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Leonidas Update September 27, 2015

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Recently an Order was issued regarding a Motion for Joinder and Permanent Injunction by Arizona Federal District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver in the Addington III case based on the 9th Circuit Judgment issued on June 26, 2015 finding that USAPA breached its Duty of Fair Representation (DFR) to the West Pilot Class. 

 

While the West Pilots sought to exercise our rights to a broad injunction to include the recently formed East Pilot Merger Committee, the Court felt otherwise based on the evidence that was available at the time. The West Pilots chose not to seek discovery as that would have the potential effect of further delaying the SLI process already slowed by various USAPA and the East Pilots actions in their attempts to evade a long-standing obligation to honor the 2007 Nicolau Arbitration Award. 

 

Our desire to seek a broad injunction was diminished when the American Airlines Pilot Seniority Integration Committee (AAPSIC), representative of over 10,000 American pilots, made a equitable argument in favor of using the Nicolau Award integration methodology for the US Airways pilots. In the AAPSIC September 19, 2015 proposal to the arbitration board the American Committee states, 

 

The Ninth Circuit’s holding, that the denial of the Nicolau Award in Paragraph 10.h. of the MOU breached USAPA’s duty of fair representation, is effectively the tie-breaker on this [East/West] question. With the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of the West Pilots’ reasonable expectation of the Nicolau Award, the AASPIC acknowledges it as the starting point for ranking the East and West Pilots on the ISL. As part of the ISL, the US Airways Pilots (East and West) should be ordered based on the Nicolau Award.

Additionally, the Court joined the Allied Pilots Association as a defendant, and issued a stern warning to the new East Merger Committee by stating, “Members of the new committee working in concert with USAPA who advocate something other than the Nicolau Award will be subject to contempt sanctions. The new committee members and their counsel must decide, at their substantial peril, whether they are subject to the injunction.”

In closing, we want to thank all of the West pilots who have tirelessly supported this legal effort for over the past eight years. You should be very pleased and proud as our collective persistence and resolve have been rewarded. Now seniority is right back to the arbitration venue from which it started. We are going into the arbitration with a conclusive determination from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that firmly repudiates the East pilots’ discriminatory actions through their USAPA “stalking horse.” The litigation team is very excited to pass the torch to the very capable West Pilot Merger Committee, led by attorney Jeff Freund and Captain Russ Payne. 

 

One final note: the litigation against the officers of USAPA will continue unabated and we will continue to report developments from Judge Conrad’s court. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Leonidas, LLC. 

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West Merger Committee Update September 20, 2015

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Late this evening, September 19, 2015, 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.

 

Although these submissions are due at midnight this evening, it is possible that we may not have access to them until early tomorrow morning, Sunday, September 20. We will publish these submissions as soon as they are available to us. The submissions will also be posted at the following web locations:

 

http://www.west-merger-committee.com

https://public.alliedpilots.org/apa/

Home/SeniorityIntegration.aspx

 

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.

 

THE SENIORITY ARBITRATION HEARINGS

 

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West Merger Committee Update August 31, 2015

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We last updated you on July 6, following the SLI arbitration panel's decision to urge APA to make efforts to form a new East Merger Committee in light of USAPA's permanent withdrawal from the SLI process. As you may recall, the West Merger Committee opposed this decision for many reasons, including our firm and founded belief that a new East Merger Committee would assuredly continue the decade-long concerted effort of East pilots to thwart integration with the West. The arbitration panel incorporated our concerns into its decision as follows:

 

To the extent that USAPA and its Merger Committee have exited the process and have decided not to return, that is not the responsibility of the Board or the remaining Parties and should not materially prejudice their legitimate rights and expectations with respect to the timing of the seniority list integration arbitration proceeding in this case.

 

The panel also contemplated the possibility that a new East Committee might be bound by any injunction the district court would impose (once the case found its way back to that court) prohibiting it from seeking an integrated seniority list based on anything other than the Nicolau Award:

 

Even if any newly appointed East Merger Committee is limited by the Addington Court in terms of the position that it can advocate with respect to the Nicolau Award and its application, there remain other areas in the position of an East Merger Committee that may vary from advocacy by the West Merger Committee, the AASPIC or the Company.

 

And recognizing what it saw as the uncertainties arising from the circumstances, the panel said the following:

 

If necessary to avoid undue delay in finalizing the ISL, the Board is prepared to proceed in the event that a new Merger Committee to represent the East pilots is not created in sufficient time to participate in the arbitration process pursuant to the revised schedule [i.e. recommencing the hearings on September 29].

 

Finally, in unmistakable terms, the panel placed the "blame" for the current circumstances exactly where it belongs:

 

Any loss of direct representation for the East pilot group will be the result of the actions of USAPA and the USAPA Merger Committee and not any action on the part of the Board or any other Party to this process.

 

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West Merger Committee Update September 4, 2015

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Earlier today, the SLI arbitration panel issued a Decision and Order denying the East Pilots Seniority Integration Committee's ("EPSIC") request to delay commencement of the arbitration hearings. The full text of the Decision and Order is as follows:

 

DECISION AND ORDER

 

Having considered the Motion to Postpone the Hearings filed by the East Pilots SIC, as well as the positions advanced in response thereto by the West Pilots SIC, the American Airlines Pilots SIC, APA, and the Company, the Board finds that no compelling good cause has been shown at this time to postpone the start of the scheduled hearings in this matter, as set forth in the Board's July 5th Order. The Motion to Postpone is, therefore, denied.

 

Should circumstances change such that compelling good cause to alter the schedule exists at some later point in the process, the Board reserves the right to revisit the issue at that time, either in response to a Motion or sua sponte.

This will confirm our understanding that, pursuant to the existing procedural arrangements, the East Pilots SIC will present their cases in chief first, followed by the West Pilots SIC, the AA Pilots SIC, and finally the Company. The July 5, 2015 Order noted the possibility of changing the order of presentation, but the Board is not persuaded that compelling good cause has heretofor been shown to do so.

 

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America West Merger Committee Update July 6, 2015

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Yesterday, July 5, the SLI Board of Arbitration (BOA) issued an award answering the 3 procedural questions it was presented for consideration last week. A copy of the BOAs procedural award is posted at www.west-merger-committee.com . A summary of the procedural award is as follows:

 

1. The APA should engage in best efforts to establish a new merger committee to represent legacy U.S. Airways East pilots ("East Merger Committee").

 

2. The BOA declines to answer whether a new East Merger Committee should be deemed bound by the Ninth Circuit's decision in Addington, as that question seeks a legal opinion outside of jurisdiction of the BOA. The Board declines to impose any restrictions on advocacy not imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Meaning: the injunction does not apply to the arbitrators, and the arbitrators cannot give the parties legal advice as to the injunction).

 

3. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for the following periods: September 29, 30, October 1, 2, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2015; January 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

 

We are obviously disappointed that USAPA's latest antics appears to have had no consequences for it and the only ones who have had to pay the price are the parties who have adhered to their agreements and participated in good faith. Moreover, we find it monumentally disturbing that East leadership is again attempting to change its skin like a chameleon to avoid the Nicolau Award - immediately after a federal court found it liable for this exact behavior. Given that USAPA's antics seem never to have any effect on the East pilots' conduct, it has become increasingly difficult for many of us to clearly see the benefits of continuing to engage in good faith.

 

Having said the above, it is the charge of our committee to participate in a fair and equitable seniority integration process on behalf of the America West pilots for the purpose of achieving a fair and equitable seniority list at the New American Airlines. That is where our focus WILL remain, and where it MUST remain in the coming months. Succeeding in this charge necessarily means maintaining the proper perspective throughout the process. We have successfully trudged this process before, and we will successfully trudge it again. Consider the three important points that follow.