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West US Airways trying to be proactive

MK82Man

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Ladies and Gentlemen: A brief summary of how the West US Airways Pilots (America West) are trying to engage the East. We met with the East Reps in early February to try to get the Joint Contract Talks started again. The East walked away from the table last summer after the Nicolau Award was announced. Although the attempt to re-start Joint Negotiations failed, the West released one example of how we were trying to engage the East.

The merger continues to be a tremendous windfall for the East. How the East Pilots can leave this kind of money on the table and let management continue to win is beyond the West’s comprehension. And of course now they want to throw out the bargaining agent that puts them on the quickest path to this kind of a joint contract, ALPA, for the unknown USAPA. Has the East MEC released anything from the meeting to show how the West would benefit at the expense of the East?

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In preparation for our engagement with the East, the America West MEC Steering Committee (AMSC) consulted with several outside analysts and members of our merger and negotiating committees. In an attempt to formulate solutions that benefit all pilots, we spent some time collecting data that would aide us in making decisions. Specifically, we looked at the Pilot Earnings Models (PEM) used during the merger arbitration. We asked our consultants to run the PEM using the Nicolau Award, company provided fleet projections, change to age 60, and work-rule parity. By using these assumptions, the numbers showed that East pilots would receive a $443 million advantage in net career earnings versus $800,000 for the West pilots. An immediate implementation of the Nicolau Award would give the East pilots $247 million in additional earnings in just the next five years. These numbers didn’t include the extra vacation, days off, and retirement that would come in a joint contract.

The AMSC built a consensus with our larger group that the economic advantages afforded the East pilot group through the Nicolau Award are meaningful and compelling. It was our belief that the needs of all pilots should be addressed through economic improvements achieved at the bargaining table through:
  • First officer pay rates with top of scale higher than the current East narrow-body captain rates. This will compensate both East and West first officers for career stagnation.
  • Furlough protections incorporated into Sections 1 and 23 of the joint contract that would make furlough expensive for management, and provide job security in the event of future mergers and acquisitions.
  • A unified push for immediate parity to end “b” scale provisions at US Airways. This would be the first order of business with the resumption of JNC talks.
There is a lot of speculation as to what was discussed and offered at our meeting. We listened respectfully to the needs of our East counterparts and worked diligently to provide a solution that we believed could be accepted by both pilot groups. In order to honor our confidentiality agreement with the East, we cannot provide you details of the East presentation or our internal debate. Rest assured that the rumors that we were willing to agree to a fence agreement are flat out false. Did we study proposed changes that were proposed by the East? Absolutely. But, every proposal we studied included long-term detrimental harm to the AWA pilots and would never be ratified on our property. We believed then and now that the best way to solve our differences is through a joint contract that economically addresses all seniority, furlough, retirement, and parity concerns.
 

PositiveRate

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MK82man,

It's not worth the time to argue it anymore. Ideally, reasonable heads will prevail, but the only thing we can do now is to ensure that we (AWA) unite in this vote and get as close to a 100% ALPA as possible.

A USAPA win gaurantees years of litigation and strife between the 2 groups - this will not lead to contractual improvements anytime soon.

ALPA could have a TA negotiated in under a month with substantial improvements for all. This would take genuine participation from both sides.

I believe we are seeing a very risky bet by many on the East that the lionshare of growth will continue to go East as the West is slowly neutered. They wish to fence us from any potential future gains that they believe will fall on 'their' side of the fence. Why else would 'reasonable' people choose an unreasonable and risky path unless they were convinced they would prevail? The problem with that is the process is generally much more reasonable than the emotions of those involved...ref. arbitration result.

The time for debate is long past.
 

johnnyb

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The merger continues to be a tremendous windfall for the East.

You've got everything you brought to the merger: specifically the flying in your two hubs of PHX and LAS. With oil at $100 and the lowest yields around (at $35 ) that franchise is suffering.
 

MK82Man

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Johnny -- that's true (we are still flying out of LAS and PHX) and also it's true that the West stopped hiring to support the merger. Brought back every single one of the furloughed East pilots that wanted to come back and as a result, West has had stagnation for almost three years -- I still say it was the right and fair thing to do. But the East has continued to upgrade guys to Capt, guys move up the list for better trips, vacation, etc, while our junior FOs are still on Reserve. Our Reserve Captains are still Reserve Captains. The new US Airways could be so much more if the East would stop thinking it is the US Air of old ... it just ain't.
 

reepicheep

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The merger continues to be a tremendous windfall for the East.

You've got everything you brought to the merger: specifically the flying in your two hubs of PHX and LAS. With oil at $100 and the lowest yields around (at $35 ) that franchise is suffering.
Suffering like every other airline that had the USAir millstone hung around it's neck. Our unit costs are up 60% since the merge thanks to a terminal dose of "cool northern efficiency".
 
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