how do you figure you will hate your life by being reserve in the 73 and how do you know CAL will be a different company??????
Justin covered most the bases, but I'll add a few other things.
Movable days off - The company can adjust all but six of your days off, and they will.
International flying - The company can give you your 24 hours rest anywhere south of the boarder, and therefor you'll do things like work 10 days straight while you're on reserve when you were scheduled for 6.
Low staffing - You'll fly 100 hours every month on reserve.
Not commutability - Everything in Newark has 5:30 a.m. go times and 11:00 p.m. end times, meaning you WILL commute in the day before and commute out the day after.
Short call reserve - You're on a 2 hour leash the entire month. Delta runs their reserve where you have 12 hours to get to the airport, and a 2 hour short call assignment is considered just that, an assignment. You'll be relegated to a crashpad for 18 days a month.
No health insurance for six months - Yup, you read that correctly.
$31 an hour - Yup, you read that one correctly too.
Scabs on your trips and doing your OE - Screw the '83 hires.
No soft time - It's almost impossible to get. You block 85 hours? You get paid 85 hours.
Training on days off - That's BS right there.
On international flying the "relief area" is the last row of seats in coach - Until recently, dead heads for international flights were paid at 50%, then 75%, and now are finally back up to 100% pay. Can you imagine the abuse that was happening when a company only has to pay you 50% for dead heads?
Continental has some of the worst work rules in the industry, be it regional or mainline. The way they treat their employees is, in my mind, downright criminal and I hope they get some of these problems fixed in the next contract.
But if history is any indicator of the future, nothing will change. The Continental pilot group has approved EVERY SINGLE TA THE FIRST TIME IT'S COME UP FOR A VOTE. They have never said, "Oh sorry, this isn't good enough, we want more." You NEVER approve the first offer when you're negotiating, it doesn't matter what it's for. You ALWAYS make the other guy up the offer. So if I had to take a bet, nothing will change. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope there are enough young, angry guys there that want to burn the place to the ground, but I don't think that'll be the case.
Every day I go to the crashpad, I'm glad I'm at Express and not Continental mainline. My QOL is WAY better at my regional than it would be at CAL.