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Leonidas Update October 12, 2012

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Yesterday, Judge Silver issued her final ruling on the Company’s Declaratory Action. You can read the order here. Judge Silver did incorporate one addition requested by West Pilots’ attorney Marty Harper:

“Accordingly, if USAPA wishes to abandon the Nicolau Award and accept the consequences of this course of action, it is free to do so.” (Doc. 193, p.7, line 14.)

USAPA must have missed that in their update today.

Overall, there were not any surprises in the order based on her line of questioning from the October 2nd oral arguments. Judge Silver made it clear that she felt constrained by the Ninth’s opinion in Addington, and therefore she could not offer as much guidance as she had originally hoped. What she did lay out in plain language is that USAPA’s freedom to negotiate is limited by their duty to fairly represent the West. The significant part of the order is the connection made between USAPA’s DFR and the Nicolau:

“Of course, in negotiating for a particular seniority regime, USAPA must not breach its duty of fair representation. Accordingly, if USAPA wishes to abandon the Nicolau Award and accept the consequences of this course of action, it is free to do so. By discarding the result of a valid arbitration and negotiating for a different seniority regime, USAPA is running the risk that it will be sued by the disadvantaged pilots when the new collective bargaining agreement is finalized. An impartial arbitrator’s decision regarding an appropriate method of seniority integration is powerful evidence of a fair result. Discarding the Nicolau Award places USAPA on dangerous ground.”.(Doc. 193, p.7.)

It is unmistakable that what Judge Silver is saying here is that a non-Nicolau list will be compared against the Nicolau for purposes of the DFR. The Nicolau doesn’t disappear. Rather, it will be the yardstick against which any non-Nicolau will be measured. Where that leaves all of us--- East and West – is that USAPA’s structure, combined with the Ninth’s ruling, has created an endless loop for all US Airways pilots and for the Company. The reason is that the Company must negotiate with USAPA now, and since they don’t have a judicial determination on whether a non-Nicolau is a DFR until it is too late for them to avoid liability, it is up to USAPA to convince the Company that there exists a legitimate union objective to disregard a binding arbitration and instead accept a seniority scheme which benefits every East pilot at the expense of every West pilot. In other words, USAPA will now sit at the negotiating table and try to make the argument that it is in the Company’s best interests to raise pilot costs across the board in the form of a new contract, and at the same time, venture with USAPA to the “dangerous ground” of avoiding the Nicolau.

If you’re on the East, plan on working under LOA93 for a lot longer.

Finally, we would like to announce the next “Meet and Greet” with our attorneys will be held on November 2nd, 10:00 AM, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on 44th St and Washington . Spouses are more than welcome. Please come with your questions

Have a great weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Leonidas, LLC

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