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Westjet Pilot T4, $315,000.....

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Robin Murray should be ashamed of himself.

His family is independently wealthy and this job is hobby for him.

He did not make this kind of money only working 16 days per month.

Top scale for WJ Capt is around 160 k if you must know, and anything above that cannot be counted on.

No pension either, so you better have the balls to play the market.

Ask a junior captain how he's doing financially while commuting to YYZ .

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He is actually both a very good guy and quite smart.

He did say it was his T4 although he might have been more clear to the media that his T4 amount is based on 5 revenue streams (salary, profit share, stock purchase, stock options and overtime) and is variable. As he said, some of the pilots made much more but of course most made less.

Some of course, have the added financial strain of a commute but then that's not restricted to WestJet, a ton of AC guys also are stuck commuting to upgrade.

All in all, I wouldn't be talking to the media at a sensitive time like this as far as unions go, but of course he's free to talk to who ever.

BTW, top salary for a top scale Captain is around $183k (from our latest agreement)

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I agree that Robin is one of the nicest guys you'll meet and he could be a philanthropist for all I know.

I over-reacted a bit, just getting tired of the company endorsed rhetoric regarding certification, age old divide and conquer is not helping this situation.

I am supporter of the present system the WJPA!

$183k eh, A fine salary, a great company and I'm very happy. Took me 30 years to get to this point.

Others in the company don't feel as fortunate and are unhappy for their own reasons, all in your perspective I guess. I've had, like many of us, lived near or under the poverty line for many years so its nice to finally be able to breath a little.

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He may be the nicest guy around but telling the world that he makes $315,000/year as a Westjet pilot working 16 days a month does nobody any good. Those outside the industry now believe that this is what Westjet pilots, and by extension, all airline pilots earn. Actually, he says that that amount is a "lower one" which could be read as a lower one for him, meaning that he had a higher T4 in other years or a lower one within the group - either way, not good.

Obviously this is not representative of the average pilot wage at Westjet or anywhere else and he knows that so I wonder what motivation he had in saying it? It seems to me that he's either not that bright, working with management to subvert union sentiment or perhaps he was talking off the cuff trying to impress the reporter thinking that it wouldn't be printed.

I've already been asked twice today by passengers if I made $315,000 last year "like the Westjet pilot in the news" and one of them commented "no wonder airline tickets are so expensive when the pilots get paid so much!" :angry:

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What do you think is inaccurate about it or any specific items he got wrong?

He suggests that a remark by Gerry Schwartz is what scuttled the Onex run at AC. That's inaccurate. The writer suggests that Schwartz's remark (or joke?) that pilots earn $250K for working 12 days monthly "isn't far off the mark". Do you agree?

WestJet is described as "the lone holdout against unions among major North American carriers". Most work groups at Delta are not unionized.

Given WestJet's route map, I'd be surprised if a majority of its pilots flew only YYC/YEG-YVR and YYZ-YOW/YUL as claimed by the writer.

I wouldn't characterize Saretsky's remarks to employees as "harsh words" or "an unpleasant warning". I don't work at WestJet and my opinion doesn't matter, but I don't think he said anything inappropriate.

I have no idea where the writer is going with his figures on employee productivity. To suggest that WestJet doesn't have a productive, efficient workforce is laughable. If his point is that WestJet's workforce is inefficient today, then he should find that WestJet employees are overpaid and underworked, which doesn't quite lead one to the conclusion that they need to unionize in order to protect their interests. In any case, figures on revenue generated per employee mean nothing if the cost side of the business is ignored.

I thought the article was poor, but perhaps it did report accurately on the debate happening within WestJet.

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Personally, I read Saretsky's remarks as being a slightly veiled threat to the employees who might be considering a union. Unionize, and you risk losing wages, working conditions, ESOP conditions, and your profit sharing plan, all of which will need to be renegotiated. Not that any of those things couldn't be rescinded tomorrow if they so desired, but putting a union in would certainly make it much more likely as they'd be starting with a blank slate. He's basically saying, "we don't have to give you anything you get right now, and good luck negotiating something better."

"Having a union as your exclusive bargaining agent would have a significant impact on the nature of your employment and the way the company and employees interact with each other," Saretsky said in the email.

In a document attached to the email, WestJet says that a union cannot guarantee anything, including the terms of employment, current wages and profit sharing and the employee share purchase plan.

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Personally, I read Saretsky's remarks as being a slightly veiled threat to the employees who might be considering a union. Unionize, and you risk losing wages, working conditions, ESOP conditions, and your profit sharing plan, all of which will need to be renegotiated. Not that any of those things couldn't be rescinded tomorrow if they so desired, but putting a union in would certainly make it much more likely as they'd be starting with a blank slate. He's basically saying, "we don't have to give you anything you get right now, and good luck negotiating something better."

I can see that interpretation too. Years ago, when WestJet and Southwest were to form an alliance of some sort, I met a few Southwest management folks who had been in Canada for talks with WestJet. These people were quite taken aback at the vehement anti-union feelings among WestJet's management at the time given that Southwest generally gets along fine with its unions.

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The relationship needn't be antagonistic. It doesn't need to be any different than they way they work together with PACT. Saretsky seems to be implying that it will be war if they go down that path, so he'll get the union he deserves if he plays it that way.

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Unfortunately you don't see the question that Robin was answering for the reporter. I'm not going to judge anything that was written until we see that. I'm sure she already knew what she wanted to write about and just added the quotes that made good copy.

I can only imagine that it was something like "So you really must be over worked and under paid?". :Scratch-Head:

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Unfortunately you don't see the question that Robin was answering for the reporter. I'm not going to judge anything that was written until we see that. I'm sure she already knew what she wanted to write about and just added the quotes that made good copy.

I can only imagine that it was something like "So you really must be over worked and under paid?". :Scratch-Head:[/quot

Read the disclaimer at the bottom. Its basically a union advertorial.

Most WJ'rs would read this and see the countless inaccuracies verging on lies and would have to ask if that is the direction they want to head in. The author obviously knows a lot about typical union rhetoric, and very little about WestJet.

That's pretty much par for the course. Most unions I'm familiar with have one goal: to extract as much cash as they possibly can from as many people as possible, make vague promises, and generally screw the membership of the smaller locals to the benefit of larger memberships at larger airlines.

Ask anyone at C3000 what the union did for them when crap hit the fan. Nada. They were more interested in seeing C3000 disappear so profits would improve and the membership at the larger locals would benefit from future pay increase resulting from increased profits as a result of C3000 failing.

I would venture to guess that any group choosing to join a union could safely skip future profit share payout celebrations.

If people are unhappy the company isn't like what it used to be, or it isn't as much fun going to work any more, it's bound to get a whole lot worse having to deal with the collective stink eye from the more entrepreneurially focussed other groups in the future.

The key takeaway is the desperation shown by the unions to deal with this prior to the rule changes when secret ballots, free of union intimidation and manipulation, will be required. They know they wouldn't have a hope of succeeding under those circumstances anytime soon.

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If you approach a union as something you have to control, you'll get the union you deserve. If you approach it as something to collaborate with to ensure mutual gains and success, you'll get the union you've earned. Herb Kelleher understood that distinction. Not everyone does.

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When the CEO starts to threaten, it is clear what is about to happen. Just ask any long time AC employee.

For Bean....

From the Star article, what's your take on this comment on lack of productivity?


At Air Canada, turnaround CEO Calvin Rovinescu has taught his colleagues how to “sweat the assets.” AC cranks out $551,000 in revenues per employee, ranking second on that crucial measure to United Continental ($570,000).


Among North America’s six top airlines, WestJet ranks last, at $448,000 per employee.

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Personally, I read Saretsky's remarks as being a slightly veiled threat to the employees who might be considering a union. Unionize, and you risk losing wages, working conditions, ESOP conditions, and your profit sharing plan, all of which will need to be renegotiated. Not that any of those things couldn't be rescinded tomorrow if they so desired, but putting a union in would certainly make it much more likely as they'd be starting with a blank slate. He's basically saying, "we don't have to give you anything you get right now, and good luck negotiating something better."

That is likely his intent, but it does beg the question about how deeply the uh, believers actually believe in their system. To wit, if profit sharing, ESOP, stock options are not the OPTIMAL forms of compensation as freely chosen and decreed by the founders of the company, and not the main vehicles through with they have built their entire inward and outward facing brands, then what would be the alternative? Would taking away (in a fit of pique) those fairy defining characteristics of WJ employment serve anyone's interests? I see it as an empty threat.

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One of the above posts comments mentioned Delta as non-union. Once upon a time but today and especially after the NWA merger, both FA's and pilots are unionized groups.

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That is likely his intent, but it does beg the question about how deeply the uh, believers actually believe in their system. To wit, if profit sharing, ESOP, stock options are not the OPTIMAL forms of compensation as freely chosen and decreed by the founders of the company, and not the main vehicles through with they have built their entire inward and outward facing brands, then what would be the alternative? Would taking away (in a fit of pique) those fairy defining characteristics of WJ employment serve anyone's interests? I see it as an empty threat.

Possibly. He is drawing a line in the sand. Unionize, and you're not a true Westjetter and will be treated as such.

Just the threat may be enough to keep the fence sitters from choosing to unionize...or it may backfire. We'll have to wait and see.

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One of the above posts comments mentioned Delta as non-union. Once upon a time but today and especially after the NWA merger, both FA's and pilots are unionized groups.

Delta's pilots are unionized. It's FAs are not.

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If people are unhappy the company isn't like what it used to be, or it isn't as much fun going to work any more, it's bound to get a whole lot worse having to deal with the collective stink eye from the more entrepreneurially focussed other groups in the future.

Won't the well-behaved cult members who don't unionize be in for even bigger profit sharing cheques once the dastardly dissident ones sign their union cards? I expect that they will be given your prediction that there'll be no profit sharing for union members, so why the collective stink eye?

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