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AA getting Sued??

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Allright, I guess I'm behind in my reading. I had conversation tonight with a friend of mine at AA (a pilot), he mentioned that that AA or it's pilot union, or whatever, is getting SUED by TWA Alpa. IS THIS RIGHT???? Seriously, all these TWA pilots, you know, the ones that faced imminent JOB LOSS, i.e. UNEMPLOYMENT LINE, are taking legal action against AA, the company that kept a paycheck comming. IS THIS RIGHT? Am I missing something here????

I reserve comment on TWA until someone responds with some specfic facts.

Here's a fact:

No law suits against AA or APA have been filed yet. Grievences have been filed against TWA LLc and AA on many different contract violations, but that's a different story.

I'm just a rank-and-file TWA pilot, but it seems likely that there will be litigation against the APA. Regardless of how one views the outcome, the APA won the right and then imposed their own idea for seniority integration, which we rejected. Personally I'm not holding my breath awaiting a successful outcome.

Your tone belays your opinion: that the TWA pilots should just shut the heck up and say "thank you very much for whatever crumbs you deem worthy for us". The problem with that is it was AA management that bought TWA; not the APA. In fact I think it's safe to say that most AA pilots were against the purchase. AA and APA are at constant war with each other. For all the APA knows AA bought TWA just to anger them. Of course the reality is that AA bought TWA to increase profits and to counter the proposed UA/USA merger. The APA wish to preserve their seniority, which is understandible. To be honest, with my 2 1/2 years at TWA that fact that I'm stapled really doesn't make much difference to me. However I expect to be furloughed soon; not because of the economy, but because after I'm stapled there'll be 200 furloughed AA pilots senior to me. AA management has already pledged to swap AA furloughees for us. Hence I be furloughed due to the direct action of the APA, my future union.

I'm not going to cry "that's not fair!". Life isn't fair. TWA was a failing carrier. AA is a healthy carrier. Our MEC fought for our interests in vain. The APA had their way. What's done is done.

If there's a lesson to be learned consider this: ALPA National sold us out. All one has to do is read an edition of the ALPA magazine. Are there cries for "save the TWA pilots from APA aggression!"? No. It's as if the TWA pilots have already ceased to exist. The reason is simple: United and Delta have no interest in seeing the TWA/AA dispute arbitrated. More consolidation in the industry seems inevitable and they don't wish to have any precedents set that'll affect their seniority. Frankly right now I have more respect for the APA than for ALPA. At least the APA stood up for their members. The irony is that ALPA National wants APA back into the fold, but instead they just angered 2300 soon-to-be AA pilots.

Happy holidays.
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TWA Dude,

You spelled it out as well as anything I've seen written on this subject. I was very briefly an AAL newhire (I was in the last class in August). Although I was only there a short time, in my opinion your observation of the Mgt vs APA relationship is right on. I'm currently in the SWA hired pool and I'm very happy I was furloughed by AAL quick enough to change ships. Good luck to you. Hope things work out better for you at AAL than they did for me.

Take Care,
TWA Dude,

Thanks for the post. A few comments from an AA furloughed pilot forever junior to you, if I may.

I agree with you that life isn't fair, heck I passed up interviewing with TWA since I had an AA interview and was hired somewhere else, but I ended up at AA due to family reasons. If I had got on with TWA maybe I'd still have a job, who knows. OK, sob story over.....

Your opinion of ALPA seems to echo what you are accusing APA of doing. I think it is the mgmt/union relationship (name a union that doesn't seem to be at war with mgmt, heck it's their job) that is your concern, not APA or ALPA. After all, unions try to stand up for their members, that's what they do. ALPA probably does not view TWA pilots as continuing members as they are soon to be APA members; hence ALPA needs to worry about their "other" members.

As far as seniority integration, I believe both sides think it is unfair. Allot of AA pilots wanted to staple all TWA pilots at the bottom and allot of TWA pilots wanted "date of hire" Both seem unreasonable to me. What APA and AA mgmt did seem to be the best compromise. Remember the old saying "A fair merger is when both sides are pissed off and think they got the shaft." However, as you so adeptly pointed out, this is not a merger, it is a buyout, and that is even more of a reason to say is fair.

As far as why AA bought TWA, I agree with you it was to counter the UAL/US Air deal. However, it was not to increase profits as you stated. How can buying a failed carrier increase profits? If TWA was profitable, you'd be correct, but it isn't. Hopefully for both of our sakes, the combined AA/TWA WILL BE profitable. Remember that AA bought TWA to counter UAL much as DAL would have had to do something along that line later to survive. AA could not get out of the deal after the UAL deal went bust, it was too far along.

Again, I thank you for your post and pray you do not join me on the unemployment line. It is unfortunate that APA did not get the combined list done sooner and that AA Mgmt could not wait for the list to be complete before the Nov furlough had to occur. That way, there would have been "one list" to cut from and there would not be the terrible reality for Mgmt to "correct out of seniority" furloughs. I'm sure you would agree that seniority needs to be the driving factor in furloughs and recalls.

Remember that I am like Magic, forever junior to you, but I do not have that other job to go to now.

Like you say life isn't fair, we just need to deal with it. I hope all TWA and AA pilots can bury the hatchet and get along. Life is too short for all the anger.

God Bless.
Ex Nav:

Thank you for the kind words and I know I speak for all TWA'ers that we wish you and all furloughees a speedy return.

If I may comment a bit more on the "why did AA buy us?" question. You stated that AA did NOT buy TWA to increase profits, but just as a defensive move. How can there NOT be a profit motive? What good are bragging rights for being the world's largest airline if it ain't profitable?

The reasons behind TWA's failure are too numerous to rehash, but consider that every financial analyst has agreed that the purchase was a good, if not a great move by AA. Why does only the APA disagree? As a result of the bankruptcy AA was able to go in and eliminate practially everything that prevented TWA from being profitable: high a/c leases, Icahn, IAM workrules, consumer confidence, and so on. STL is a weak O&D hub, but then so is CVG, MEM, and CLE. Yet they've been put to very good (read: profitable) use.

I can't predict the future, but I'll go out on the limb and say STL will be a very profitable boon for AA. The APA expects STL to be shrunk into oblivion. As in most things, the truth may just lay in-between. Does APA's integration plan account for all scenarios or just the worst case (for them)? I frankly don't know yet because it's AA/APA that are setting the final language AND interpretation. Not having any input means the TWA pilots will suffer at the whim of AA and APA, both individually and together.

On a final note I can settle the whole merger vs. acquisition debate. AA acquired TWA and it's employees are being merged. So it's both an acquisition AND a merger.

TWA Dude,

I agree with the "increase profits" logic pre Sept 11. After that everything changed (the understatement of the year).

Countless AA employees those who were about to be laid off and those who were left to carry on, asked Mgmt the question "Why are we buying anything when we are bleeding $ and need to stop the hemorrhage? Seems like we should turn off the TWA deal just like we are turning off aircraft purchases, building renovations, heck, even buying paper." Again, the answer was "The deal is too far down the line to stop." Remember the first word was 20,000 employees were gone, I think the final number was 16,000-18,000. Folks just did not understand the logic in continuing.

My only point is the deal went forward after AA was admitatently "fighting for it's very survival" and probably still is for all I know. It only seems logical to me that if you are fighting for your life, why do you take on more burdens if you don't need to. After all, if AA dies then TWA dies a second death, right?

I hope STL is a great hub. I really don't think that APA wants to see it die. More jobs are good.

There is allot of misinformation on both APA and ALPA sides. TWA pilots’ not having input is one of them. Again, reread my last post. Please do not confuse "not liking the final decision" with "not having any input" Perhaps another is that APA does not want to explain the logic to the TWA pilots. I got an email today that restates APA's desire to brief but it is ignored for some reason. Again, I say we need to get over this as everyone in our great country is in the same boat with the economy post 9-11. We need to look for the positive things, create opportunity, and lift each other up as a nation and not look to tear things down. We all suffer and will be lifted up together.

Finally, I agree with your logic on the whole merger vs. acquisition debate. Thanks for your post and for the info on the profitability of TWA. Hopefully those items now being gone will allow the combined AA TWA to be the best in the industry.

I hope to join you soon.
Ex Nav:

I fully understand that in the wake of 9/11 AMR employees want to see uneeded excesses disposed. Capital expenditures like facilities improvements are on hold. But TWA has already been purchased. And unlike laying new carpeting in terminals, TWA actually generates revenue. To divest TWA would actually cost AMR far more money than completing what they started. Putting it simply, I believe TWA LLC is paying for itself. By all means show me numbers to prove me wrong. I don't have access to such numbers myself.

Unions always have and always will comment on the business decisions of their employer. Has a pilot's union EVER said "yippee, we're merging with another airline"? Of course y'all didn't want AA to buy TWA. Likewise we'd have preferred to go it alone. But business leaders made a business decision. Surely you've heard the expression, "I don't try to run your company so don't you try to fly my airplane." AA might have made a mistake in buying TWA, or maybe not. So when an AA employee says in the wake of 9/11 TWA should be dumped it's not business talking, it's personal. Don't you think that if dumping TWA were the financially sound thing to do Carty would've done it? Do you really have any choice other than to trust management in this case? I'm no management butt-kisser; I'm just tying to point out the hypocrisy of AA'ers wanting to dump TWA in the interest of saving money.

Regarding the issue of TWA ALPA input into the APA integration solution, allow me to clarify. Our respective merger committees met numerous time and exchanged ideas. However, in the wake of our MEC's rejection of the final offer (yes, I know it was a conditional acceptance, but our MEC told us they knew the conditions would be rejected) APA is free to negotiate with AA as it sees fit, with no further input from TWA.

You're absolutely right about disinformation. We still don't have the whole story and our reps are still fighting amongst themselves. But at the same time I ask that you not assume everything you hear from Darrah is completely accurate. I'm not accusing anyone of lying, just pointing out that there are usually numerous interpretions of contentious events. Union leaders are like politicians in that they pander to their audience.

Thanks for listening and I wish you back soon.

This is the type of banter that appears to me to be constructive. You two seem to be able to keep a level head and talk from your sides in a constructive way.
I am a TWA pilot, furloughed on December 2. I am stapled and furloughed, and to be honest, rightfully so. I was on the bottom of TWA and should be on the bottom of AAL as of April 10 or whatever. I have no bones about it. I don't think the legislation has a snowball's chance and I really don't give a "doody". My union had me stapled from the beginning. I don't like the fact that I will not have a job but in this situation, it the fairest thing to do. I have never been in a union before TWA so I not quite familiar with them. It would seem to me to be a just a cross section of anything political. By this, I mean, I don't really believe everything "my camp" says to me. I don't really believe everything that the "enemy camp" says to me. A lot of what these guys say seems very self serving.
I want it all to be over with, and get back to flying and having fun. That is all I want to do. Fly, have fun, do a good job, and go home to the wife and little one. I think trying other avenues of legislation is like saying "Look, I found ANOTHER stick that I can throw at that hornet's nest." I personally feel that the guys that are trying the hardest have the most to lose so I guess I can see where they are coming from (sort of), like guys that have been around for eight to ten years and are being stapled. BUT, I could see where the more sticks that are thrown at the hornets nest just end up hurting the guys like me at the bottom. I will be an F/O (when recalled) with the AAL captains. I don't want to forever have the label of being one of "those TWA guys who tried to sue". I have seen on PB message boards where guys have said that any TWA f/o will not get to fly, ever, and will only work the radio and gear. I don't need that. Life is too short, and that is not a safe environment.
Throughout all of this, I have tried to keep a level head, like the above to posters. I try to take what both unions say with a few grains of salt. I usually don't take things personal (except when a few said I was only hired at TWA 'cause I wasn't good enough to get on anywhere else)
Lets just get the single seniority list, get the airline profitable again, recall all of us and go have a beer!!!

We all hope to have you back soon. I still don't understand the fences, but if you're lucky maybe you'll be recalled back to STL ;)

I was a regular on the Planebusiness boards and I even met Holly once on my 717 to MSY. The PBBs got nasty because some people couldn't check their emotions and resorted to name-calling. A Monday APA LAX rep update called us "selfish". More name-calling. It's a shame. I'll say that neither side's behavior can be characterized as particularly noble. But thankfully the hotheads are few and far in-between.

Take care, and I hope not to join you soon (I'm a 4/99 hire).

Strong rumor is that the 717s will be returned the lessor, TWAs PW 757/767 go and STL turned predominately into an east/west Am Eagle hub. Sure hope that's not right.

The issue is scope and keeping major airline jobs, major airline jobs.

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