Op-Ed from Pilot Instructor: Bridge Negotiations

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The following letter was written by a Pilot Instructor following “all that went down” with the recent Lockheed to CAE Bridge Negotiations and Votes.


My thoughts on the transition to CAE.

Our union started the process with the assumption we would be bridging our current contract.

We met with CAE prior to reviewing the PWS. Shame on us.

CAE came in with changes to our current contract based on the new position of SAM and their desire to maximize that position and of course profits.

We voted down the contract, voted for a strike and as a result returned to our original contract as a straight bridge agreement. This was a great accomplishment for the union. The SAM position was negotiated to a great salary based on the required skill level. We got the same 16 hour minimum that is in our current contract.

Most of the junior instructors are not pleased as they will be laid off or offered the SAM position. Obviously that will not sustain them and some will be leaving the company. I have been through that and can understand.

This is unfortunate but the fact is the company is cutting jobs and the union has no control over that.

One complaint is that part time employees will not get vacation time. That is a rare item in any contract. Union negotiated a good medical pay out of $160 and kept sick/pto for part time employees.

I have heard that the union did not let the members get involved or get a voice in the negotiating process.

Yes, I can agree that it looks that way especially to the members that have not been though a contract negotiation.

This was not a contract negotiation it was a bridge to get through the transition. The union ultimately was able to get that done.

When we do a contract negotiation as we will next year the union will have surveys and meetings for all members to express their concerns and desires for the next contract, at that time we should come to a consensus and speak as one.

Remember we are a union of C130 instructors and not just Navigators or Loadmasters or Pilots and must hang together.

Chet Schirmer, Pilot Instructor



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2 thoughts on “Op-Ed from Pilot Instructor: Bridge Negotiations

  • Thanks Chet! As someone that was on the negotiating team, we did try to listen to everyone’s concerns. Since this was a “Bridge” there wasn’t much we could negotiate on. Being responsible for 80+ people’s income can be thankless sometimes and scary. It’s nice to know that not everyone blames you. But something I want to remind you is that, this contract is made up of support staff also. Not just instructors. 😊

  • Chet,

    I heard your concerns. In one of our quarterly meetings with management, I personally asked Woody if the ATS III change our manning. He said that it most definitely would. I am sure that Lockheed Martin would have made similar changes. CAE also made hast in the changes in our CBA and omitted at least one very important benefit for the part time employees. We will have to fight to get it because I’m sure they will say that was not their intent. But it is in black and white of our “bridged” CBA.

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