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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

To all Workers... 

The first Monday in September was flagged to honor the "American Labor Movement" where employees have historically made strides to strengthen the workforce and thus our country. 

Unions have accomplished many things... and safety comes to mind in my industry.  There was a time when management treated labor like animals, clearly abusing them. Thankfully we in America do not experience that. While there will (sadly) always be managers who do not know how to lead, and use harassment and threats as their strategies to control employees, for the most part that behavior is rare.

And while union members (employee groups alike) negotiate contracts, they negotiate them with corporate leaders. This should be a win win contract. Employees have expectations for a safe and fair workplace. Shouldn't organizations have expectations that their employees have agreed to perform the terms of that employment agreement?

A flight attendant who accepts a job, knowing very well that she must serve drinks. Does she have the right to make judgment on the serving of those drinks, who should drink, or the price of those drinks...etc?

Does a county clerk have the right to place her judgement on who should marry?

Do pilots have the right right to determine who they will carry on their aircraft

Do employees have the right to impose judgment on the rights of others?

Ladies and gentlemen, if terms of employment offend your religion... my recommendation is don't work there. If you feel strong that an issue needs to be changed, then get involved in your government and create change.

This quarter I am taking a course about future trends in aviation. Behavior does in fact create change, and not always for the better.  If employees continue to pass judgment and violate the terms of their employment, believing they have the right to continue employment... 

Then I suspect the future trend will be for management to have the right to ask (once again) personal questions such as religion, and will have the right to not employ you (whether those are your beliefs or not) if they believe your religion will prevent you from doing the job. Do we want to go back to those days?

This is not a political post. 
This is a common sense post. 

Labor has fought long and hard to create a strong workplace!

What do you think?

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. The First Amendment promises the free exercise of any and all religions as an antidote to the domination of one in particular.

    Doubt that?

    Take a look at what Thomas Jefferson writes to the Barbary pirates, who were Muslim, to get them to stop preying on American merchant ships in the Atlantic.

    Worked a damn sight better than our war on terror, imho, which has had the opposite effect.

    I am continually appalled at the brazenness of so-called godly people who use the First Amendment to impose their personal preferences and proclivities on their customers.

    We think of that as crossing a line, and it is.

    But it's more than that.

    It's not just the imposition of a particular religious view on people who don't practice that religion (and may never have even heard of the particular denomination).

    it's the naked abuse of petty power over the only supplicants these people will ever get to impose their will upon.

    If you want to see who the prison guards would be and how viciously they would torture their fellow human beings in the theocracy they imagine they're working to bring about, look at these people.

    They would be the new SS.

    The line between the free exercise of religion (taking the day off for a religious holiday) and their definition of it (imposing the arbitrary rules of a particular denomination) couldn't be wider, brighter or sharper.

    If thinking people keep letting them blur that line, the political implications couldn't be more terrifying.

    1. Mary, Thank you for the comment. And I have just spent the previous 30 minutes reading up on Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates. Fascinating. And the political implications ... yes, terrifying. Thank you so much for your comment!

  2. A great post Karlene. In time, I look forward to learning if/how any views have changed following your course work. Two items just slapped me: ?Can an airline employee decide who may or may not fly? Generally, normally absolutely not. IMO, an aircraft commander is exempt, but ONLY when s/he recognizes a Genuine Threat to Safety of Flight.
    As for the cited county clerk jailed for non-compliance with a Federal District Court Order, jail may be extreme. That said and at the very least, that clerk should be removed from all decisions related to administrating laws in her state, **not making them.* While I cannot respect her views, to the death I will defend her right to hold them. She woman simply may not take them to work with her or impose them upon the citizens of her county.
    After you have finished the relevant course, I look forward to hearing whether your views have changed and if so, why.
    This too:
    "This is not a political post.
    This is a common sense post." I'm still looking for ways to support that captain looking out for MY safety. Race and ethnicity do not work, but behavior does. Let's warm this up in about three months... Thank you. -C.

    1. C, I agree... that clerk should have the right to her views. We all have the right to our views. But she does not have the right to impose them on others, and is required to do her job. Was jail the right thing? Perhaps overkill, but I suspect that that is standard protocol for contempt of court.

      The flight attendant who does not think she should serve alcohol, has her views too. But she too was hired to do her job. And thus she should do it or get another job.

      Now, if that FA did not serve drinks because the passenger was intoxicated...that would be a safety decision. There she has the right to make a judgment on safety.

      The pilot most definitely has the right to remove someone from their flight if they think the safety of the flight is in jeopardy. The link I wanted to post with the pilot example displayed a photo of an airline that I could not post. Thus the example might not have been the best example. The point was about personal issues and prejudice.

      Safety... yes, we have the right to pull anyone off! But for religious beliefs, I think not. This could get way out of hand.

      Thus, what if the pilot did not believe in that gay marriage and decided to not fly the plane because they were going on their honeymoon? Does he have the right to pass judgment?

      What if another pilot doesn't believe people should drink, does he have the right to hold the plane until all alcohol is off?

      What if the McDonalds employee doesn't believe in drinking caffeine, do they have the right to not sell any soda? But the employer must keep them?

      What if the lifeguard's religion doesn't believe women should be showing their abdomen, should he keep his job but not have to save the bikini clad women?

      This judgement, religious or not, should not give the right for employees to not perform their jobs in accordance with terms of employment. If something is unsafe, illegal or not what the employer/employee relationship agreed upon, then that's a different story.

      I wonder if most of this is for attention. Besides, I find it difficult as to how anyone who honored their religion, could be in a job that contradicts their religion in the first place?

    2. I agree with you & thought I said so. I'll certainly add the FA and the intoxicated pax. Aircraft commanders are a different class safety must always come first. I think it does. -C.

    3. You did. I was just thinking about all the options of how our world can get out of hand with people thinking we have rights based on our religion. You know, I think safety should always come first for everyone. Thanks for your comments. They are always appreciated!!

  3. Karlene,

    On the surface, I agree with you but it is important to make sure we don't mix the apples and oranges.

    I'm not the one to dance around a topic so I will be blunt. Ms. Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk is in violation of a Federal Law. Being a Law, it was passed by both houses of the Senate, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is a real law and since we are a nation of laws, then it must be followed. Ms. Davis is not a regular person or a member of a Union. She is an elected official who took an oath that states that she will uphold the law. By the way she swore to uphold all of the laws of the Constitution and the Commonwealth of Kentucky to the best of her ability and ended with "so help me God."

    Being an elected official, she is not a member of a union and she is not afforded any of the rights that we enjoy. Unfortunately for all of us, she is unwilling to resign and her resolve makes her a lighting rod for everyone. I hope she wears rubber boots because it sucks to be her.

    Since you mentioned those who are in a union, we are insulated in many ways from our own selves. We can be fired for almost anything but most likely the Union will work to get us back on the job, just like Tom Brady. Yes, we can kick people off the airplane but to actually do it, you better believe that there needs to be a valid excuse and just saying that it is against my religion isn't strong enough.

    When I entered the world of commercial aviation, I made the choice that if they will pay me a good wage then I will follow their wishes. If they want me to save gas, then I do everything within reason to save gas. If they want me to clean the toilets, then I will clean a toilet. I'm not doing this job to be a hero, individual, religious rights lightening rod, or for the fun. I am doing it for the money and as long as the money is right then I am willing to keep on showing to work.

    Great Discussion topic.


    1. Rob, thanks for your comment and great point. Yes... that clerk is one level up from a regular job, and she id duty bound to obey the law. But then aren't we all? And the real question is the issue of being able to pass judgment and make up our own rules in the name of our religion.
      I always wear my hat. Why? They want me to, and they are paying me to do it. Who am I to judge the rules of my airline, despite the hat hair.
      Thank you for your great comment!

    2. Now, you had to go to the hat issue. I don't wear a hat or a blazer and only a tie when I am going through a public area or security for several reasons. But the main one is that it is against my religion. Ha ha

    3. That damn Hat.
      Chief pilot: "Where is your hat!??"
      Captain: "In my bag."
      Chief Pilot: "Why aren't you wearing it?"
      Captain: "I can't seen how to close my bag with my hat in it."
      CP: "Where is your hat."
      CA: "In your wife's car."
      Oh...there are many equally as fun!

      Can you share with me your religion? Did you know a group of Braniff pilots held service meetings for their religion and did not pay taxes. Guess how that went over. :)

  4. You are healed...there you go. Ditch the hat.

    We have several of those "true believers" in the Constitution didn't say to pay taxes garbage at Fed Ex too. They always end up at the same Federal Prison. Most of the guys who didn't pay taxes were prior military too. Guess it is okay for you to pay your taxes so they could learn to fly but when they started making real money, it suddenly became unfair.

    1. But of course!!! I will be a true believer... after my bath and a good night sleep!! Hat in my bag tomorrow. But I'm deadheading. :)


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