Air Transport World

Commuter-regional managements welcome pause in union campaigns. (airline industry)

The much touted union organizing blitz aimed at U.S. commuter/regional airlines has stalled. Critical problems generated by economic pressures on large carriers has caused union leaders to slack off recruitment pressure on small airline employes.

Union officials say the climate is not yet right for small carrier employes to put their destiny in the hands of organized labor. Some of the influencing factors are:

* Commuter carrier employes are not sufficiently worried or concerned about their airline's economic base to seek job protection through union organization;

* The need for employe give-back or wage freeze concessions to large airlines has cooled commuter personnel desire for union affiliation;

* Steady growth of the short-haul operators in the national system forecast long-term career potentials to nearly equal that of big airlines;

* Salary differentials are closing and the prospect for catching up encourage commuter employes to stay put;

* Reassessment of employes' prime needs favor "maintaining closer personal relationships with the boss" rather than getting lost in union numbers games of large airlines;

* For the pilots and mechanics, pay and working improvements expected with the arrival of new, more advanced commuter transports enhance their long-term career potentials and are expected to promote professional status.

* Last, but not least; deregulation has precipitated situations where the unions do less for their members. Long-standing union practices, which have proved to be excellent recruiting features in the past, are now being eroded--membership benefits appear to be less. Prime prospect

Whatever the general conditions may be, air transport unions are working hard to assess their futures in a deregulated environment and to develop policies and practices needed to attract new members and keep the old ones, and to get furloughed and displaced members back on payrolls. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.