Perseverance, Unity, Courage
These are the principles which have guided the former America West pilots over the last six years, and the developments of recent weeks have shown that we are more united and determined than ever as we enter the final phase of the East/West seniority dispute.
On Friday, February 7th, the Company filed a “Motion to Correct Court’s Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(a) and to modify Court’s order pursuant to Rule 52(b) and 59(e).” You can read the Rule 60 motion here. This motion asks Judge Silver to:
1. “describe the class to be bound by the judgment” and
2. “to remove Footnote 15 so that the Order cannot be construed to prohibit the Allied Pilots Association (“APA”) – after it has been certified as the single collective bargaining representative for all of the US Airways/American pilots – from creating and delegating authority to separate merger committees to represent the disparate seniority interests of the pre-merger US Airways and pre-merger American pilots”
In the first part, the Company contends that procedural rules require that the judgment in a class action should “...describe the members of the class.” According to the Company, Judge Silver’s order does not comply with this requirement, because it does not “include and describe those whom the court finds to be class members” and that there is nothing in the Judgment indicating that this case is a class action. Therefore, the Company is asking Judge Silver to describe the West Class using the same definition in the Court’s September 18, 2013 Order granting class certification (Doc. 194).
In the second part, the Company is asking Judge Silver to remove Footnote 15 which states:“The MOU contemplates the need for arbitration but also requires the post-merger carrier remain neutral. Under the Court’s reading of McCaskill-Bond, there will be no need for arbitration because, based on explicit language in the MOU, prior to the arbitration, there will have been an election and there will be only one certified representative for all pilots. Simply put, with the carrier having promised neutrality, there will not be two parties to go to arbitration.”
According to the Company, “if the US Airways/American pilots seniority-integration process is not completed before the National Mediation Board certifies the APA as the single collective bargaining representative for all of the post-merger (US Airways and American) pilots, the Court’s Order instructs that US Airways/American and the APA will both be responsible for ensuring that the pilot seniority lists are integrated in a lawful manner and in accordance with a lawful procedure. In order to avoid potential confusion, to provide maximum flexibility to resolve the seniority-integration dispute in a manner consistent with McCaskill-Bond and the APA’s ‘duty of fair representation to all employees’, including by means of an arbitration between merger committees, and to reduce the possibility of future legal challenges to the integrated seniority list that ultimately is generated, US Airways respectfully requests that the Court delete Footnote 15 in its Order – a footnote which is not essential to the Court’s holding regarding the status of the West Pilots in the McCaskill-Bond process.”
As a result of the Company’s Rule 60 motion, the 30-day window to file an appeal has been reset and does not restart until Judge Silver makes her final ruling to the Company’s motion.
We believe that the filing of this motion is a clear indication that the Company interprets Judge Silver’s order in a way that any rational person or union would: under McCaskill-Bond the West pilot class might not be entitled to a “seat at the table,” but the Bargaining Agent, whether USAPA or APA, at its own discretion and subject to its Duty of Fair Representation, can and should delegate authority to a separate West merger committee because of the inherent conflict between East and West pilots on the issue of seniority. This inherent conflict will not disappear when the East Pilots are folded into APA.
Once the National Mediation Board certifies the APA as the exclusive bargaining agent for both pre-merger US Airways and American Airlines pilots, the APA will owe a Duty of Fair Representation to all pilots – equally. It will also be the APA’s and the Company’s responsibility to ensure there is a “fair and equitable” seniority integration process as mandated by the McCaskill-Bond legislation. Creating three separate merger committees to “represent the disparate seniority interests” is, in our opinion, the safest method for the APA to comply with its DFR to all New American pilots, as well as comply with the McCaskill-Bond Act.
It can hardly be disputed that during the past six years, USAPA has repeatedly demonstrated hostility towards the West pilots in terms of seniority. We anticipate that APA has no interest in taking the path chosen by USAPA. In expectation of APA honoring its duty to all New American pilots, we believe the West pilots need an SLI attorney and are pleased to announce that we have been able to retain Jeff Freund to assist us in that capacity. Please join us in welcoming back Jeff.
We know the West pilots will share our exuberance over this development; the attorney who brought us the Nicolau will now be working side by side with the tremendous litigators who stopped USAPA dead in their tracks for six years. We also surmise that the West pilots have a ton of questions for these four attorneys. Since it has been a long time since our last “Meet and Greet,” we figured this was the opportune time for another one. So, mark your calendars for next week: Thursday, February 20th, at 10AM, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel located at the corner of 44th St. and Washington. Marty, Andy and Jen will be there, as will Jeff. The four attorneys will be available from 10AM-2PM. As always, spouses are welcome to attend.
We at Leonidas truly believe that the seniority dispute is nearing its conclusion. We also believe that the West would have never survived the USAPA onslaught were it not for the perseverance, unity and courage of this special pilot group. The past six years have been incredibly challenging and trying, but we have stuck together and most importantly, we haven’t changed who we are. The West work ethic is second to none. Six years of commitment along with several million dollars have saved the West from annihilation. Now, we’re almost there, and with your continued support we will finish this once and for all.
If you haven’t signed up for the Push For Justice campaign, please do so now by going to The Push For Justice .
Yours in unity.