers.
“Most airline analysts believe an announcement involving United Airlines and Continental will soon follow Monday’s Delta and Northwest news. The management teams of United and Continental must understand one hard fact: the pilots of our respective airlines will not allow any merger unless management meets or exceeds our demands to be treated fairly and equitably. Our concerns will be addressed before we ever agree to allow our airlines to merge.
“If a merger benefits airline executives, Wall Street financial groups and legal firms at the expense of pilots and the flying public, we will use all lawful means necessary to ensure the transaction is unsuccessful. We are not going to stand by and watch as our futures are controlled by others. Pilots on both sides of a merger must be fully involved and will play a significant role in the acceptance or rejection of an attempted merger.
“We have real concerns regarding any transaction involving our airlines, and we have repeatedly asked our respective companies to acknowledge and address those concerns prior to making any merger or consolidation announcement. We will not stand idly by while the CEOs and their executives attempt to merge our airlines without regards to the long-term feasibility of the final entity.
“Let there be no mistake. This is not about pay or benefits. This is about survival. We will fight, on every possible front, any attempt to merge our airlines at the expense of the pilots.”
Wow, this is actually more reasonable than I expected. I had to chuckle when I read “meets or exceeds our demands.” I’m not sure the last time a unionized workforce had their demands exceeded because they’re usually already pressing their luck, so I think the wording is a bit laughable.
What does confuse me a bit is the wording in the last paragraph. They say it’s not about pay or benefits, but about survival. Whose survival are they talking about, their own or that of the airline? If their own, I don’t think any mainline pilot (unlike the regionals) is making anywhere near the poverty line, so that’s not an issue. If they’re talking about the airline’s survival, well, I think a merger could only help that.
The only good thing which should come out of any potential UA/CO merger is better employee morale. UA employees are largely frustrated with their CEO, so I think having a new management team will do a lot to improve the morale of UA. Of course it’s all premature but since the union published this I figured it was fair game to cover.