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Future of organized labor in the US commercial aviation industry - Essay Example

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The introduction describes the strides taken in the aviation industry over the past ten years so as to place the topic in context. Some positive prospects for the future of aviation are examined and these include reduction of corruption and protection of employees during strikes…
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Future of organized labor in the US commercial aviation industry
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Future of organized labor in the US commercial aviation industry

Download file to see previous pages... The introduction describes the strides taken in the aviation industry over the past ten years so as to place the topic in context. Some positive prospects for the future of aviation are examined and these include reduction of corruption and protection of employees during strikes.The future may not be very positive owing to increased foreign ownership of US planes, outsourcing of US jobs, increased need to negotiate wage cuts by major carriers, a move towards non-unionized employees in low cost carriers, poor union membership in other industries and fewer cases of collective bargaining in the aviation sector.The US commercial aviation industry has undergone drastic changes over the past few years. At first, the industry recorded high returns from the mid nineties to the year two thousand and labor issues were addressed substantially at that time. The latter year was when the US aviation industry peaked because afterwards, the September eleventh attacks undermined consumer confidence in commercial aviation and numerous losses were recorded. Nonetheless, the industry is picking up and today, some sections of the industry have gained back their momentum.There are two major categories of carriers within the US commercial aviation industry; these are network carriers and low cost carriers. The latter category has recorded positive performances especially from the year 2004; however, their counterparts have not. The reason behind this is that the six network carriers have adopted poor business models. (Yates, 2004) When the major network carriers perform poorly, then they tend to look for ways of minimizing this poor performance and one of the areas targeted is organized labor. Numerous aviation companies have been cutting their labor costs and this may be disastrous for aviation employees. Against the background of these labor cuts, the future of organized labor may be marred with many challenges as explained in the essay.
The future of organized labor in the industry
Network carriers are facing stiff competition from their counterparts in the low-cost carrier segment. Consequently, in the future, network carriers might decide to look for ways of making their businesses models more profitable. One method which they could utilize is by expanding their flight ownership and operations to regional carriers. This is already taking place but all is not well for organized labor. In 2002, major network carriers entered into an agreement with pilots' labor unions to disregard Labor Scope restrictions. In order to protect the working conditions of pilots, it was necessary for the unions to restrict plane ownership among regional carriers. However, following negotiations with these regional carriers, the unions granted the former party their wishes. The overall result of this measure is that pilots are now exposed to exploitation by their employers. This illustrates a step backwards in organized labor and may continue in the future. (Gall and Zieger, 2002)
Good performance in the commercial aviation industry may not necessarily be reflected in organized labor. Given the fact that major network carriers are trying to reduce their productivity costs by minimizing labor then it is likely that organized labor may not fare very well in the future. As we speak, network carriers still operate at higher costs (in terms of labor) than their low-cost carrier counterparts but this may change in the future. Low cost carriers have been cutting down costs by employing workers who were not unionized or low wage employees. Additionally, numerous workers are required to perform multiple tasks. All these poor working conditions can be resisted through organized labor but low cost carriers are doing away with them. In order to remain competitive, major network carriers may opt to follow suit and this implies that airline industry workers will have to work under worse conditions in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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