11/15/07

ALPA responds to members' decert campaign

The elected leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), and of the two pilot groups who fly for US Airways made it clear today that they will resist all efforts to remove ALPA as the collective bargaining agent for US Airways pilots.

"Today, a group of US Airways pilots filed cards with the National Mediation Board (NMB) for an election to change their union representation," said ALPA President Capt. John Prater. "While I understand the frustration felt by all US Airways pilots who have endured bankruptcy, furloughs, and pension loss, I believe that belonging to ALPA offers them the best chance of bargaining a progressive contract that delivers significant improvements in pay, work rules, and benefits."

Before May 3, 2007, pilots who flew for the former America West and US Airways were working together to support bargaining a new contract for the combined pilot group. Those efforts were delayed after a neutral arbitrator - chosen by the pilots' representatives as prescribed in ALPA Merger Policy - issued an award combining the pilots' seniority lists. Pilots who were unhappy with the award began an effort to undermine it, ultimately leading to the filing of cards by a group calling itself the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA).

"USAPA has no plan, no funding, and no interest in representing all US Airways pilots," said Capt. John McIlvenna, chairman of the America West pilot group. "The so-called leaders of USAPA have virtually no hope of overturning the final and binding arbitrated seniority award. The only guarantee USAPA has is that its brand of proposed representation will result in endless litigation from the America West pilots, a general breakdown in labor relations, and the continued pain of two bankruptcy-era contracts."

The leaders of the two pilot groups continue to work to coordinate their strategy to negotiate with US Airways management. While pilots and management have already tentatively agreed to several positive contract provisions, significant contract improvements will be finalized in further negotiations.

"The answers to the problems facing the pilots whom I represent do not reside with another union," said Capt. Jack Stephan, chairman of the US Airways pilot group. "Our best hope for solving our seniority and contractual issues is within ALPA, through the continued support of our current elected ALPA leaders at US Airways."

(earthtimes.org)

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