Print

America West Merger Committee Update September 4, 2014

on .

As we are certain you know, mediated negotiations called for by the NMB to achieve a SLI Process Agreement have been ongoing between APA, New American, and USAPA in Washington, D.C. since August 5. Noticeably absent in the process has been any representative advocating for the unique interests of the West pilots.

Today, the USAPA BPR, over the objections of the Phoenix Reps, ratified the tentative agreement resulting from those mediated negotiations, subject to reaching modification of the Agreement with APA and the Company on one matter not related to our principal issue – the status of a Committee representing West pilots. We assume that the parties will resolve that issue, one way or another, in relatively short order. If so, more details about the Agreement will surely appear in the days ahead.


By the terms of the Agreement it is plainly evident that USAPA has once again demonstrated that they only intend to represent East US Airways’ pilot seniority interests. One only has to read the inaccurate and inflammatory September 3, 2014 USAPA Merger Committee update , and compare that with the actual language of the Protocol Agreement to understand the depth USAPA will go to deny West representation in the coming SLI. The West pilots must be afforded the same status, rights, and privileges as the other two pilot groups specified in the MOU. This was one of the key factors leading to our support of the MOU and merger with American Airlines in the first place. 

APA has made it clear through its public statements that they believe that a West Merger Committee must be appointed. We trust that APA – unlike USAPA – recognizes that no seniority integration process that excludes the West pilots’ and puts our fate in USAPA’s hands exclusively will ever be considered a fair process by us, given USAPA’s historic and proven animus to our interests. We assume that APA will support the appointment of a West Committee in the Preliminary Arbitration called for by the Agreement and hope the Company will as well. Nevertheless, we must stand vigilant and ready to represent ourselves, with legal counsel of our own choosing, in the upcoming seniority proceedings. To that end your Certified West Pilot Class Representatives are reaffirming our support of the "West Merger Committee" augmented by the legal team of Jeff Freund and Marty Harper. When USAPA is finally decertified, it will no longer have any representational status under the RLA. At that point in time, USAPA becomes just a private, unincorporated association bound by the laws of the State of North Carolina. Period. We look forward to working constructively with APA once it becomes the certified bargaining agent and takes on the responsibility of insuring a fair seniority integration process for all of its members – old American, East and West pilots. We will continue to prepare for that day as it rapidly approaches. 

The unexpected delays at the NMB, USAPA’s DC lawsuit along with the MOU requirement to present a final list to the company no later than December 9th, 2015 have compressed our time line. Having been cut out of the process, should a West Committee gain standing to participate (as we expect), this Committee will be required to make up for lost time. We will be forced to accomplish in a matter of weeks what the other committees have had many months to prepare. The need for manpower to assist became evident, and after careful consideration, we have added Jeff O’Connell, Mitch Vasin, Jim Van Sickle and West Class Representatives Mark Burman and Roger Velez to the merger team. We strongly believe this newly expanded team will be representative of every pilot in our West group and can effectively meet the challenges that lie ahead.

The West Merger Committee will consist of the following nine west pilots:

Russ Payne
Eric Ferguson
Johan de Vicq
David Braid
Jeff O’Connell
Mitch Vasin
Jim Van Sickle
Mark Burman
Roger Velez

This has been the virtuous cause backed by West unity, which has so far stopped USAPA's unjust plan to substitute its own self-serving seniority list in place of the Nicolau Award. Had West pilots not stood our ground, USAPA's injustice would have prevailed long ago and there would be no ongoing dispute regarding West participation between the parties today. Your career would be facing a high likelihood of suffering a compounding injury in this new merger. Instead we are poised to finally enforce the prior arbitration in the context of this new merger and prevent additional losses beyond what we have endured at the hands of USAPA. We will continue our vigilance against those who would silence West representation. Every legal option will be exercised to protect West Pilot seniority.

It is our realistic expectation, given our unprecedented solidarity that has been demonstrated over many years of hardship, that all West pilots will support their West Class Representatives and remain unified behind the West Merger Committee.

Sincerely,

Your West Class Representatives, USAPA Phoenix BPR Representatives, West Merger Committee, LLC Managers and Members: 

Don Addington
John Bostic
Mark Burman
Steve Wargocki
AC Iranpour
Rod Brackin
Michael Soha
George Maliga
Roger Velez