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America West Merger Committee Update December 19, 2014

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The Preliminary Arbitration hearings in Washington D.C concluded on December 17. The hearings spanned three full days, culminating in closing arguments by all parties in the afternoon. The Protocol Agreement asks that the arbitrators issue an award within 30 days of the close of the hearings, which would be Friday, January 16, 2015. 

As we stated in our previous communications, we have adopted the practice of the former AWA ALPA Merger Committee of not providing commentary during the pendency of hearings, and instead posting all hearing transcripts on the internet as soon as they become available. All three days of hearing transcripts are available on our website www.west-merger-committee-com. We did our best to provide an objective summary of the issues that were to be argued in the Preliminary Arbitration before the hearings began, and the transcripts themselves best describe how the parties tackled those issues in the hearing itself. 

Despite our policy of not providing commentary regarding arbitration hearings, we would like to take a few moments to discuss one issue argued in the hearings, as it provides an important perspective on where we are today. Specifically, we encourage you to focus on both the opening and closing statements of Ed James, General Counsel of our new union, the Allied Pilots Association (APA). In his statements, Mr. James eloquently describes how APA’s duty of fair representation plays a role in the upcoming McCaskill-Bond process: 

“It's almost a prototypical breach as if the Union were to defer to a larger group of -- segment of the workforce it represents, and there's evidence of hostility between that group and another group, for APA to defer is the definition of a breach of duty of fair representation.” 

Mr. James further explains that APA’s attempts to accommodate the West pilots is perhaps not something that the overwhelming majority of its members might want, and in fact, AA & APA’s insistence that there be a West merger committee contributed to a several month delay of APA’s succession as our bargaining agent. 

While most of you might find APA’s explanation of DFR refreshing in light of USAPA’s long- held view of that same legal duty, we highlight this only because it makes very clearly that the America West pilots would not otherwise be afforded ANY accommodation but for the fact of our viable legal claim, coupled with our demonstrated ability to repeatedly and consistently organize and fund class litigation. USAPA could have never prevailed on the merits of a DFR claim if it unilaterally abandoned the Nicolau Award, but could have easily prevailed had it been successful with its concerted efforts to bankrupt and divide us. It didn’t succeed. And although the courts have so far found that the Railway Labor Act cannot be fairly interpreted to provide us timely justice in our situation, those same courts have consistently recognized the injustice USAPA has visited on us and provided sufficient forward-looking admonitions regarding our seniority situation that our successor union APA has taken quite seriously. 

We would like to take a moment to thank our legal team who worked long hard hours this week to put on an incredible case on our behalf: Marty Harper of ASU Alumni Law Firm PLLC, and Jeff Freund, Josh Shiffrin, and paralegal Christine Heffernan of Bredhoff & Kaiser PLLC. 

We would also like to thank each and every America West pilot for their ongoing moral and financial support, and to wish all of you and your families a very happy holiday season. We believe the new year will begin with some newfound optimism for our pilot group, and we look forward to speaking to you then. 

Sincerely,

The America West Merger Committee 

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America West Merger Committee Update December 14, 2014

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Tomorrow, December 15, marks an important day for all America West pilots: the beginning of the Preliminary Arbitration hearings to determine whether or not the America West pilots will be granted the right to autonomously represent ourselves in the upcoming McCaskill-Bond seniority integration process. Or, more importantly, whether or not USAPA will finally be relieved of the ability to unilaterally dictate the US Airways seniority list that will be used for the integration of the American Airlines and US Airways pilots.

 

As we previously reported to you, all parties to the process, American Airlines, APA, the APA merger committee, USAPA, and the East, West, and American Airlines merger committees, have submitted pre-hearing briefs to the arbitration panel. The purpose of the briefs is to explain in advance the dispute and the positions of the parties. We have posted the briefs on our website: www.west-merger-committee.com

 

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America West Merger Committee Update December 9, 2014

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As we previously communicated to you, the Preliminary Arbitration begins next week in Washington DC. Although attendance is open to all pilots, the arbitration hearing is being held in a space-limited law office conference room. Additionally, the law office is located within a secured office building, and the security guards will only permit registered visitors into the building. This necessarily means that we cannot guarantee that all who submit an RSVP will be permitted to attend due to space constraints, and the law firm has asked us to require RSVP of those wishing to attend.  Therefore, each pilot planning to attend MUST RSVP as follows:

 

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America West Merger Committee Update December 11, 2014

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We regret that the limited number of observer seats at the Preliminary Arbitration have now all been spoken for by RSVP. All America West pilots who have already sent an RSVP will be able to attend, and we will send confirmation emails, along with attendance instructions, directly to you. If you do find yourself in the Washington DC area during the arbitration dates and you would like to attend the hearing, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the day of the hearing see if space has become available.

 

Despite the limited ability to attend the hearing in person, all pilots will be able to stay informed regarding the proceedings by reviewing the daily hearings transcripts. The hearing transcripts from each day will be posted on our website the day after each hearing day. Our website address is:

 

www.west-merger-committee.com

 

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America West Merger Committee Update December 2, 2014

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We write you this evening with two pieces of important news.

AMERICA WEST MERGER COMMITTEE WEBSITE

We are pleased to announce the launch of our dedicated website. The purpose of the website is to provide you with a single location to remain updated and informed regarding our ongoing efforts to protect the seniority of all former America West pilots. The website will be timely updated with all of our communications to you as well as important documents such as daily hearing transcripts. You may access the website at the following hyperlink:

http://www.west-merger-committee.com/

ARBITRATION PRE-HEARING BRIEFS

Additionally, as mentioned in our previous update, all parties to the Preliminary Arbitration are required to submit “Pre-Hearing Briefs” to the Preliminary Arbitration panel. The Pre-Hearing Briefs outline the dispute and explain each party’s position. The parties have agreed to exchange briefs on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 5pm EST (3pm PHX time). We will post copies of all the Pre-Hearing Briefs to the website as soon as we receive them, and we encourage you to review them at your convenience.