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March 10, 2006

Broken Unions, Depressed Pilots

In the wake of airline busting of unions, wages and benefits have been cut for airline employees.

And the New York Times has a profile of a profession in depression:

One veteran United Airlines captain, who laments that when he retires in a few years his pension will be about one-fourth what he expected, said he had to shut it out of his mind to prevent the distraction from affecting his work...

Dr. Fischbeck, who flew in the Navy and has colleagues who went on to fly for the airlines, said that the change in financial circumstances and job security were good reasons to be unhappy.

But Dr. Fischbeck and others pointed out that the industry culture is such that pilots must face the hardship on their own. Other workers with health plans might seek professional counseling. With pilots licensed by the F.A.A., however, "as soon as you sign up for it, it's on your record, and you're toast."

A US Airways pilot echoed that sentiment: "If it gets reported to the F.A.A., you can forget it, you're not coming back to work, until you go through a lot. The system requires us to deal with it ourselves. That makes it very difficult to go through what we just went through."

How lovely. You've got a lot of depressed pilots who are afraid to seek counseling for fear of being blacklisted.

Posted by Nathan at March 10, 2006 07:19 AM