Immigration no problem for aircraft mechanics

Discussion in 'UPS Airline / Gateway' started by ups767mech, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. ups767mech

    ups767mech New Member

    By BYRON HARRIS and MARK SMITH / WFAA-TV



    Fixing an aircraft is not like fixing a Chevy. Aircraft mechanics don’t do their job with guesses, but instead do them with a repair manual open in front of them, mapping every step.
    Manuals are written in English, the worldwide language of aviation.
    News 8 has uncovered a pipeline of mechanics that are being funneled into the United States from foreign countries and may lack the necessary English skills to read and understand the manuals needed to make proper repairs.
    Documents and interviews indicate one Texas repair firm, San Antonio Aerospace (SAA), now has more than 100 Mexican and Asian aircraft mechanics. SAA’s sprawling repair station in San Antonio is currently running two shifts a day doing contract work for both Delta Airlines and UPS, among others.
    Some SAA repairmen say the Mexican workers lack the ability to even understand the content of company meetings, much less read manuals. Nonetheless, they say, SAA sent a manager to Mexico to actively recruit repairmen.
    One certified American mechanic who spoke Spanish said he acted as an informal translator to help the Mexican workers once they arrived in San Antonio.
    "I would be like the Pied Piper to them," he said. “They would follow me and ask what the meeting was about, 'What did the lead mechanic say?'”
    Later, after watching a group of Asians arrive at SAA, he said he realized the folly in helping the new hires with language problems after overhearing a conversation between two of his managers.
    “All these American contractors that think we can’t live without them,” he said one of the managers said to the other. "We will just get rid of them.”
    Ultimately, he and many other American mechanics at SAA were laid off while the foreign workers remained.
    "They came in at half the pay as American, English-speaking mechanics, so they got a bargain,” the mechanic said. “Of course, the downfall is when you can't read, write or understand English there is a serious safety problem going on there."
    SAA president Moh Loong Loh said in a written statement that his company is "an equal opportunity employer, and our hiring policy is in strict compliance with local, state and federal regulations."
    Other questions regarding SAA’s recruiting practices include the number of foreign mechanics employed and potential safety issues that went unanswered.
    San Antonio Aerospace is owned by ST Aerospace, headquartered in Singapore. It is one of the largest aircraft repair companies in the world.
    Delta Airlines sends Boeing 757 passenger aircrafts to SAA for repair. Delta says the company has inspectors on the premises in San Antonio who “are responsible for ensuring that all manufacturer, federal aviation and Delta requirements are met on every Delta aircraft."
    "Delta does not compromise on the quality or safety of work performed on its aircraft," the company said.
    UPS sends wide-bodied Airbus and McDonnell Douglas cargo planes to SAA for extensive repairs. UPS said in a written statement that the company has 13 full time staff people on the premises at San Antonio Aerospace.
    "We do not know if every mechanic speaks English,” a UPS spokeswoman said. “Once a mechanic makes the repair(s), the repairs go to a quality control inspector who has to verify the work is done correctly. After this step, one of our UPS team will also review the work."
    Immigration documents list at least some of the Mexican mechanics as “scientific technicians.”
    “Frankly, this document scares me because it doesn't state these people are trained, and actually uses a term calling them 'scientific technicians,” said John Goglia, a certified mechanic and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board. “That's not an aviation term.”
    Goglia said he is especially concerned if the mechanics lack solid English skills.
    “When you bring in a person who can’t read the manual you raise the risk,” Gogila said. “When you bring in a person who doesn’t understand the verbal instructions from a co-worker to his supervisor you raise the risk. It doesn’t take a lot of tic marks in raising the risk before we have ourselves a serious problem.”
    Documents indicate the men are paid by a company called Aircraft Workers Worldwide, with an office in Daphne, Alabama. AWW CEO Daniel Hardin declined to be interviewed. When News 8 came to his small office in an industrial park, an AWW employee told the reporter to leave.
    In a federal immigration application, AWW applied for a TN Visa under the Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. AWW says it has a gross annual income of $9 million. AWW says it intends to pay the workers a $1,000 weekly salary for about 40 to 50 hours. AWW, in the application, also claims to have “a site” or office on SAA property.
    American mechanics from Mobile Aerospace, a sister company of SAA, in Mobile, Alabama near Daphne, said other mechanics were brought in from overseas to work there. The Mobile division responded to News 8's questions the same way as SAA, calling the company “an equal opportunity employer.”
    Current and former workers say some of the foreign workers may have left SAA for jobs elsewhere, including Florida
    "And since there are no restrictions with them with these visas, they can go and work anywhere in the country,” Goglia said.
    Goglia said the issue should be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates such repairs.
    “The FAA is the entity that is supposed to safeguard the public's interest in safe transportation,” Goglia said. ”And, where are they?”
    The FAA, in a comment about a previous News 8 story, said it is not necessary for an aircraft mechanic to speak perfect English.



    Have fun flying!!!!!!!
     
  2. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    Well thats as good as the Fox news report about federal fire fighters that dont know how to speak English, but yet if the team leader does not know how to speak spanish, they get demoted.

    Ah yes children. What you now know as north mexico, was once a proud country called the USA. They could fight world wars against any foe, but this one attacked from within and they surrendered without even so much as an outcry.

    d
     
  3. ups767mech

    ups767mech New Member

    Very sad.
     
  4. trplnkl

    trplnkl 555

    *But we all know that the jobs Mexican(and now Asian) workers only come here to fill jobs that Americans don't want to do.*
    *you know, pick fruit, gardening, aircraft maintenance, jobs that don't pay enough to warrent going off public assistance for. *







    *sarcasm*
     
  5. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Very, very sad. Very, VERY scary!!!
     
  6. unionman

    unionman New Member

    Look who has airplanes in there hangers. UPS is the biggest outsourcer of any airline.
     
  7. unionman

    unionman New Member

    Currently there is a re-energized watch of regional airline operations. This is as a direct result of the Colgan accident in Buffalo. In recent Senate hearings the new FAA Administrator was quizzed hard on the government’s supervision of these carriers. Fifty percent of all U.S. commercial flights involve regionals. Preliminary emphasis is on flight operations, duty time, and training. The Administrator was asked if he would have terminated someone who had flunked several flight tests and replied, “people are human.” Hmmm! He was also asked if he thought $23,000 a year was a low rate of pay for a regional pilot. He replied that there are major carriers that start at that level. Hmmm!
    Now the Regional Airline Association has announced it has embarked on a strategic safety initiative. This will involve the establishment of a safety board, fatigue studies, fatigue awareness management programs, and a reach out for industry government partnerships.
    All of this is good — but I do not think it addresses the central issue with regionals. That is the culture from which many of these carriers sprang. Regionals are not first air carriers, they are first business opportunities. They were created to make money. Yes, they have to abide by the FARs and other standards for the industry … but first and foremost the intent is profit. There is not a thing wrong with this motive. After all, this is the incentive that drives our nation’s economy. (At least I hope so.) Safety is a paramount consideration in these operations. My point is that until it is the foremost consideration, the culture of regionals will not change. At times budgets will be minimized, i.e. a few extra landings on a set of tires, reduction of staff, and increased workload per employee, shortcuts on training, etc. These may work for a trucking, busing, or even railroad operation, but not for an air carrier. There can be no shortcuts.
    Take for instance the recent case of Gulfstream International Airlines. The FAA is proposing a $1.3 million fine for violations that include maintenance infractions in addition to crew time and record-keeping abuses. CNN reported that mechanics told pilots to “go” regardless of the fact that maintenance systems did not check out properly on an aircraft before flight. It also reported a maintenance person that said the maintenance operations at this airline were “the worst he has seen in 30 years.” Worse yet, it has been stated that auto air conditioning compressors were used to repair the system in Beech 1900Ds. Gulfstream states it used proper parts but did not install these properly.
    Not to pick on one airline who has its day in court … this is to bring to light what I suspect is a culture problem in this sector that is exacerbated by the fact that it is highly capital intensive and regulated in a decidedly competitive business. Regardless of any profit motive, air travel must have safety as its priority 100 percent of the time.
    Do you think I’m being overly hard on the regionals or do you agree? Have any of you seen for yourself similar poor practices in this sector? Let me know; initials will suffice. What can be done to change the culture? Otherwise, if it doesn’t change, I see something similar to Buffalo occurring in the future, and maybe this one will point to a maintenance shortcut.
     
  8. ups767mech

    ups767mech New Member


    Funny !!!!! You could probably add some other professions to
     
  9. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member


    My thoughts exactly.
     
  10. airbusfxr

    airbusfxr New Member

    UPS uses SAA for alot of heavy mx and we see the quality of work during the first few flights out of these chop shops. Back in the 90's line pilots would turn back to land where they started from, then mgt pilots had to test fly out of heavy and they always flew on to no matter how many write ups they incurred. UPS has a safety record that is the envy of the aviation world but still have held mechanics without a contract for 4 years.
     
  11. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt You can call me Chappy Staff Member

    Really ... never heard that before. :wink2:

    I guess that's why FredEx wants to stay under the RLA.