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RJDC letter to DW

JoeMerchant

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August 25, 2005
Captain Duane Woerth, President
Air Line Pilots Association
1625 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC 20036-2212


VIA FAX AND CERTIFIED MAIL



Re: Resumption of Delta Mainline Bargaining

Dear Captain Woerth,

On August 19, 2005, Delta management formally notified ALPA of the company’s projected liquidity shortfall pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Bankruptcy Protection Letter. Both the company’s notice and the circumstances behind it are clear indications that another round of mainline bargaining may be imminent.

Consistent with our numerous letters concerning ALPA’s bargaining practices at Delta, we respectfully request that the Association ensure that it conduct itself in manner reflective of its duties to the ASA and Comair pilots. As evidenced by ALPA’s conduct at other carriers, the prospect of "crisis" bargaining at Delta increases the likelihood that ALPA’s mainline interests will seek to obtain provisions harmful to the ASA and Comair pilots or otherwise use our interests to create negotiating capital.

Of special concern is the possibility that ALPA’s arbitrary restrictions on the number of 70-seat aircraft Delta Connection may operate could result in significant job losses at ASA and Comair. As we wrote the Association prior to the last round of Delta bargaining, the 70-seat markets hold the key to ASA and Comair’s future. Should Delta elect to realign its small jet fleets by eliminating older RJ-50’s, then job losses and furloughs could be a direct consequence of ALPA’s arbitrary restrictions if ASA and Comair are not "permitted" by ALPA to replace their aging fleets with new market appropriate aircraft.

In a constructive sense, the prospect of additional Delta bargaining affords the Association another opportunity to undo provisions in the Delta scope clause that have proven not merely counterproductive but also markedly unfair. As we first warned ALPA four years ago, small jet restrictions are inherently unfair, fundamentally flawed, and incapable of protecting "mainline" flying.

It is clear from ALPA’s experience at Delta that discriminating against selected airliners and their pilots serves no useful purpose and is the root cause of many of the Association’s problems. Once free of the distractions caused by these misguided and harmful provisions, the Association could better focus on securing credible contractual protections while upholding its duty to fairly represent all its member groups.

We ask, yet again, that ALPA remove all unfair and unwarranted small jet restrictions on its own accord and take steps to avoid harm to the ASA and Comair pilots. But notwithstanding the circumstances in which the changes might be made, ALPA’s duties to the ASA and Comair pilots require that the following elements in the Delta pilots’ scope clause be addressed:
  • Unilateral and arbitrary definition of "Permitted Aircraft Types"
  • Unilateral and arbitrary imposition of block hour ratios and limits.
  • Unilateral and arbitrary hub and route restrictions.
  • Unilateral and arbitrary restrictions on the operation of aircraft not carrying the Delta code.
  • Unilateral and arbitrary preconditions on the operation of additional 70-seat aircraft.
In the event that ALPA’s leaders believe that the sale of ASA to SkyWest lessens the union’s duties to the ASA pilots, we note that the Court has already ruled in our case that the union’s obligations to its members is not defined by the corporate structures. More so, should ASA or Comair be forced to pursue code-sharing relationships with other carriers, the harm that accrues to the ASA and Comair pilots may increase due to ALPA’s overlapping and incompatible small jet restrictions.

While ALPA’s duties to the ASA and Comair pilots should be reason enough to enact needed reforms, the added prospect of another organizing drive at SkyWest should give ALPA further incentive to change its ways. As evidenced by the requests made by ALPA’s own organizers to the RJ Defense Coalition, ALPA’s predatory scope practices constituted a major factor in ALPA’s unsuccessful organizing drives at Chicago Express and CommutAir.

Likewise, a more recent attempt to start an in-house union at SkyWest was overwhelmingly rejected by the SkyWest pilots once ALPA’s behind-the-scenes role in the effort became known. The fact that the ASA and Comair pilots have been forced to take legal action against ALPA will remain a prominent issue in any future SkyWest organizing campaign as long as ALPA’s conduct remains unchanged.

Therefore, in light of the fact that ALPA’s small jet restrictions constitute a serious breach of the union’s duty of fair representation and continue to prove harmful to all ALPA’s members, we again request that our concerns be addressed without delay.

As always, feel free to contact us directly or through counsel should you have any further questions.

Sincerely,
/S/ /S/
Captain Kenneth Cooksey Captain Daniel Ford
Atlantic Southeast Airlines Comair Airlines


cc: Executive Council
ASA MEC
Comair MEC
Delta MEC

Michael S. Haber Esq.


1. Ref. our letters dated February 26, 2004, July 3, 2004, September 24, 2004, October 17, 2004, February 19, 2005
2. Ref. the unilateral imposition of "Jets-for-Jobs" and "Slotted Bidding" at USAirways, ALPA’s "NWA70" proposal and the mandatory outsourcing of small jets at Northwest, and ALPA’s boast at Northwest that it received a $15-million dollar bargaining credit for "allowing" the operation of more small jets.
3. Pilot job losses caused by small jet restrictions are not analogous to the mainline furloughs; the distinction being the absence of any restrictions on the number of new Boeing or Airbus aircraft ALPA’s "mainline" carriers may acquire.
4.Ref. August 14, 2001 submission to ALPA’s Bilateral Scope Impact Committee.
5. ALPA’s organizers at Chicago Express quoted extensively from the RJDC’s publications, thus confirming the existence of serious doubts about ALPA’s conduct directed toward its own members.
6. In defense of its actions at Delta, ALPA’s attorneys have argued that its mainline interests can impose whatever small jet restrictions they so please. Such arguments raise serious questions concerning the sincerity of ALPA’s overtures directed at the SkyWest pilots.

 
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Dave Benjamin

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JoeMerchant said:

Likewise, a more recent attempt to start an in-house union at SkyWest was overwhelmingly rejected by the SkyWest pilots once ALPA’s behind-the-scenes role in the effort became known. The fact that the ASA and Comair pilots have been forced to take legal action against ALPA will remain a prominent issue in any future SkyWest organizing campaign as long as ALPA’s conduct remains unchanged.

6. In defense of its actions at Delta, ALPA’s attorneys have argued that its mainline interests can impose whatever small jet restrictions they so please. Such arguments raise serious questions concerning the sincerity of ALPA’s overtures directed at the SkyWest pilots.

ROTFLMAO

Many people that I know at SKYW opposed the idea of an in-house because it lacked the resources that ALPA offers. According to NMB published data the ALPA drive in 1999 only missed by a few votes whereas the in-house drive lost by a substantial margin.

The RJDC might gain a bit more credibility if it stuck to the facts rather than irresponsible speculation.

I think ALPA has a responsibility to try and get as many furloughed pilots back in the cockpit. If mainline pilots can economically operate SJ's then ALPA should try and put those pilots back to work. The notion of SJ's "belonging" to the regionals seems like scope in reverse.
 

BenderGonzales

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Woerth's Response to Cap'n Ford

August 25, 2005

Re: My recent change of heart

Dear Captains Ford and Cooksey,

I am in receipt of your letter dated August 25th, 2005 and have discussed the contents of this letter with the Executive Board and the Delta MEC.

After a good deal of discussion and some soul searching I find myself in the unenviable position of having to apologize to you and to your pilot group.
It is clear to me now that scope-language - specifically language governing the following - is violently destructive to the career expectations of ALPA's regional-airline members.
  • "Permitted Aircraft Types"
  • block hour ratios and limits.
  • hub and route restrictions.
  • operation of aircraft not carrying the Delta code.
  • operation of additional 70-seat aircraft.
Effective immediately the association will send letters to each of the Legacy Airline management teams releasing them from their obligations under scope.

ALPA EF&A has advised the executive council that we can expect the following response from the Legacy Airlines in the united states:

Regarding permitted aircraft types: With exempt aircraft types removed from scope-language we expect that existing and future portfolio arrangements will be expanded to include the outsourcing of any and all narrow and widebody aircraft. Republic Airlines has already responded by placing an order for 75 Boeing 787s through its Wexford unit.

Block Hour Ratios and Limits: Total hours of outsourced flying will no longer be based upon percentages of total mainline block-hours. ALPA anticipates that Legacy Airline managers will park their existing domestic fleets over a period of 12 months. After this time the "Legacy" carrier will act as a ticket broker providing lift through the use of multple code-shares.

Hub and Route Restrictions: All restrictions will be lifted and unlimited hub-to-hub flying will be permitted by contractors. Legacy airline management may adjust aircraft size and city-pair frequency as necessary to accomodate marketing. Additional carriers may be added to the portfolio and additional RFPs announced to support the transfer of all flying from Delta to affiliates.

Operation of aircraft not carrying the Delta code: Since technically Delta Airlines will no longer exist, you will be exempt from this requirement as well. All aircraft providers will be required to "bid" for flying for each of the network ticket brokerages. (formerly American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways, Northwest, etc.)

As an act of good faith ALPA will also remove the following traditional scope-language from all PWA's nationwide:

"All flying performed by XYZ Airlines will be performed by pilots on the XYZ airlines system seniority list except..."

Since contracts will no longer define the scope of work to be performed, the contracts themselves will be eliminated over the next 12 months as well.

ALPA will be disbanded over that period and will restructure as a retail-food outlet specializing in fried chicken.

It is clear from our experience at Delta that discriminating against selected airliners and their pilots has served no useful purpose and has been the root cause of many of the Association’s problems. Once free of scope-language ALPA will have no further reason to exist as a pilots association.

As always, feel free to contact the association directly or through your elected leadership should you suddenly find that you are able to extract your head from your rectum.



Love and kisses,



Captain Duane Woerth, President
Air Line Pilots Association
1625 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC 20036-2212
 
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pianoman

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While I understand some are frustrated with scope, I don't think the solution is to drag ever-larger airframes down into regional Z-scale land. If someone would prove they could attain pay scales with more than a $5-10/hr override for 70-seaters maybe I'd be more on board with this.

Hmm.... let's GROW the majors so we can go there one day instead of being stuck at the kiddie table for life.


My 2 cents.
 

FlyComAirJets

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What a shame that painoman and the Bens hold themselves in such low regard and have such contempt for their jobs.
 

michael707767

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FlyComAirJets said:
What a shame that painoman and the Bens hold themselves in such low regard and have such contempt for their jobs.


I think its just the opposite. You are the one who holds yourself in low regard. Why would you be willing to fly a mainline jet for less than the mainline pilots? Cause thats the only way outsourcing makes sense.
 

FlyComAirJets

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Never ever said that I was willing to fly mainline jets for less than mainline rates. Will even go farther and say that I STILL would not do it if offered, that's your job. So you keep your grimey hands off my RJ, and I wont go after your Boeings. How's that for a deal?
 

BenderGonzales

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Now when you say that you won't go after my Boeing...

...does that also mean that you won't go after any Brazilian or perhaps Canadian airplanes that carry just as many people as my Boeing?

I mean... gosh... some of these Brazilian and Canadian airplanes not only carry the same number of people as my Boeing, but they also go just as fast and just as high...

I just want to be perfectly clear what i'm agreeing to here...
 

JoeMerchant

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michael707767 said:
I think its just the opposite. You are the one who holds yourself in low regard. Why would you be willing to fly a mainline jet for less than the mainline pilots? Cause thats the only way outsourcing makes sense.

Michael,
I will bet you that mainline pilot's will soon underbid the CMR and Horizon rate to fly the 70 seater jets. In fact, the USAirways pilot's already have. Tell you what, if you don't underbid me on 70 seaters, I won't underbid you on 100+ seaters. If you do continue along the MidAtlantic underbid path, then I will do what is best for me.

Joe
 

JoeMerchant

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FlyComAirJets said:
Never ever said that I was willing to fly mainline jets for less than mainline rates. Will even go farther and say that I STILL would not do it if offered, that's your job. So you keep your grimey hands off my RJ, and I wont go after your Boeings. How's that for a deal?

Well said! The USAirways pilots underbid most regional pilots on the E170s at MidAtlantic. My what a tangled web ALPA has woven!

Joe
 

SlapShot

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Granted I do not know anything about the RJDC or whatever the hell it is. But I am guessing it has to do with ALPA representing Delta, Comair, and ASA.

If pilots are so unhappy with their union representation, why doesn't some regional start a new union? Something like a Regional Airline Pilots Association (RAPA)? Then they would only have the interests of the regionals in mind when contracts are negotiated. They would pay more attention to the current situations at the various regional airlines and therefore would be able to do a MUCH better job representing them.

I know I am not that smart so someone else must have thought about this before, I just wonder why we have never seen anything like this
 

FlyingDawg

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With the sale of ASA how does that effect the RJDC deal? I would guess it gets somewhat waterdown.
 

scopeCMRandASA

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SlapShot said:
Granted I do not know anything about the RJDC or whatever the hell it is. But I am guessing it has to do with ALPA representing Delta, Comair, and ASA.

If pilots are so unhappy with their union representation, why doesn't some regional start a new union? Something like a Regional Airline Pilots Association (RAPA)? Then they would only have the interests of the regionals in mind when contracts are negotiated. They would pay more attention to the current situations at the various regional airlines and therefore would be able to do a MUCH better job representing them.

I know I am not that smart so someone else must have thought about this before, I just wonder why we have never seen anything like this

They won't leave because they think they can sue their way to a more lucrative career with larger jets. Pretty soon you will see finny, or surplus on here pounding their fist on their keyboard saying that they are good enough to fly these jets too, and darn it, ALPA needs to represent them as well. Believe me when I say that these people feel slighted, they are mad about it, and they want to get "even" with those mainline pilots who dare suggest that they are not as good of pilots. If you look past their hoopla, however, the facts of where the growth has been, who has taken the largest pay cuts, etc, you will see that it is the Delta pilots who might be in a position to sue over misrepresentation. Anyway, make no mistake about it, the FCJ guys is the perfect example. Although he hints that he will do the right thing and refuse larger a/c for less pay, the truth is that he would do it in a heartbeat. They all would. They are not what you would call "big picture" people. A any rate, I am


Glad to be gone
 

michael707767

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JoeMerchant said:
Michael,
I will bet you that mainline pilot's will soon underbid the CMR and Horizon rate to fly the 70 seater jets. In fact, the USAirways pilot's already have. Tell you what, if you don't underbid me on 70 seaters, I won't underbid you on 100+ seaters. If you do continue along the MidAtlantic underbid path, then I will do what is best for me.

Joe



Hmm, I'll take that bet. Here at Delta at least, I think the 70 seates are gone to us, no matter how cheaply we offered to fly them. So I don't think we will even try. In the end I think our mainline pay will be so low, they can effectively fly larger airplanes anyway. As far as USAir goes, I agree with you. I think its shameful what they did there, and frankly brought us all down.
Michael
 

~~~^~~~

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scopeCMRandASA said:
If you look past their hoopla, however, the facts of where the growth has been, who has taken the largest pay cuts, etc, you will see that it is the Delta pilots who might be in a position to sue over misrepresentation.

They all would. They are not what you would call "big picture" people. A any rate, I am

Glad to be gone
You are correct, the mainline pilots have been hurt the most as a result of ALPA's misrepresentation. It amazes me that the junior mainline guys do not support what the RJDC has been trying to achieve. However, their MEC lies to them and like sheep they bleat and walk closer to the cliffs.

The big picture is that a company's flying must be locked to pilots on that company's seniority list. Alter ego outsourcing is bad, period.

But, if a major MEC wants to outsource flying that it does not want to perform, then it should take its hands off - allowing the regional pilots to lock in scope with the entity that has operational control over the code.

The major pilots are going to get swallowed up by the flying they have outsourced. The CRJ700 and E170 are already being flown by mainline pilots at sub standard wages. They are in direct competition with the same pilots their MEC's allowed the flying to be bid out to.

The only way to restore this industry is for the union to deactivate the remote control box installed in the RJ's by the mainline MEC's. If the regional guys could negotiate, with the same level of representation we would be in a position to force a win / win on this level of flying.

A level playing field raises all of our game. I don't care of the level field is all "Delta flying is performed by Delta pilots," or the "Delta MEC has no right to control flying it does not perform." Either way pilots will be able to glue the company to their services and that glue is what raises the profession.

~~~^~~~
 

~~~^~~~

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FlyingDawg said:
With the sale of ASA how does that effect the RJDC deal? I would guess it gets somewhat waterdown.
Actually no. If you want this in order of occurrence:
1. ALPA wants to represent the SkyWest pilots. Why would SkyWest pilots vote for ALPA representation when they can see that ALPA misrepresented the ASA pilots?
2. The RJDC litigation was filed to protect contract 96 scope. In case you don't have a copy handy, ASA was operating 105 seat jets and had rights to unlimited 70 seaters. The E170 / 190 would be an idea airframe under CY96 scope.
3. The base premise of the RJDC litigation is that ALPA should return to its old school ways of binding a company to its employees. Allowing pilots equal representation would provide the tools to stop alter ego whipsaw. Once alter ego whipsaw disappears there is much less incentive for airlines to operate their alter ego carriers. This is a good thing. Let me give you and example where ALPA actually did the right thing.

At Mesa, they tried to run three certificates with three different pilot groups - Mesa, CC Air and Freedom. The ideal was to create a non union and a sub standard carrier within a carrier. ALPA stopped it. We should care because stopping whipsaw on any level promotes the elevation of the profession - better working conditions and pay.

Look around the World. The nations with representative republics are good places to do business. Apartied societies ruled by despots generally are poor places to live and work.

The RJDC wants to end ALPA Apartied. I hope they do it before ALPA goes the way of South Africa.

~~~^~~~
 
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