Monday, December 20, 2010

The Duties of DGS Ramp Agent

As Ramp Agents at Delta Global Services, we perform many vital roles in day to day operations at Delta Air Lines and other companies who contract our services. In fact, many of our functions are jobs that at most airlines, prior to the airline cost cutting frenzy of the post 9/11 world, aircraft mechanics and other role dedicated specialists provided. Such roles include but are not limited to aircraft push backs, post-arrival and pre-departure aircraft damage checks, air starts, aircraft towing, umbilical support equipment attachment, even aircraft cleaning, which at many airlines, even in today's cost competitive airline industry, is the function of dedicated Cabin Service Agents. Yet we receive little to no theoretical training of the how and why these technical operations are performed. As one instance, perhaps DGS would not have as many issues with air start damages if Agents trained in those procedures actually understood how air start procedures work and why they are needed, not just how to perform them. In addition to all of the semi-technical roles Ramp Agents are called upon to perform, we are also tasked with baggage and cargo handling. Delta Global Services is getting a major bargain out of our services as Ramp Agents. For a measly $7.50-$8.50 an hour with little or no fringe benefits, we perform all of these tasks, often in inclement weather or under time constraints. I repeat again, DGS and Delta Air Lines are getting a major bargain from us. While we are technically a contractor and not part of a mainline airline, we are providing services as a wholly owned subsidiary of a major airline that many Ramp Agents at other airline do for $10.00 to $25.00 an hour. No, that is not a typo. Even in today's post 9/11 airline industry, many Ramp Agents with moderate seniority levels earn upwards of $20 an hour. Southwest Airlines, for instance, tops their ramp agents' pay at $25 an hour, United at $23, and even nonunion Delta Mainline around $20. If you account for the previously mentioned fact that many airlines prior to 9/11 had mechanics perform many more technical line duties such as pushbacks and air starts, DGS is getting even more a bargain from its Ramp Agents; we're doing work that certified and trained aircraft mechanics often did for upwards of $25 an hour in 1990s dollars. And we don't even get a uniform issue or an affordable, family health plan... Something isn't right.

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