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Leonidas Update September 12, 2016

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A week has gone by and we remain as shocked as you are by the ISL award. While we did not know what the award would be, no one expected the Board of Arbitrators (BOA) to punish the West pilots for successfully defending our legal rights for the past nine years. Disregarding the Ninth Circuit's ruling entirely, the BOA effectively forgave the East pilots for their DFR breach and permanently rewarded them for their illegal acts at the expense of the West pilots, and to a lesser extent, LAA pilots. Furthermore, the BOA credits the former East furloughees’ with their December 9, 2013 Category & Status job placements. In doing so, the BOA permitted the East pilots to reap the gains they attained by the TA (Transition Agreement) imposed fence and the company’s decisions for the hiring of pilots and allocation of flying at the “New US Airways.” This is in direct conflict with section IV (D) of the TA which specifically stated that the company's interim decisions for flying allocations cannot be used to determine the ISL. In this award, the BOA not only set aside the Nicolau Award, but also the Eischen Award, the B757 LOU, the 2005 TA and its protections for the West’s share of post merger flying including the large growth in Wide-body aircraft. The BOA simply gave short shrift to the careers the West pilots brought to the 2005 merger with US Airways and our post-merger career benefits. East pilots, saved from liquidation and unemployment by the 2005 merger with AWA, chose to remain at their lowest-in-the-industry bankruptcy wages to extend the TA imposed fence for over ten years. The BOA ignored the crime, rewarded the perpetrators, and then punished the victims. Stunning! 

 

The West Merger Committee placed in evidence the notion that arbitrations are the ultimate definition of Fair and Equitable (as stated, ironically, by the East Merger Committee attorney's father, Roland Wilder, in a matter related to the AA/TWA merger in 2001). Now, two completely different arbitrated awards exist to resolve the same dispute. Which award is Fair and Equitable? This decision by the BOA ends the concept that arbitrations are by definition Fair and Equitable, undermines the legitimacy of arbitrations and succeeds in perpetuating the dispute between East and West pilots. 

 

This award is particularly devastating to the careers of the senior West First Officers, the group who had their imminent CA upgrade put on hold since 2005 by the East’s DFR breach. The BOA chose to ignore the positions owed the West pilots under the terms of the TA, placing nearly 1300 East and LAA pilots between P2070 and P2071, further delaying CA upgrades. These two never-furloughed West pilots were hired on the same day, and in the same class, but now have drastically different career progressions thanks to the arbitrators' flawed logic. The career opportunities of West pilot P2071 and those below him will lag well behind the rest of the West pilots by at least 4 years. This damage far exceeds the damage to the careers claimed by the East pilots under the Nicolau award. 

 

We had hoped this award would put to rest the need to protect the seniority interests of the West pilots, but that is not the case. There are a host of irregularities in this award that may or may not provide a cause of action, which is currently under review by the attorneys. That being said, we will not take any action that might interfere with the quick implementation of this ISL award, flawed though it may be. Given the clear animus shown towards West pilots throughout this merger and the last, we can no longer afford to stand out as a target for further harm and believe we must integrate now and fight this injustice after that, as opportunities arise. 

 

We must remain vigilant to defend the seniority rights of the West pilots against any assault mounted by the East pilots, American Pilots, APA or the Company. Recall in 2007 when the Nicolau Award was first issued, the West pilots were disappointed, but relieved that it was not the devastating East proposal. That award was assumed to be “Final and Binding.” It was assumed that ALPA would defend the Nicolau Award. No one believed that USAPA would be successfully formed expressly to overturn the award and many were complacent that our rights would be defended by those obligated to do so, or that our rights would somehow defend themselves. Leonidas, LLC was created because its founders saw risks to West pilot careers when most assumed everything would be fine and go as planned. Like in 2007 when the Nicolau was less than ideal for West pilots, but far better than the alternatives, dangers may also exist for this dubious award. As we predicted long ago many LAA pilots, due to a poor understanding of ISL arbitrations, (as well as the history of the AWA/US Airways) are clearly upset. On September 9, 2016, a group of LAA pilots launched a campaign to raise funds to challenge the ISL award. If any LAA or LUS-East pilots go forward with an action, the West pilots will likely be forced back into litigation to defend our seniority rights against a new adversary because history shows that we cannot count on the bargaining agent to defend its own award properly. We know many of you are anxious to see a legal strategy broadcast here and now, but this has never been our practice and we won't begin doing that now. Rest assured that our attorneys are diligently reviewing the situation right now, in addition to keeping tabs on all looming threats. 

 

On August 30, a fairness hearing was held for the LMRDA settlement before Judge Conrad. In this hearing, objections to the settlement were heard and rejected. It is worth noting that the father of Rick Brown, an East Merger committee member for both USAPA and EPSIC, was one of the primary objectors. Last week, Judge Conrad issued his order in the LMRDA settlement case. The timing of when funds will actually be transferred to the West plaintiffs, to be held in trust at the ASU Alumni Law Group, remains to be seen so your continued support is needed in the meantime. Even if you are totally satisfied with the Award, know that you have not yet found safety. 

 

In the meantime, the West Merger Committee has a few remaining expenses and we must be prepared to fund the Dispute Resolution Committee because APA will not do that for us. USAPA, while breaching its DFR to West pilots and negotiating the Protocol Agreement, which governs these matters, made sure of that. It is a fact that Leonidas, LLC is the sole funding source for these matters and for the forgoing reasons; your contributions are still needed. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Leonidas, LLC 

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America West Merger Committee Update September 6, 2016

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Fellow pilots: On Tuesday, September 6th, the arbitration panel released its final opinion and award. A copy of the opinion and award, and final integrated seniority list are available for download at the following locations: 

 

APA 

 

www.west-merger-committee.com 

 

A brief summary of the award is as follows: 

 

STEP ONE  Creation of a new East / West seniority list 

 

 The Nicolau Award was not used.

 The new East/West list integrates all pre-US Airways/American West merger West and East pilots on an 85% status & category / 15% longevity basis. (This list was constructed using 2013 job counts & longevity instead of the 2005 figures).

 All MDA CEL & Third List pilots are placed at the bottom of this list in DOH order. 

 

STEP TWO  Integration of the new East/West list with the Legacy AA list

 Also using an 85% status & category / 15% longevity hybrid methodology.

 Status & category based primarily upon JCBA pay categories 

  - No adjustments were made to the ratios that existed as of December 9, 2013 (e.g. no 75% adjustment of ratio numbers as proposed by AAPSIC)

  - No combining of Group IV FO / Group II CA or Group II FO / Group I CA.

 Longevity calculated according to West proposal

  -Longevity = time at mainline less furlough time, using DOH for US Airways pilots and Hire Date for LAA pilots

  -No longevity credit for Letter T, MDA, or Eagle. 

 

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Leonidas Update April 29, 2016

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On February 15, 2016, the West Mediation Group reached a Global Settlement [View Here] with USAPA and the 14 individual defendants in the consolidated LMRDA and DJ cases pending on North Carolina, and the fee claim in the Addington class action in Arizona. As previously stated, the proposed settlement agreement, accompanied by a Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval and various required supporting documents, was then sent to Judge Conrad for review and preliminary approval subject to final approval after a Fairness Hearing. 

 

The Court reviewed all of the materials submitted by the parties supporting the Joint Motion, and the Court granted the motion on April 22, 2016 [Doc 117: Order]. Most importantly, the Court (1) preliminarily approved the settlement; (2) approved two settlement classes (an East class and a West class) and approved counsel for each; (3) provided a timetable of events for notices to be distributed to all affected pilots and comments/objections to be submitted [Page 13 of Doc. 117]; and (4) scheduled a Fairness Hearing on August 30, 2016, at 9:30am in U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division. 

 

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Leonidas Update August 31, 2016

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West Mediation Group Update Regarding
“Global Settlement” Fairness Hearing
 

 

On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, a Fairness Hearing was held in Judge Conrad’s Court in the Western District of North Carolina to hear objections from class members to the Global Settlement Agreement. The Global Settlement encompasses all outstanding and potential future litigation between West pilots, Leonidas, USAPA and certain East Pilot defendants. 

 

A few months ago, we updated you on the series of steps required to obtain Judge Conrad’s approval of the settlement process. Compliance with federal class action notification requirements was necessary to formalize the settlement agreement and secure a final judgment from the Court. You may recall that, after intense negotiations over several days in North Carolina, mediated by neutral Gary Hemric, followed by additional weeks of continued settlement talks, the parties reached a global settlement whereby all outstanding issues from over 8 years of litigation could be put to rest. Notice regarding the terms of the settlement were sent out to class members by multiple means, and class members were invited to respond and/or object. Objections were received and submitted to the Court, and the parties were allowed to respond to the objections. 

 

Working with all involved counsel to the USAPA v. Velez and Leonidas, LMRDA I and II litigation, and the remainder of the Addington III litigation, the West Mediation representatives and Leonidas were confident that we would be able to complete the necessary steps to secure a positive result for all parties involved in the various outstanding litigious disputes. Counsel filed a Joint Motion for Final Approval of the Global Settlement, and prepared for the Fairness Hearing scheduled in front of Judge Conrad. 

 

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West Mediation Group Update Regarding Pending “Global Settlement” February 15, 2016

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Today we reached a Global Settlement with USAPA and the individual defendants in all outstanding litigation between East and West pilots. (Attached) We are pleased with the agreement and believe it represents the best, most realistic, and timely outcome possible for all parties. It is the result of intense mediated negotiations over the last several weeks. 

 

A few steps are yet required and Judge Conrad’s approval is needed before the agreement becomes a final judgment, but there is a reasonably high probability that the necessary steps will be successfully completed soon. One of those steps is called a “Fairness Hearing” which will be held before Judge Conrad wherein he will determine whether or not the agreement is fair. 

 

We are now in the process of preparing for the soon to be scheduled Fairness Hearing before the judge in order to convert this settlement into a final order. As such, all former US Airways pilots will be receiving various forms of notification of the process and the steps that will be taken to obtain Judge Conrad's approval of the settlement. 

 

Remember, no money will change hands until Judge Conrad’s final order. In the meantime, Leonidas, LLC will continue making monthly payments to satisfy various financial obligations incurred on behalf of the former AWA pilots that have led us to this point. Though it is more likely than not that the settlement will be approved with little or no modification, it is not guaranteed so please continue your Push for Justice contributions so we can meet those obligations. 

 

 

Thank you for your support,