applies to working conditions of future hires, not the current employees that the union is bound to represent. The two-tier wage scale seems to be a competitive response to economic pressures released by deregulation.
The Railway Labor Act contains no restrictions against "feather- bedding," as are found in § 8(b)(6) of the National Labor Relations Act. Crew size and even aircraft size are bargainable subjects under the RLA. Flight engineers on jet aircraft are the equivalent of diesel firemen. Current labor agreements provide for flight engineers on most overseas flights and on larger jets. The engineer, however, must be a qualified pilot. Newer jets (e.g., Boeing 757, Airbus 320), are designed to be flown with only two persons in the cockpit.
The air labor unions will continue to face pressure to maintain their current position or better it. Carriers will continue to seek reductions in labor costs through the purchase of new aircraft and through smaller crew sizes. In the meantime, great strains will be placed on the union's exercise of its duty of fair representation.