Over 700 Union Airline Pilots Wearing Their Full Pilot Uniforms Join ‘Occupy Wall’ Street Protesters

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Union Airline Pilots Occupy Wall Street (Forbes, Sep. 29, 2011):

Over 700 hundred Continental and United pilots, joined by additional pilots from other Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) carriers, demonstrate in front of Wall Street on September 27, 2011 in New York City.

Hundreds of uniformed pilots, standing in stark contrast to the youthful Occupy Wall Street protesters, staged their own protest outside of Wall Street over the past couple of days, holding signs with the picture of the Hudson river crash asking “What’s a Pilot Worth” and others declaring “Management is Destroying Our Airline.” This comes after pilots at United asked a federal judge to halt the merger with Continental, arguing that the whole thing is proceeding too quickly.

Piloting an airplane may seem like a good line of work, a high-skilled job that places many lives in the hands of a highly skilled worker. The highly-skilled portion of this assumption is true. However, pilots are among the most dismally paid workers in the country – at least when they start flying.

According to FltOps.com first year pilots make as little as $21,600 a year. Some airlines, such as Southwest, pay more than twice that. On average, starting pay for the major airlines is just above $36,000 a year.

Fortunately for pilots, the payscale does climb and it climbs pretty high. Fifth year median pay is close to double what first year pilots earn. Top pay can be much better. The high-end of the salary scale tops out with UPS and FedEx pilots who can earn over $200,000, though most major airlines average closer to $150,000.

Notably, non-unionized JetBlue is one of the lowest paying airlines. Southwest, which is almost entirely unionized, pays its pilots almost as well as UPS and FedEx. Something to think about.

6 thoughts on “Over 700 Union Airline Pilots Wearing Their Full Pilot Uniforms Join ‘Occupy Wall’ Street Protesters”

  1. You know what I say? I say they really need to rachet up the early pay. Pilots deserve more than that. But I say that money should be shifted from the upper scale. In other words, instead of a rickety long ladder, make it a shorter one that’s sturdier and higher up. Reduce the pay gap between top and bottom ends.

  2. i think a pilot pay should be around 400,000usd cos the job is too dangerous and stressful and the lives a pilot holds is too much all because of our safety.they deserve a 400,000usd for that reason.

  3. Greetings from Greece. This Foto is used in my country from several bloggers renaming the cause of the protest. In my country some bloggers wtite that pilots got sick of flying planes that are throwing Ka Va and other chems to people. Is quite funny!!

    • @GeorgeB,

      I receive now well over 1000 spam comments per day and several of them make it through the spam filter.

      Freedom of speech … YES!

      Freedom of spam … NO!

      Greetings to Greece!
      Infinite Unknown


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