As we are certain you already know, on September 4, 2014, American Airlines, APA, and USAPA executed a Protocol Agreement which governs the process for seniority integration.
Paragraph 8 of the Protocol Agreement established a process through which former America West pilots may become recognized as a full and equal party to the seniority integration process. Under the Protocol Agreement, former America West pilots had until 14 days from the NMBs certification of APA as the exclusive bargaining agent to request to participate in the Preliminary Arbitration. The America West Merger Committee (AWMC) requested party status from APA. We have been advised that no other group of former America West pilots claiming to represent the West Pilots has made a similar request, and the matter has been referred to a Preliminary Arbitration Board (PAB). The issue for the PAB is a simple one does APA have the discretion to appoint a West Pilots Merger Committee? If the PAB decides that APA does have that discretion, we expect that APA will appoint a West Pilots Committee that will have full party status in the Seniority List Integration process.
As we reported to you last week, representatives from American Airlines, APA, and USAPA participated in a process through which the following PAB members were selected:
Paragraph 8.b. of the Protocol Agreement provides, in part:
The hearing shall consist of no more than five hearing days, and shall be concluded within 30 days of the Preliminary Arbitration Board's receipt of the requests, subject to the arbitrators' schedules.
On Monday of this week, the PAB members confirmed their availability for the following hearing dates:
The PAB members indicated that if December 16 or a day contiguous to either of the two December dates or the two January dates becomes available, the January 5th hearing date will be cancelled. In either case, the latest time the hearing will conclude will be January 23 (or 24 if that day becomes available), 2015. The hearings will be held in Washington, DC and will be open to AA pilots. We will provide the hearing location and attendance details in a future update.
Paragraph 8.b. of the Protocol Agreement also provides:
The Preliminary Arbitration Board shall issue an order granting or denying any such requests that AP A designate the requested Committee. The order shall be issued within 30 days following the first day of the hearing, subject to the arbitrators' schedules.
Depending upon how quickly the hearing is concluded, we expect the matter to be decided as early as February. Unlike many arbitration hearings, there will be closing argument at the close of the hearing in lieu of the filing of post-hearing briefs. This should help to expedite the decision-making process.
Unfortunately, the West pilots have been left to fend for ourselves financially, at least until we are granted recognition as a full party. Therefore, your financial support has never been more critical. We will be funded by Leonidas LLC, and contributions may be made at the following link:
Of course, these Preliminary Arbitration dates raise some questions about the timeline for the remaining seniority integration process. We will attempt to answer some of those questions in an update in the near future. For now, be assured that we are on track to ensure the ability to represent ourselves, free from USAPAs malice.
We will always strive to provide you information as timely as possible, but we also ask for your patience in that we do not have the benefit of flight pay loss, dues funding, or administrative support for our work. Subject to that limitation, it is our intent to provide you the most timely, factual information possible.
We look forward to communicating regularly with you in the coming weeks, and we thank you for your continuing and overwhelming support.
The America West Merger Committee
David Braid Mark Burman Johan de Vicq
Eric Ferguson Jeff O'Connell Russ Payne
Jim Van Sickle Mitch Vasin Roger Velez