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.
Pursuant to the arbitration panel's decision, APA announced a new East Merger Committee only 12 days later, on July 18, 2015. Despite having been in existence for over 6 weeks now, and despite the clear direction of the panel on the subject, the new East Merger Committee, through its legal counsel Bill Wilder, quite predictably sent the panel a letter on Friday, August 28, requesting that the SLI process again be postponed. We have posted a copy of the letter on our website at the following link:
The panel has directed responses from the other parties by 6:00 pm Eastern time on September 2 and obviously, we will once again vigorously oppose this request for delay, and will respectfully ask that the panel abide by its July promise to"not materially prejudice [the] legitimate rights and expectations [of the West pilots and the company] with respect to the timing of the seniority list integration arbitration proceeding in this case." We believe the company will firmly agree with our position. Neither AAPSIC nor APA have indicated their position(s), though AAPSIC previously supported delaying the process, and according to Bill Wilder's letter, the East Merger Committee expects APA to support its request. We will promptly inform you when the arbitration panel responds to the request.
We will conclude this update with the following words from our July 6 update:
[N]o one should forget that we were completely prepared to present and defend the Nicolau Award as the basis of our seniority proposal prior to the Ninth Circuit's decision, and that decision only strengthens our ability to do so, irrespective of what the SLI process may look like and what some newly appointed East pilots' committee may argue.
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