Leonidas Update April 13, 2009

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Dear AWA and Sapient Old-US Air Pilots,


In spite of repeated attempts to delay the trial, Seham and gang are a mere 15 days away from facing the group of pilots from the West that they so confidently believed they could just throw under the bus without scrutiny from a federal judge. Well, two weeks from tomorrow the gavel will fall in courtroom 504 at the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse, and the trial will be underway.

The ONLY issue to be tried will be USAPA’s breach of its duty of fair representation. We hope this will be a lesson for those who embarked on this far-flung campaign to replace a union without understanding the distinction between a “wide range of reasonableness” and “mob rules.” Floating out there in the real universe is the legal concept of discrimination, and that is primarily what this trial is about. The Nicolau Arbitration is not on trial - USAPA’s actions are.



We can report to our readers that the attorneys for the plaintiffs are working long hours and one can sense the synergy in our team as they are in a comfortable stride, sprinting toward the finish line. Just as a critical phase of flight is a busy time in the flight deck, the days leading up to a trial are crucial for attorneys who are putting the final touches on a well-developed trial strategy. Our firm has been focusing, refining, and reinforcing their strategy; a strategy which began many months ago and has thus far proven effective. Also, they have remained focused despite the many nuisance filings by our adversary.


As for the other side, well that is a good question, as we are curious as to what is going on over there. As of late, the USAPA spin machine has been mostly silent, which is odd given their past propensity to spin the most outlandish interpretation of just about anything. All Seham seems to have been doing up to this point has been clogging the federal courts with frivolous filings and useless appeals. Perhaps, if the verdict hinged on the party that could kill the most trees or waste the most amount of time, then USAPA would have a slam dunk on their hands. What seems elusive to those of us in the real world is evidence of a coherent trial strategy, because they are going to need something better than star power to win. They’re also going to require something more than their imagined conspiracies to even begin to justify their actions against the West. Nevertheless, in two short weeks we will see what all of that USAPA dues money has purchased in will see what all of that USAPA dues money has purchased in the form of a legal defense.


At the risk of being redundant, we again pose the question to the USAPA Brain Trust: “Why the reluctance to litigate?” After all, these USAPA founders and their so-called “legal counsel” are on tape at numerous events guaranteeing that their legal invention was as close to being a slam dunk as is humanly possible. Considering the smug manner in which the USAPA founders and their legal team assured the East pilots that there would be little chance of the West ever having a day in court, and even if the West did then there would be virtually no chance of success, it seems even more curious that there has been such a visible, even panicky effort made to avoid trial. Please do not take this as a prediction of victory for the West, but we do wish to illuminate the numerous falsehoods propagated to all US Airways pilots by our union. Everything they have said has been wrong. Everything. And we don’t just limit this to the trial; everything and anything of material importance to East and West pilots that stated an opinion, or was promised has either been wrong or may be impossible to fulfill. Where is the contract? Where is the DOH list? Where is the pay raise? Where is that retro pay? These are questions that will be forever asked as long as the current leadership of USAPA remains at the helm.


On Friday, Ninth Circuit justices Leavy and Graber tersely denied USAPA's Motion for Emergency Stay, and rightfully so. If you have not read the documents leading to this decision, we encourage you to do so. Please click here for USAPA's Memo In Support of Stay Pending Appeal. Click here for the Leonidas reply to that motion, and here for the order denying USAPA's motion.


The next desperate move by USAPA was to then appeal to The Honorable Judge Wake's peers with the above referenced “Emergency Motion for Stay” [link]. The Leonidas response to that motion can be found here, and finally the court's denial of that motion can be found here.


You will find that all of USAPA's motions are really reaching, and again reveal the dishonest spin coming from our union's leadership. You will see how USAPA screams that the court's misapplication (in its view) of law sound a “death knell” to the ongoing negotiations with the company. We ask you then, since your case is so solid, and [this is really getting comical now] even a guilty verdict would supposedly have no effect on USAPA's plans anyway, then why not just get it over with, vindicate your position, get back to the table, and get all your East followers the fat raise you promised that you would have right away (even if it was only parity with the West)? The answer is simple. This has nothing to do with any sort of “death knell” caused by this litigation, and everything to do with the current USAPA leadership's full-throttle attempt to deflect any responsibility for this self-induced calamity.

What is clear from all of the above, is that Lee Seham and USAPA's misunderstanding of DFR litigation defies explanation- especially this far along in the process. USAPA is yet unable to grasp the difference between a DFR and a Grievance, and continues to attempt to explain to the court that the “System Board has exclusive jurisdiction” over our dispute. We will try to explain it in the most simple terms as possible, because it is clear that USAPA fails to understand: A GRIEVANCE IS A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE UNION AND THE COMPANY. A DFR IS A DISPUTE BETWEEN A UNION MEMBER (OR MEMBERS) AND THE UNION. We cannot make it any more simple. A union does not get to judge for itself whether or not it treats its members fairly- the federal courts judge this in compelling situations such as ours. Somebody please see if they can explain this to SSM&P, because their fundamental misunderstanding of this simple concept is becoming embarrassing even for the plaintiff's, and reflects poorly on your profession (and that of you clients). It is also clear that it is not helping your situation before the court (which is fine with us), but please, just give it a break. The federal court DOES have jurisdiction over this matter, and is not powerless to effect a change to protect the plaintiff's should we prevail.


What is perhaps most alarming is how many USAPA members recently affirmed the direction set by the most extreme contingent of national officer candidates. The campaign alternatives of “protecting our date-of-hire” and the promises of an industry leading contract seem as undeliverable by this team as they have ever been, as there has been an unmistakable failure to deliver anything of value to our pilot group thus far. The good news is that you will get to vote again, as this incompetent bunch botched our first round of national elections by denying a West Pilot his opportunity to run for office. We wonder what the cost will be to the “Good Union Pilots”. You know what they say “past performance is no guarantee of future returns,” however it is usually a strong indicator.


In closing, the West is prepared for whatever outcome may occur, but it is clear that the East, once again, is not. The East must seriously contemplate the possibility that they may well be required to abide by the Nicolau, and that failure to do so may forever result in contempt of court. Try as you might, the results of this litigation cannot be ignored, no matter how many times Randy Mowrey or Elwood Menear may tell you this. To our fellow West pilots (and East supporters) the time is running out for you to register your support for our mission before the trial commences on April 28th.


Please visit this link to contribute to the AWA pilots legal campaign through Leonidas LLC.