I know this topic is step 836 and most of you are on step 1, 5 or 25, AND (more important) it’s really not something you should even be thinking about for quite a while. That said I’d like to 'plant a seed" for harvest in the future.
I was recently elected as a Block Rep/LEC member for our union (basically means I represent and advocate for the pilots should they have issues and in negotiations with the company). While I’m very honored and excited to serve, I’m quickly beginning to realize it’s a HUGE responsibility and an even bigger pain in the butt! We (the newly elected reps) don’t take “office” till next year but to insure a smooth transition we’re now getting cc’d on all the emails and attending the meetings. This is what brings me to point of this post.
I am AMAZED at how few people actually take the time to READ their contract. Now granted most are 400-500 pages, there’s a ton of legalese and it’s hardly Tom Clancy or the Lord of the Rings BUT it is IMPORTANT. These documents will control EVERY aspect of your job at the airline from pay to vacation to training to uniforms to trip assignments to mergers etc etc etc. EVERYTHING is in there. The majority of pilots know the Compensation, Vacation and Sick Call Sections but not much else. Now many of the calls and emails are for “clarification” which I understand (as I said there’s ALOT of legalese) but many are not. Many are calls “after the fact” when there’s not a whole lot we can do to help (“I forgot to bid vacation and was randomly assigned this week I don’t want”… or “the company reassigned me to fly this bla bla bla”). Again it’s not sexy but knowing your contract vs not can make a huge difference in your quality of life as a pilot.
Again I appreciate at this point this information is less than meaningless (and should be) but hopefully when you sit down to your first Alpa Newhire Welcome lunch and they mention the contract you’ll remember this post and do some training. Or you can just call your Rep like everybody else does