Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm sure everyone knows about the recently announced acquisition of Airtran by SWA. As a frontline employee I must trust the decisions that are made by management with regards to the direction that the company goes in. The reason they get paid the big bucks is to do things like this that will likely impact the company years and years down the road. As a mechanic I make decisions that affect the day to day running of the company and the upper management trusts me to do so.

I have no problem with the acquisition of Airtran but I do not understand why everyone keeps calling it a merger. SWA is buying Airtran. We are not merging with them. All the talk in the shop is about how to fairly integrate the 350 or so Airtran mechanics within our seniority list. While I am a little worried about the competence of AMFA in such negotiations, I do not think it will make all that much of a difference to me.

Lets review some of the options that I have heard thrown around the shop.

Option 1:
Add the Airtran guys to the bottom of the seniority list. Basically treat them as new hires.

Option 2:
One for one seniority. What this means is that the top Airtran guy goes right under our top guy, so on and so on until they reach their last guy. This would put all their mechanics ahead of me.

Option 3:
Fold them into our seniority list. What this would do is put an Airtran guy with a date of hire of Dec. 1 2000 right above one of our guys who has a date of hire of Dec. 2 2000. Their top guy would get all of his seniority as would all the rest of them.

These options seem pretty cut and dry but there are emotions involved in this thing. As we all know seniority is king in the airline industry and no one wants to give any up. The Airtran guys will be getting something like a $10.00/hour raise so the question of should they get a the money AND the seniority comes up. Added to all this is the fact that the Airtran guys were non-union until 2000 so how do we treat the portion of their time spent outside the union. I'm not the biggest union guy but that has to count for something.

For me I think option 3 with some kind of consideration to the fact that some of the Airtran guys spent time outside of a union. I also think that if they get the raise then some kind of 2 or 3 year for one trade would be fair. In other words a 6 year Airtran guy would now be placed at the three year level on our seniority list. We have to remember that we have ACQUIRED Airtran. This is NO merger. The has to be some give on the Airtran side of the table. I think the 2 or 3 year for one trade solves this as they give up a little and we give up a little.

In the end I think it will be ok for all of us. There are only 350 of them so we will have no problem absorbing that number of mechanics. What will happen is that we will do very little hiring for a while as we will now have more mechanics than we currently need. Watch out LAX! There may be some guys willing to work in Southern California after all.