RJDC sue ALPA

Rottweiller

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Air Line Pilots Association Faces Largest Lawsuit in its 70 Year History as over 250 Comair Pilots Request to Join First of Two Lawsuits to End Union’s Predatory Bargaining at Delta Air Lines.


August 5, Cincinnati — More than 250 Comair pilots have asked to join a pending lawsuit against their union, making it the largest lawsuit against the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in the union’s 70 year history.
The suit, captioned Ford v. Air Line Pilots Association, is the first of two planned lawsuits that are part of a grass-roots pilots’ movement to oppose ALPA’s efforts to restrict the growth and operation of Delta’s ALPA-represented subsidiaries, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and Comair. The Ford lawsuit seeks to end the union’s practice of allowing the Delta pilot leadership to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose restrictions on the size and routes of Delta’s subsidiaries. The restrictions are widely seen as threatening the jobs and careers of those whom the union is also legally obligated to protect.

The lawsuit is part of a growing firestorm of controversy sweeping the union’s ranks as a growing number of pilots organize to resist ALPA’s practice of “predatory bargaining” by which the union’s most powerful members use their labor contracts to restrict the use of the immensely popular small jets (a.k.a. “regional jets”) and to unfairly manipulate the employment opportunities they create.

Other pilot efforts opposing ALPA restrictions include a campaign by pilots at US Airways’ ALPA represented wholly owned subsidiaries, Allegheny, Piedmont, and PSA Airlines, to protest job losses in the wake of a new ALPA agreement at US Airways by picketing Tuesday at ALPA’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The controversial agreement, unilaterally negotiated by ALPA represented US Airways pilots, diverts hundreds of new aircraft, otherwise destined for the wholly owned carriers, to a new 'preferred' subsidiary staffed by US Airways pilots. The agreement also provides that Allegheny, Piedmont, and PSA may receive some new aircraft, but requires them to lay off their own pilots and replace them with US Airways pilots.

Captain Daniel Ford, president of the Regional Jet Defense Coalition and the lead plaintiff in the first lawsuit said, “The decision by the Comair pilots is proof we are prepared to utilize every lawful means to prevent ALPA and the Delta pilot leadership from using the jobs and careers of the ASA and Comair pilots as bargaining capital to secure their contractual objectives.” Referring to the more than 250 new prospective plaintiffs in the lawsuit, he said, “This sends a powerful message that we will not sit back and allow ALPA to do to us what they have done to our fellow pilots at US Airways wholly owned subsidiaries. ALPA and the Delta pilot leadership must recognize that the union’s legal duty to the ASA and Comair pilots is a full time obligation that cannot be ignored whenever it is politically expedient.”

To put the magnitude of the litigation in perspective, the number of pilots involved is over six times the number of former PanAm pilots, represented by the same attorney, who successfully sued ALPA in 1992. Although the terms of the settlement agreement are sealed, it is widely believed that the litigation forced an economic restructuring of the union, including liquidation of assets and the sale of the union’s Washington D.C. headquarters building.

The objective of the litigation is to protect ALPA members from the international union’s harmful predatory bargaining and to compel the union to represent the ASA and Comair pilots fairly in the future. Shortly after the suit was first filed, the plaintiffs formally offered to waive all monetary damage claims if ALPA would agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration, but the union’s leadership refused.

Now that the first lawsuit is well on its way, the RJDC and legal counsel will begin final preparations on a similar suit to be brought by the ASA pilots. It is expected that hundreds of ASA pilots will shortly commence litigation against ALPA.

The RJ Defense Coalition is a non-profit advocacy organization formed by ASA and Comair pilots to assist them in compelling ALPA to represent all its members equally and without discrimination.
Contact Information:

RJ Defense Coalition
Web site: www.rjdefense.com
E-mail: inquiries@rjdefense.com
Captain Daniel Ford, RJDC President
Phone: (859) 816-4580
Captain Ken Cooksey, ASA RJDC Leadership
Phone: (404) 277-1628
 
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