Odds and Ends: Looking ahead in 2014; Boeing letter to Machinists; TWA retro choice; Screw it, let’s do it on Virgin [plane]

Looking ahead in 2014: We wrote this outlook for 2014 for CNN International Travel.  More seats, more fees, quieter year.

IAM 751 members vote Friday on the ‘777X contract.‘ Here is a letter dated December 27 from Boeing to the Machinists making the case to vote for the contract.

It is the TWA Twin Globe livery that is the clear choice by our Readers for American Airlines to select for a retro livery.

Source: Photobucket.com. Convair 880

TWA’s last livery was a distant second. (We didn’t particularly like this design.) The design should probably go on an MD-80, the derivative of the DC-9 on which the Twin Globes livery appeared.

Source: Ed Coats Collection. Douglas DC-9-15.

Which TWA livery should join American Airlines’ fleet as the “heritage” airplane?

Answer Votes Percent
Boeing 707 Twin Globes Livery 944 53%  
Final Blue/Red/Gold Livery shown on Boeing 757 427 24%  
Red Stripe, Solid Tail Livery shown on Boeing 747 165 9%  
1950s Livery seen on Lockheed Constellation 158 9%  
Boeing 707 Delivery Livery (no Twin Globes) 56 3%  
Reverse Red livery shown on McDonnell Douglas MD-80 23 1%  

In other news and irreverence:

  • Today is the last day to vote in our polls concerning the IAM-Boeing ‘777X Contract.’ We’ll post the results before the machinists begin voting on Friday.
  • Aspire Aviation has a long profile on the 777X here.

8 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Looking ahead in 2014; Boeing letter to Machinists; TWA retro choice; Screw it, let’s do it on Virgin [plane]

  1. Parsing Boeing’s letter

    “Greetings” is kinda creepy. Like someone is talking to an alien from planet X. But on to the meat of the matter.

    There is a MAJOR contradiction. During negotiations, Boeing expressly told the IAM negotiating team that our 31005 wing structures mechanics would NOT be used on the 777x composite wing. In the cover letter, at the end of paragraph 2, it states clearly that our wing mechanics get the work. Of course, since this is not in the offer, it’s not a contractual obligation, but a mere statement. But the real hint that this is just more meaningless words comes in the form of page #1. bullet point 2. wherein it states that 777 wing mechanics may work on 777x wings or employed in other bargaining unit work.

    Basically, the company has just said ‘we are going to do whatever we want with the 777x wings, and the 31005’s if they are lucky, will simply bump out a junior employee in another job code’.

    Bullet point #4 concerning the employees ability to maintain purchasing power is an obfuscation and an outright lie. Nothing in the offer allows IAM members to maintain pace with inflation, and combined with significant new out of pocket costs for medical, as well as retirement savings, take-home pay will be significantly reduced.

    Bullet #5 regarding company profits only makes the case against a long term deal. If Boeing’s profits decline, it could come back in three our four years and make a plea. However, If Boeing’s profits continue to rise, IAM members would be left out, as it is doubtful the company would voluntarily share out those profits.

    Bullet point #6 attempts to sell you on the idea of something you already have, progression. It offers as a gift what the previous offer sought to take away. This point is little more than a cheap psychological ploy.

    Bullet point #7 touts several items. First, Cola, which is calculated on the consumer price index, which in no way accurately reflects annual inflation, but is most often used as a tool by the federal government to suppress COLA’s for social security recipients. It also a lagging indicator, always running months behind reality. Further the core CPI does not take into account he cost of food or fuel. So anyone buying gasoline, diesel, home heating oil of groceries already knows the dollar doesn’t go as far. This Bullet also touts AMPP, our incentive program. While we are thankful for this program, we have to realize that the company controls the metrics in the end. The coming AMPP payout will be a good one, with the results at or just below all goals. Where do we go from there? At some point the law of diminishing returns is invoked as room for improvement diminishes. AAMP is a good program, but over time, flawed.

    The end of Bullet point seven, and continuing to the totality of bullet point #8, is again, touting something we refused to give up as a new gift from the company.

    Bullet point #9 states gives the impression that Boeing is willing to keep minimum wage rates at an acceptable level. As we had to strike to get the minimum rates improved in 2008, we have no reason to believe they will do it out of fairness, on their own.

    Moving to page 2 bullet point 1. regarding merging of pension plans. My current understanding is that the SERP plan is just one of the plans E series managers are eligible for. Further, the Bullet leaves out the fact that the plan, once frozen, can be sold to a third party for investment at that party’s discretion, risky or not. Boeing provides no plan description of the SERP plan on it’s website that I can find. So more to follow on this.

    Bullet#5 loosely describes the new retirement plan as being similar too, or the same as the VIP. But Boeing has still provided no summary plan description, and demands a vote on the thin information in it’s synopsis.

    Boeing gives no rationale for having two savings plans that do essentially the same thing, the already in place VIP 401K, and the ‘New” retirement plan.

    At the end of page two, Boeing chooses to remind you you might be paying less than the average.If the average ten years from now is drastically higher than today, that will still mean you are “below the average” but suffering a personal economic catastrophe nevertheless. This is just another argument against a long term contract. It’s better to have shorter contracts so items like this could be negotiated based on reality, not projections.

  2. “As the plane made it’s emergency landing, she noticed out her window the phrase “Screw it, let’s do it,” a phrase that was printed on the side of the plane.”
    Yeah, right, that must have been a hell of a bubble window…
    Anything for the buzz.
    Scott, I wish you a happy and productive new year.
    Congratulations on a very informative and entertaining website.

    • I see the lady is going extracorporal.
      Hmm, “neben sich stehen” , with some people a regular feature 😉

  3. That Boeing letter is a master piece of irony. I love the stock buy-back reference 😉

  4. Linking Aspire Aviation’s “analysis” is funny since it’s almost exactly from the same mold as Fleetbuzz or whatever it is called today: Airbus bad Boeing good.

    • We disagree with the characterization–Tsang may be pro-Boeing and tilt anti-Airbus but he is in no way Fleetbuzz. What is good in linking to his stuff is the detailed information contained therein.

  5. I’m not a lawyer so I presume the hired guns on both sides would’ve looked this over to clarify the points being brought up. It seems to me there is little to no trust or patience with the two sides or at least on the union side since the management side is being picked at here. At some point there has to be a truce… Wasn’t there some feel good about the last contract?

    As for Aspire, I think they are fair and pretty analytic (esp re: Asian carriers) and add some interesting news bits you can’t find elsewhere. It’s more the fanboys who savage the messenger I think. His writing is a bit awkward, but hey as Scott said, let’s see us write Mandarin Chinese ;0)

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