Holly Get's It Right!

AutoBus

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Which brings us to the continuing dysfunctional pilot group situation at US Airways.

As most of you are aware, the mess with the pilots at US Airways began after the majority of the pilot group that came from US Airways refused to go along with the seniority decision that an ALPA arbitrator issued. The pilots who had worked for America West had no problem with the decision.

As I have written here in the past, it was at this point that the national ALPA leadership failed. Instead of telling the pilots who had come from US Airways that the process dictated in the ALPA rules and regulations had been followed, and that was the end of it, ALPA national allowed the leadership at the pilot group at US Airways a "foot in the door" so to speak concerning the way in which the list was determined. And that led to the end of... ALPA.

The pilot group from the old US Airways, which we now refer to as the US Airways East group decided that ALPA had to go. Apparently, someone came to the conclusion that this would be a good way to "avoid" the arbitration decision.

Not particularly bright thinking.

So this group, which outnumbers the old America West or US Airways West pilot group, by a significant margin, voted in a new "independent" union last spring, the U.S. Airline Pilots Association. USAPA for short.

Now what?

Well, all this sound and fury created pretty much nothing. At least nothing positive.

The US Airways West pilots essentially decided to band together and not pay dues to the new independent union, and the USAPA union continued to push for a new seniority list, while as far as the US Airways West pilots are concerned, there is a seniority list.

A lot of rhetoric. A lot of legal bills. A lot of name calling. But no progress on what is really important -- a new contract.

Remember that the company is officially pretty hamstrung on all this. It can't show favoritism to either group. But on the other hand -- it continues to save money because the US Airways East pilot group is still being paid the same lower wages they were being paid when the takeover of US Airways by America West took place. Why? Because there is no new contract. Why? Because the US Airways East pilots refused to accept anything less than a straight date-of-hire seniority agreement.

However, having said that the company is "officially" hamstrung, there are those on the US Airways West side who wonder whether things might not have gotten to this point if Doug Parker, US Airways CEO, had taken a stronger stance with both groups earlier on. You know, had one of those Herb-type "Come to Jesus" meetings with union leaders from both camps.

I can understand the argument, but with this situation, I doubt it would have made a difference.

To make all of this even more ludicrous, consider the new ALPA seniority agreement between the pilots at Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines. Essentially, it is based on the exact same guidelines that were used in the original US Airways arbitration decision. It is also what is termed a "ratio" list -- not one based solely on date of hire.

Taking a quote from a Leonidas update, "Not much else can be said other than that there was arbitration, that the arbitration was carried out in the exact same manner as every other arbitration in the past, and that both parties participated in the arbitration process fully, and without objection. Furthermore, it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that an arbitrator who had twice before combined pilot lists using a ratio formula would likely do it again in this case -- especially in light of the disparate condition of the airlines being merged."

As I told Delta Air Lines ALPA MEC Chairman Lee Moak in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, "Your job was made a lot easier because of what happened with US Airways."

And it was. ALPA was not going to let the same disaster happen again.

Now you have been brought up to date. Almost.

I mentioned the name Leonidas. That is the name of the LLC, comprised of US Airways West pilots, that was formed for the purpose of litigtion against USAPA. You can access their website here. On the website you will see a list of Leonidas objectives that were posted on March 15. Those pretty much sum it all up.

What is the point of this lawsuit? The US Airways West pilot group is seeking a single collective bargaining agreement that implements the original Nicolau ALPA seniority list. That is the main objective.

There is also the messy issue of US Airways furloughing US Airways West pilots and not US Airways East pilots. This is a side effect of the airline still having to operate the airline with two separate pilot groups. Because there have been more capacity cuts in the West, this has meant that more US Airways West pilots are in line to be furloughed.

I won't get into the finer points of this -- just suffice to say that if the original seniority list was accepted, this would all take care of itself.

As I said, this case has continued to move forward through the court system, and as of now, it looks like the case will go to court the last week of April. April 28 to be exact. The pre-trial conference is now set for the 17th. It will be a jury trial.

I said here last week that even if the US Airways West pilots win I was not sure how that would change things that much in the short term -- because I would anticipate an appeal on the part of the USAPA group.

But this week, I was told by one source that's close to the case that if USAPA loses the case --while they could appeal -- it would have to be on a matter of procedure. Because it is a Federal civil jury trial, an appeal based on the merits of the case would not be allowed.

While that may be true, there is still the issue of just what will happen if the court rules in favor of the US Airways West pilot group. And yes, I think that is what is going to happen. Then what? I really doubt that the folks over at the US Airways East camp are going to come over, smoke a peace pipe, and everybody will then sing around the campfire in perfect harmony.

Meanwhile, there is apparently political disharmony in the USAPA camp, from what we understand. It appears that USAPA's own appeal board just ruled that the recent election for union officers was illegal because a US Airways West pilot was precluded from running.

Got that? Another brilliant stroke of genius.

I know. It would make a great book. All of it.

Now it is apparently up to the USAPA board to determine what they will do. If they do not re-run the election, a source told us this week that the Department of Labor will be getting involved. Either way, it would appear that a new election of USAPA officers will not take place until after the trial is over.

A change in control at the top of USAPA could mean a change to a leadership that perhaps has its priorities more attuned with getting a new contract. And not arguing over a decision that should have been accepted when it was made.

I told you it was a mess.

I applaud the US Airways West pilot group for fighting this. They have been very up front about the fact that they are accepting no help from ALPA, the airline or anyone else -- except US Airways West pilots and friends of the effort.

I think that perhaps some of their other pilot friends might want to take a look at what they are doing -- in terms of trying to maintain the integrity of union merger rules and procedures. These guys should not have to be fighting this battle on their own.


-----------------------------



 

Whine Lover

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Management loves it.

No unity, constant infighting, no real union, no end in sight for a new (more expensive) contract, and in the meantime they enjoy the luxury of paying a large percentage of their pilot labor force (East) a pittance of a wage to continue flying their airplanes.

Perfect.

YKW
 

Raoul Duke

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And all within the control of USAPA to end it, they can admit the fact that they lost, accept it and move forward. Will they? Of course not, they are too busy defending idiots that shoot their guns on the flight deck.
 

Cowboy75

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> O
This group was disfunctional before US Airways stained the building headquatered in Tempe. Former America West employees are now the target of their discontent.
 

get2flyin

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It's not even worth laboring this anymore...

We don't agree on what happened. We don't agree on what's happening now. We won't agree on what should happen next.

It's in the courts hands. They're going to decide for us because we can't seem to handle it internally. What a colossal waste of money for EVERYONE involved, East and West.
 

AutoBus

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enough
It's not even worth laboring this anymore...

We don't agree on what happened. We don't agree on what's happening now. We won't agree on what should happen next.

It's in the courts hands. They're going to decide for us because we can't seem to handle it internally. What a colossal waste of money for EVERYONE involved, East and West.
Actually, we have been down this path before and it went to BINDING Arbitration, it seems some don't understanding what binding means.
 

FDJ2

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Management loves it.

No unity, .......
To be fair to the West pilots, how can there be unity when a larger pilot group decides to mug a smaller pilot group?

Until the east pilots honor their commitments there will be no unity at LCC.

But then again USAPA has never been about unity or being a union that represents all USAirways pilots. USAPA was spawned late at night, in the back of a van, with the goal of using mob rule to unilaterally abrogate a binding arbitrators award. Unity and representation was never really a goal. USAPA is not a union, it's a mob.
 
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FDJ2

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"As I told Delta Air Lines ALPA MEC Chairman Lee Moak in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, "Your job was made a lot easier because of what happened with US Airways."

And it was. ALPA was not going to let the same disaster happen again."

Actually, the Delta and NWA MEC's were not going to let the same thing happen again. ALPA's role in both mergers is as it should be, as a nuetral.

You are correct that after the award was published ALPA should have been more decisive and defended the award earlier, rather the later.
 

RedRum

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One particular area of concern that is not being address is the lack of leadership at ALPA!

Where was Prater during all of this mess? Where was Prater during the DAL/NWA merger? Answer: NOWHERE! ALPA is an abomination of a union (excuse me, association) If Prater had any balls he would have declared a PID and gone ahead and handled everything IN HOUSE. Instead, he took the easy road, pilots were accessed through the ying yang for lawyers who are now vacationing on some beach in the Bahamas.

Now what we have here in Delta land ar e a bunch of disenfranchised pilots who refuse to pay their union dues because they have had enough of the poor leadership and fancy dinners and drinking on our dime.

ALPA is incredibly inept and I can't wait to see the day we get our own UNION here at Delta.
 

RedRum

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ALPA's role in both mergers is as it should be, as a nuetral.
I completely disagree with this statement.

Why does ALPA have merger policy if they are going to remain a neutral third party? ALPA no longer has the fortitude to handle these sorts of things, so a pilot group would be much better served forming their own union. This way we avoid any conflicts of interest that seem to be so prevalent these days. One group goes to their corner, the other to theirs and we don't have any false misconceptions that ALPA will do the right thing.
 

get2flyin

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Why does ALPA have merger policy if they are going to remain a neutral third party? ALPA no longer has the fortitude to handle these sorts of things, so a pilot group would be much better served forming their own union. This way we avoid any conflicts of interest that seem to be so prevalent these days. One group goes to their corner, the other to theirs and we don't have any false misconceptions that ALPA will do the right thing.
But you see, that's the point. ALPA should remain a neutral third party because they have a merger policy. The policy should set the ground rules for how the merger should be accomplished but why in the hell should the ALPA leadership decide who is entitled to what?

I don't trust anyone at the top of that organization because the all have their own agendas. Take that MORON Prater. He's a pilot in the sunset of his career who's shown his desire to pursue things that benefit older pilots. Take ALPA's position on age 60. It didn't take long for Prater to have that changed. At as far as the USAir/AWA merger, after Nic came out with his decision, Prater met his obligation to stop the process to investigate the East's allegation of improprieties. But, after they found none he failed in his obligation to submit it to the company. Instead, he went to AWA and told them they needed to use the Nic as a starting position because, as a guy with a lot of years of seniority, he's a DOH supporter. What's the point of any ALPA policy if some agent of organization feels he has the right to change it to meet his "own" definition of reasonable at that particular time?
 

TWA Dude

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ALPA is incredibly inept and I can't wait to see the day we get our own UNION here at Delta.
And then everything will be hunky-dory? Hasn't the USAPA lesson taught you anything?

How many times must it be said: everyone likes their union when economic times are good. When times are bad everyone expects their union to magically fix everything and when that inevitably doesn't happen the union gets the blame.

ALPA ain't great but it's the best of what there is. I've been with IBT, ALPA at three carriers, APA, and now USAPA. I think that qualifies me to say something about the debate.
 

FDJ2

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I completely disagree with this statement.

Why does ALPA have merger policy if they are going to remain a neutral third party?
ALPA can not favor one MEC over another, it has to be nuetral. There is a policy that governs seniority list integration. ALPA''s role is to enforce that policy, not to take sides. Once an integrated seniority list is either agreed to or awarded ALPA's job is to defend it.

To your earlier comments concerning the PID.

The DAL/NWA SLI did not get to a PID, which normally occurs around or after DCC, since both the DAL and NWA MECs achieved an SLI process agreement prior to DCC and therefore prior to a PID. ALPA's merger policy clearly states in its preamble that nothing in the policy will preclude two MEC's from forming an integrated seniority list outside the policy. Which is exactly what the DAL and NWA pilots agreed to when they voted in favor of the JCBA, 87% in favor at NWA I believe.

Our SLI process agreement provided for expedited arbitration, which is what the NWA MEC claimed it wanted. It had a three man panel, versus a one man panel and its goals were to achieve a fair and equitable list consistent with the goals outlined in ALPA's merger policy. Hardly a large divergence from ALPA policy.

Absent the SLI process agreement, we wouldn't have an integrated list today, we wouldn't have a JCBA today, with pay raises and equity for NWA pilots and the NWA pilots would have no equity and we'd just be starting the SLI process today. So tell me, what would have been gained by delaying the SLI a year just to have one arbitrator versus three?
 
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tomgoodman

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New clout

Now what we have here in Delta land ar e a bunch of disenfranchised pilots who refuse to pay their union dues because they have had enough of the poor leadership and fancy dinners and drinking on our dime.
Won't the combined DAL/NWA pilot group add up to a 500-pound gorilla in ALPA? A good housecleaning might be in order.
 

FDJ2

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But you see, that's the point. ALPA should remain a neutral third party because they have a merger policy. The policy should set the ground rules for how the merger should be accomplished but why in the hell should the ALPA leadership decide who is entitled to what?
BINGO!!!
 

RedRum

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But you see, that's the point. ALPA should remain a neutral third party because they have a merger policy. The policy should set the ground rules for how the merger should be accomplished but why in the hell should the ALPA leadership decide who is entitled to what?
Thanks for the comment. In theory, yes, ALPA should not be deciding which party to favor. We have a merger policy that allows for binding arbitration if both sides cannot come up with a negotiated settlement. (DAL / NWA) This was the end game from the start.

I agree with FDJ2 about the fact that we would not have our JPWA or the SLI delievered had we not agreed to binding arbitration. But here is the issue. If both pilot groups are going to go to binding arbitration and we cannot agree on a negotiated settlement, why have a friggin union? Why pay union dues?

I will gladly pay an assessment to pay for lawyers who will negotiate on my behalf. I am not trying to sound like one of those whiny bee atches at the teabagger party, all I am trying to say is I am tired of having my union dues syphoned away only to end up paying for more lawyers to do a job that ALPA cannot, and will not do.

We have a lot of talented volunteers here at ALPA that do good work. Take for instance the CIRP, Safety, and Security (if I left a few out, I apologize in advance) We could easily pool those resources with a pilot group of 12,000 pilots! I just can't be happy about the way our union dollar is working for us right now. Again, no leadership when it boils right down to it. A lot of guys on FPL who are greasing their skids and playing the political shell game.

I would say a group of 12,000 pilots is a darn good lobby. Even better, one set of goals and one agenda which includes furthering the careers of Delta Air Lines pilots. Period
 

FDJ2

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I agree with FDJ2 about the fact that we would not have our JPWA or the SLI delievered had we not agreed to binding arbitration. But here is the issue. If both pilot groups are going to go to binding arbitration and we cannot agree on a negotiated settlement, why have a friggin union? Why pay union dues? /quote]

Redrum, I think the issue here is what is the role of ALPA national and what is the role of each individual MEC. There are issues that are national in scope and there are issues that are best handled by each individual MEC. Just like it wasn't our responsibility at DAL or NWA to fund the AWA/AAA seniority arbitration, it's not CAL's or UAL's responsibility to fund ours or any follow on arbitration from the award.

We wouldn't want other MEC's, through national, dictating our negotiating goals and strategies when it comes to collective bargaining, similarly, we wouldn't want others dictating our strategies in constructing our SLI strategies.

Put another way, if it comes to determining whether or not a 777-300 is a replacement aircraft for a retiring 747, who do you want to make the determination on whether or not to fight for the 777 for fNWA pilots, ALPA national or a member of the fNWA merger committee?
 
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Whine Lover

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"To be fair to the West pilots, how can there be unity when a larger pilot group decides to mug a smaller pilot group?

Until the east pilots honor their commitments there will be no unity at LCC."

True Dat....And, each side has it's own argument.

Those arguments, valid or not, have NO merit in the overall scope of things.

Until the two warring groups can come together, on ANY sort of strategy, right or wrong, fair or not....MANAGEMENT WINS.

Simple.

However, as Human Beings, emotion and a sense of what is "right and wrong" always prevail over simple Logic.

I believe the time worn truism takes effect here: " Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face."

That'll show 'em who's Boss, eh?


YKMKR
 
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eaglesview

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I just can't get enough of this stuff. Why don't we start three or four more threads to discuss the exact same crap that has been discussed for about a year now!!
 

TWA Dude

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Why don't we start three or four more threads to discuss the exact same crap that has been discussed for about a year now!!
Lemme get this straight: you're complaining about excessive threads yet instead of simply ignoring them you feel the need to post on one. Real smart.
 
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