Posted by: Jennifer | January 31, 2006

pushing the p.c. limits

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:

Canada’s top court has given the country’s human rights commission the go-ahead to investigate whether flight attendants should be paid the same as pilots and airline mechanics.

[…]The Canadian Union of Public Employees began the case in 1991, arguing that the airline discriminated because it paid attendants differently “for what it argued was equally valuable work performed by mechanical personnel and pilots.”

I’m sorry, but there is no way that flight attendants should be paid at the same rates that the pilots are paid. I do not doubt for one second that the services provided by the attendants are valuable. But your pay should reflect more than the value of your position — it should also reflect what it took to get you there. To become a pilot, you have to have university degrees and masters degrees and a certain number of years experience and qualifying hours and extensive, massive amount of training. It is the same for the engineers — these are not people who just woke up one morning and decided to grab a wrench and go work on airplanes. There is a large amount of training and experience that is needed to perform that task. It is not the same at all for a flight attendant.

You cannot even say that this is a men vs women issue, because not all pilots are men and not all flight attendants are women. I have been on several flights were I was assigned a male flight attendant. Do I think that all flight attendants should make the same, regardless of gender? Yes. Do I think that all pilots should make the same, regardless of gender? Yes. As long as that is happening, I do not see where the problem is.

I believe in equality of pay, but I also believe that pay should reflect the position and the training behind the work that is done. I think that to pay the flight attendants on the same level as the pilots and engineers would be an insult to the latter group. And I think that the differences in the pay between the two groups does reflect more on the position than the gender of the people in those positions.


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