America West Merger Committee Update June 12, 2015

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We have three items to update you about this evening.




USAPA is presently making the unbelievable claim in federal court that it still holds representational responsibilities on behalf of the America West pilots, including for purposes seniority integration. USAPA is taking this position despite the Preliminary Arbitration decision, and also despite the fact that USAPA is no longer a certified bargaining agent. It is therefore imperative that all America West pilots immediately review the most recent update from Leonidas LLC and take the action recommended therein: 


The ability to successfully fund your merger committee is affected by this litigation. We need all America West pilots to send an email to USAPA as described in the Leonidas update. Please also contact other America West pilots you know and ensure that they too have taken the recommended action.




One week from today, Friday, June 19, the three merger committees will exchange the following information with one another:

1. Pre-hearing Statements of Position, including proposed seniority list integration methodology, and proposed integrated seniority list with accompanying Conditions and Restrictions.

2. Lists of proposed witnesses for the Parties' cases in chief.

3. Proposed Exhibits for Witnesses the Parties' intend to call in their cases in chief.

This information will also be posted at the following web locations:



During the arbitration hearings, these websites will also contain the daily hearing transcripts in addition to all exhibits and written submissions used in the hearings.




Your merger committee representatives have been working closely with our legal team, experts, and analysts over the past few weeks in order to finalize our pre-hearing brief and proposal for submission and publication. With arbitration hearings scheduled to commence just over two weeks from now, your merger team is now engaged full-time in making final preparations for the arbitration hearings.


To set the proper stage for the unveiling of the proposals, we thought it might be helpful to highlight the following paragraph from the United pilots closing brief to the arbitration panel in the UAL / CAL case. This paragraph, drafted by our lead merger counsel Jeff Freund, was incorporated verbatim by the panel of arbitrators in the UAL / CAL award, and its advice was followed throughout the award. Our proposal will certainly comport to this admonition, and we expect that the other committees proposals will as well.


"Airline mergers and the attendant pilot seniority integrations have proven to be the most stressful periods in an airline's evolution. That stress manifests itself in a variety of ways that pose serious problems for the respective pilot groups and for ALPA as an institution. The expectations that competing integration proposals create in the minds of the merging pilot groups  and the hostility engendered by these competing proposals  leave scars that do not heal well, if at all. . . . While there are surely many explanations for the tumult created by the SLI process, the leading culprit is the unrealistic expectations of many of the pilot groups. In our experience, those unrealistic expectations translate into extreme SLI proposals, and those extreme proposals are what allows the rhetoric and the animosity that flows from the fight over a scarce resource  a position on a combined seniority list  to spiral out of control. . . When an Award fails to call out the fact that one side has made an entirely unreasonable proposal . . . that encourages, or fails to discourage, continuing unreasonable proposals; it also encourages the very conduct that inflames the SLI process and leads to the bitter recrimination that haunts the merged pilot group and ALPA for decades after. . . [W]e urge in the strongest terms that [this Board] say so in its opinion, so that future merger committees will take this Board's admonitions to heart and the damaging consequences of unreasonable posturing will be eliminated or at least minimized in future mergers.


As previously announced, the arbitration hearings dates are scheduled as follows: June 29-July 3, July 13-16, September 29-October 2, and October 12-16, 2015. Arbitration hearings for the weeks of June 29-July 3 and July 13-16 will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C., USA, 20001. The hearings will generally be open and pilots will be allowed to observe the hearings as space allows. Portions of the hearing however containing information and data subject to confidentiality agreements and restrictions may be closed to observers. The hearings in September and October will also be held in the Washington, D.C. area at a location to be determined.


The hearings will begin on June 29 with opening statements from each party; the East committee to go first, followed by the West committee, and then the AA committee. Following opening statements, the parties will put on their cases-in-chief, known as direct cases, in this same order. Direct cases involve each committee introducing evidence to the arbitration panel by means of witnesses and exhibits. The evidence is generally designed to support that committees integration proposal, and each witness is subject to cross-examination by the other committees' attorneys. The direct cases are expected to last through July 16.


Following the direct cases, each committee will have the opportunity to present a rebuttal case. In the rebuttal, each committee will have the opportunity to introduce additional witnesses and evidence to respond to evidence and arguments that the other committees presented in their direct cases. The rebuttal cases will not begin until September 29.


Thank you for your continued support.




The West Merger Committee 


David Braid          Mark Burman        Johan de Vicq 

Eric Ferguson       Jeff O'Connell       Russ Payne 

Jim Van Sickle      Mitch Vasin          Roger Velez