I have written this opinion twice. It kept running to three pages, but It’s really not that complicated. I just received my ballot today. This vote is too important for me to remain silent.
Anyone who knows me knows my story. If you don’t know me, my name is Rick Mottilla. I am a Captain on the Challenger 300. Prior to that I was a Lear60 First Officer, and Captain, for fourteen years. I am well known as originally being one of the most vocal anti-union pilots at Flexjet. I saw no need for a union and came out loud and long against any attempt to bring one on the property. However, that being said, I have always believed that there is a time and a place for a union. We just didn’t need one here at Flexjet.
Why my change of heart? Many close friends who I respected became involved with the organization effort and they of course started to educate me on why they became involved. For a time I didn’t want to hear anything different. I stuck my head in the sand. I was concerned with only what benefitted myself. I was ill informed, selfish and deluded. One day on a company call I heard a blatant misuse of military affiliation and this Master Army Aviator started paying attention. My opinion took a major shift when three friends were fired for speaking their minds. I actually texted my CP after that post and said that I thought their Yammer comment was over the line. You can imagine how horrible I felt a week later when they were fired. I didn’t want that as an outcome. Who would destroy a family’s life over an opinion? With what kind of team was I aligning myself? From that day forward I started to educate myself on why a union was needed at Flexjet.
I came to realize that we were now at the time and place where a union was needed. I watched as seniority was attacked, favoritism was how you cherry picked the heavy iron. I watched as Red Label turned us against each other and the company got creative on finding other ways to divide us. After I started listening and educating myself I saw this place for the house of cards it had become. Lot’s of lip service here at Flexjet. I’ve been through two open-heart surgeries in 2011 and 2015. One under Bombardier, one under One Sky. To say I had different experiences would be putting it mildly. With Bombardier I never missed a paycheck. With OneSky I missed every paycheck from January to May. No one called me; no one answered my repeated calls for help. That is as chilling, as it is telling, and it underscores that we are no longer Flexjet, by Bombardier. We need this union.
The battle cry of the de-certers became “Let’s go back to the way it used to be at good ol’ Flex.” “Oh, we were so happy then.” “Let’s have a servant’s heart” again. The basis of all their wailing and wringing of hands was that somehow, if you supported the union, you were lazy, slovenly and wanted the company to fail. First of all I take this as a personal insult. I support the union because with this outfit united we stand, divided we beg. I am also a professional aviator and my assigned aircraft is my priority, as our my owners, as is our safety first, as is my company’s good name. I work hard at what I do and this company and the union detractors would have you believe that this is not the case. So much tripe.
Secondly, the “let’s go back to the ‘ol Flexjet” mindset is a ridiculous and frivolous fantasy. We don’t work for Bombardier anymore. We work for DAC/OneSky. Different management. Different mindset. Different as night and day. We are treated as robots are treated. We are scheduled with complete indifference to what is best for a crew. The first time I had to call fatigue here I was afraid for my job. I mean if you fire a guy for an opinion... It was reassuring to have a contract and support.
I will be the first to admit that our contract needs improvement. It ain’t perfect! Well, we are currently negotiating a new contract as I type. We have a neutral mediator from the federal government assigned. We are at the confluence of one of the greatest pilot shortages of all time. Now is the time to stand together and demand the pay, benefits and work rules that we, as professional aviators, deserve. (In March I believe six were hired and ten crew LEFT!!)
One final thought. Why the IBT1108? It’s very simple. No other entity gave a crap about us, or would help us. The IBT has invested much time, money and effort for us and, contrary to the tripe put out by management and their union busters, it is not just about dues.
Don’t fall for the divisionary tactics and voting tricks that the de-certers have laid out. Remember earlier when I said I was “ill informed, selfish and deluded?” Don’t be like former me. Read up and learn before you vote. Ask questions. Call me if you like. This vote is important and the only block you should be checking is the one that puts you together with your fellow professionals standing up for what we deserve. Check the block that says IBT1108...