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RJDC update...

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Senior Member
Nov 26, 2001
RJ Defense Coalition
2335 Buttermilk Crossing #220
Crescent Springs, KY 41017
Fax: 859.586.5397

Reply to: [email protected]

RJDC Update

February 2, 2002

Delta Management says Delta Connection will Exceed 2002 Scope Ratios - Asks for New Scope Negotiations.

On January 31st, the Delta MEC announced to its members that Delta’s management had formally notified the union that mainline cutbacks would cause Delta Connection to exceed the 2002 scope ratio limits in the Delta pilots’ working agreement. In response, the Delta MEC has filed a second "force majeure" grievance and rebuffed management’s request as "premature."

Since the current scope was first negotiated last July, the RJDC has emphatically stated it was mathematically impossible for Delta Connection to remain within the scope ratios unless radical, and harmful changes were made in the allocation of system flying or aircraft deliveries. Unfortunately for ALPA’s members, the union leadership chose to continue making misleading statements, which suggested that Delta’s plans were not in conflict with the scope clause.

In addition, management’s request for "consultations" per the Delta pilots’ contract should end speculation as to whether Delta Connection is adversely affected by the scope provisions. If management were exempted from the scope restrictions, or Delta Connection was relatively unaffected by its terms, there would be no need to assert the "force majeure" provisions or request modification of the restrictions.

Nevertheless, the potentially serious implications of management’s acknowledgement should not be overlooked. Given the extent and permanency of the mainline reductions, ALPA must renegotiate the restrictions or huge displacements in the allocation of system flying will have to occur in order to bring Delta Connection back into compliance with the scope provisions.

We have already informed ALPA that we view the scope ratios themselves as "back door" mandatory furlough provisions and the enforcement of such provisions or their unilateral renegotiation would constitute yet another serious breach in ALPA’s legal and fiduciary obligations to the ASA and Comair pilots. Clearly, ALPA’s legal obligations prohibit the Delta MEC from using the flying, aircraft, or careers of the Connection pilots as bargaining capital in their pursuit of other contractual objectives. Any discussions or negotiations with management concerning scope must be consistent with ALPA’s legal obligations to all its members.

ASA to Hire Furloughed Delta Employees. Decision Raises Many Questions.

Last week, Delta informed its furloughed employees that ASA has waived its long-standing policy that required potential employees to resign their current seniority before they would be considered for employment at ASA. The apparent decision by ASA management to hire furloughed Delta pilots raises many tough questions that ALPA must answer before any Delta pilots are "hired" by Delta’s subsidiaries.

Because of the multitude of legal and contractual issues raised, we will publish a special bulletin that will address this important subject in detail. It will be e-mailed and posted in the crew rooms later on this week.

Dialogue between ALPA and Plaintiffs Continue

Since our last update, there has been a steady, constructive dialogue between attorneys in an effort to establish a process by which the parties may resolve the core dispute at the heart of the litigation. In order to promote candor and serious discussions, it is customary that the specific details of the dialogue be kept confidential and whatever is said or proposed during the process be excluded from litigation should the attempt to resolve the dispute fail.

US Airways MEC Openly Whipsaws US Airways Express Carriers

While ALPA vilifies managements for pitting one group of employees against another, the US Airways MEC has decided that such conduct is appropriate when necessary to serve its own political interests. As the US Airways MEC stated in a message to the mainline pilots, they are in direct negotiations with the Trans-States MEC concerning flying additional US Airways RJs on condition that mainline pilots are given special employment rights and super seniority. The MEC’s also stated that the wholly-owned MEC’s have expressed a desire to pursue similar negotiations under the US Airways MEC protocol, and that the US Airways MEC is continuing to reach out to pilot groups at other carriers as well.

There is no question that the US Airways pilots are using their bargaining powers to hold the proverbial gun to the heads of Express pilots. ALPA’s own scope proposals would force the phase out of the wholly owned carriers should their pilots refuse to grant super seniority rights to the mainline pilots by making special mainline employment rights a precondition of any code sharing agreement. Such mainline negotiations are in total violation of ALPA’s legal and moral obligations to protect and promote the interests of the Allegheny, Piedmont and PSA pilots.

Unaffected by Mainline Scope?

As we go to press, American Eagle’s management has informed their employees that due to the inability to secure relief from mainline’s available seat mile (ASM) cap, which was triggered by mainline furloughs, Eagle will be forced to make radical changes to remain in compliance with the current scope limits. Such changes include, removing seats from their aircraft, accelerating turboprop retirements, dropping routes, and closing stations. If relief is not forthcoming soon, the company says its next step could be the sale of assets and operating units.

Lessons from Failed APA Scope Proposal

On January 24th, the management of American Airlines rejected the APA’s proposal to divert future Eagle RJ deliveries to mainline. While the APA leadership blames management for the failure of the proposal, it’s obvious that APA’s past scope decisions have created a low-cost American subsidiary that management is not willing to give up.

Conspicuously absent in the APA’s press release and subsequent publications was any commentary on the importance of forging a common pilot group and why the Eagle pilots should be treated as American pilots. Instead, the APA choose to focus on Eagle’s aircraft and how Eagle’s operations would be less affected by the current scope restrictions under the terms of the APA proposal. This lends credibility to the notion that the APA’s proposal was little more than the annexation of Eagle’s growth aircraft and not the end of RJ restrictions or a call for a merger of the pilot respective groups.

On the positive side, the APA proposal is a tacit admission that there is no such thing as a "regional" airliner and the fundamental precepts on which all mainline scope clauses are based fails to protect "mainline" flying. Both APA and ALPA will have to recognize that their own scope policies have aided in the creation of management’s new low-cost subsidiaries. Any union proposals aimed at addressing the "small jet" problem must reflect the hard economic facts and, more importantly, must focus on the pilots the union is obligated to represent, and not the aircraft the union wishes to control.

E-mail Distribution

Since the primary mission of the RJDC is to engage in public advocacy on behalf of those pilots adversely affected by ill-conceived and improperly negotiated scope clauses, we encourage all our readers to print, post, or forward our materials to other interested parties. If you are not on the RJDC's mailing list, we invite both friend and foe to sign up. As always, our mailing list is strictly confidential and is without obligation. To join our list, just e-mail us at [email protected] and say "add me to the list." Of course, we would welcome any background information you wish to provide, but that is strictly voluntary.


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