SkyWest Airlines: Non-Union Success Story
Growth has accelerated rapidly over the past five years, at Non-Union SkyWest Airlines.
What follows, is the official statement from SkyWest Airlines, about why they have remained union-free for 30 years, and how that fact gives them a distinct advantage over much of their competition:
The Legacy Airlines are at a tremendous disadvantage in comparison to non-union airlines like JetBlue and SkyWest. The managements of those non-union carriers have a much greater range of options available to them, enabling them to keep their companies on a more efficient path and to ensure they are able to continue expanding, in a consistently profitable way.
Legacy Airlines, in contrast, have so many union work-rule millstones hanging about their necks, that their managements are not only saddled with much higher labor costs, but they are also very limited in their options. Being so constrained, often induces those managements to grasp for straws, as they try to find ways to make money for their airline.
In my view, that was a significant underlying factor in United's decision to attempt to acquire US Airways, in the year 2000. It proved to be a very costly mistake; one which probably never would have been made, had United not been saddled with a pilots' union like ALPA, led by the likes of Frederick Dubinsky.
Legacy Airlines have been unable to expand into smaller markets with smaller jets, like the CRJs, because of the highly restrictive "Scope" clauses in the union contracts of those millstone-laden carriers. Following that Dubinsky model, the ALPA pilots thought they were protecting their jobs, but in fact they were only making it harder for their own airlines to operate profitably, while at the same time, handing their competition the keys to the treasury.
As long as anyone is willing to accept the idea that wealth and abundance can be produced, just by union "solidarity" forcing the employer to capitulate to every irrational demand of the union bosses----without any regard to the realities in the Free-Market Place----then union jobs will continue to go the way of the Dodo Bird. Loyalty to one's peer group is a poor substitute for understanding the basic laws and fundamental facts of economics.
Any way you look at it, the economic model of ALPA and Frederick Dubinsky and Roger Hall has been an unmitigated disaster for United Airlines, and for all the other Legacy Airlines who have tried to follow that suicidal model, which has been leading them all down the bone-yard path to the tar pits, where the dinosaurs are laid to rest forever.
US Airways is in bankruptcy court for the second time. United has been there too, for over two years. Delta and Northwest are now filing too, for the same bankruptcy protection. One cannot help but wonder if American and Continental won't eventually be drug down that same path to oblivion.
Meanwhile JetBlue and SkyWest are continually expanding, hiring and making money. Southwest is too, because so far its management has been able to persuade its unions to behave in a responsible way, which recognizes the realities of the highly competitive Free-Market. Translated-----Southwest does not have the usual kinds of featherbedding millstones in its union contracts, which so hamstring the Legacy Airlines. And fortunately, SWAPA apparently hasn't yet been cursed with union "leaders" of the ilk of Frederick Dubinsky or Roger Hall. If that ever happens, and a majority of the SWAPA pilots buy into the siren song of such economic charlatans, then the heyday of Southwest Airlines will have passed, and they too will begin the trek down that bone yard road to the dinosaur tar pits.
Robert J. Boser