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Boeing union pilots vote “no confidence” in management

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Sep. 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm with No Comments »
September 10, 2012 4:40 pm

In a unanimous vote, members of the union representing Boeing’s pilots have approved a resolution of “no confidence” in their managers at Boeing’s Training and Flight Services division.

Members of the Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association said they’re concerned about the company’s hiring of temporary pilots to deliver Boeing aircraft and to train crews of airlines buying Boeing planes.

A bargaining unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace , IFPTE Local 2001, AMPA includes the pilots who deliver Boeing airplanes to customers, including the 787. They also train the pilots of customer airlines.

Some of those contract temporary pilots are delivering Boeing’s newest plane, the 787 Dreamliner.

The union claimed tha none of the temporary pilots have flown the 787 and many have not piloted a commercial aircraft in two years. According to the union, the temporary pilots have no more preparation on the 787 than the simulator training received by customer flight crews they are being dispatched to train.

A Boeing spokesman said the contract pilots receive the same training as Boeing’s own pilots.

“They’re all experienced airline pilots,” said the spokesman.

“Seven eighty seven customers expect experienced flight and training instructors,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “This is flight training roulette for customers who do not know if their pilots will be trained by a genuine Boeing pilot or a temporary contractor dressed in a Boeing uniform. Worse, these temp pilots don’t have any more experience in the 787 simulator than the customers’ own flight crews. When a customer orders a billion dollars worth of airplanes, they don’t expect Boeing to give them a temp flight instructor who has never actually flown a 787.”

Boeing said it hires temporary pilots to handle surges in business. If it were to hire permanent employees to handle those surges, then the company would have to lay them off when business declined, a company spokesman said.

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