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Old 04-07-2015, 04:13 PM   #1  
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Joined APC: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,179
Default Feeling the "APA LUV"!

I saw this on the other forum so I thought I'd bring it over here.

Better "beware APA".....the West are coming for you, too! Can you say "Andreas Lubitz"???

Just the "messenger boy". Enjoy the ride!

"You had better wake up. West pilots are not going to tolerate second-class status at this airline."

LOS and Hiding in Plain Sight

In our update of March 30, 2015, we wrote about the company's plans to delay implementation of an integrated seniority list until the fall of 2016 and how this could put all AA pilots at risk due to the loss of job protections found in the MOU [JCBA Supplement D (Exhibit 1), attached]. We also said that we found this information to be wholly unacceptable and suspicious, and how it is our opinion that PHX is being systematically deprived of merger benefits- both this one and the last. This has gone on for longer than most will remember and we don't believe it can be the result of anything other than an ongoing and concerted effort to shift benefits away from PHX- the only domicile whose company was not bankrupt in either of the last two mergers and the base from where the top leaders of the company came- and to the US Airways pilots to the possible detriment of everyone else. We also spoke about how the company has turned a blind eye toward our situation while saying it will be prolonged due to an implementation delay of single SLI due to 'IT' issues. In this update we will address just one of the many pieces of evidence which helps prove how our plight is not simply the result of bad fortune or happenstance. This will serve as a cautionary tale for APA leadership and all pilots of the new company. Remember, once those JCBA Supplement D protections we discussed last week end (at the latest) around the company's current implementation projection of October 2016, it will be possible for management to whipsaw all three pilot groups against each other, increasing its leverage over the pilots exponentially. It has done this masterfully for almost a decade and APA must not allow this to happen in the future. The only protection from this is an integrated list and an operation devoid of any definable division which management can (and will) exploit.

This will be a fairly long update, but we implore you to read this section in its entirety because your future with AA somewhat depends on knowing how the newly anointed leadership of American Airlines and many of the former US Airways pilots have cooperated in the past. We'll start today and work back to the beginning of the AWA-US Airways merger:

One beneficial provision of the JCBA was the inclusion of an additional two years of LOS (length of service) for pilots who were furloughed in the wake of 911. In spite of the fact that Delta gave full LOS to its pilots and United agreed to far more than two years as well, our management would not budge further; so two years was better than nothing. In order to validate eligibility for the LOS, on March 24, APA published an update (link) on its website and is requiring pilots to verify their LOS information through April 7. APA has published three lists; Legacy AA, LUS East and LUS West. The LUS lists were compiled by current APA Negotiating Committee member, Dean Colello. Dean is a LUS East pilot and was formerly the chairman of the USAPA's Negotiating Advisory Committee and was on that committee for most of USAPA's existence. It's important to know that Dean was the most senior pilot furloughed from US Airways at the time of the AWA/US Airways merger. US Airways began furloughing pilots in October 2001, and furloughed Colello in the second half of 2003.

On the LUS East list, beginning on page 23 through 25 and line numbers 630 through 693, you will find dates-of-hire ranging between July 5, 2004 and October 25, 2004. There is a significant gap of 4.5 years above and 3 years below this group of 64 pilots. When the AWA/US Airways merger was announced in May 2005, US Airways had 1691 pilots (33%) reported to be on furlough, the most junior of which had a date-of-hire in early 2000. How, then can it be that US Airways hired 64 pilots at a time when it had one-third of its pilots on furlough? Answer: it didn't!

These 64 pilots were first hired at US Airways wholly owned subsidiary MidAtlantic (link) in 2004, after it had first offered jobs to pilots furloughed from US Airways but still had unfilled positions. US Airways later brought these pilots to the company for the first time in 2007 or 2008, where they've remained employed ever since. Why then, do they show an impossible hire date from 2004? Because Dean (who worked at MidAtlantic when he was furloughed from US Airways) and USAPA wanted to advance these pilots ahead of the former AWA pilots and the company allowed them to do so. Never mind that they didn't come to work at US Airways before 2007 and disregard the fact they were not furloughed during the 2008-2009 downturn (unlike many AWA pilots who were actually hired well before them). But the company entrusted APA to determine their LOS eligibility, and APA (in turn), delegated that process to Dean who decided to give them longevity for their time at MidAtlantic and LOS credit for their spent time unemployed from a different company. The net effect is that these pilots (who became furloughed from MidAtlantic when it ceased operations in May 2006, but were not furloughed from US Airways) are slated to receive the LOS benefits for time spent between the end of MidAtlantic and the commencement of their employment at US Airways. Further, they are given mainline longevity credit for their time at MidAtlantic. While they were not hired by US Airways in 2004, the company has and continues to treat them as if they were for seniority purposes to the detriment of former AWA pilots. This is akin to AA recognizing a former Eagle pilot's original Eagle date-of-hire for all purposes on the AA seniority list.

The data that forms the basis of the LOS lists was recently sourced from the company and, lest anyone think this is a minor oversight on the part of Dean or the company, there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. This evidence includes two arbitrators' rulings and a federal court order.

About these pilots George Nicolau noted in his 2007 ruling:

The 1691 [furloughed US Airways pilots] include 105 so-called CEL (Combined Eligibility List) pilots who never flew on the mainline, to be discussed below, and 212 other Mid-Atlantic Division (MDA) pilots. Though listed as active in a US Airways summary sheet, they are carried as furloughed on the US Airways Certified 5/1/05 list. [Nicolau Award, page 5, footnote 1, emphasis added]

These impossible 2004 hires are the remaining so-called CEL pilots which the company cannot and should not treat as having been hired at US Airways in 2004, yet it does.

Arbitrator Wallin, in his arbitration ruling (Exhibit 2) for the MDA [MidAtlantic] Longevity grievance put this way:

By repeatedly listing the Mainline Agreement sections that would remain applicable to the MDA pilots as they did, the parties clearly and unambiguously excluded any application of all others. Because Section 22 [Section 22 is seniority in the ALPA contracts] of the Mainline Agreement did not apply to MDA pilots, those pilots were not eligible to accrue longevity credit under the Mainline Agreement for their time in MDA service. Accordingly, employment at MDA simply did not constitute employment with the Company within the meaning of Section 22 of the Mainline Agreement. [Wallin Award, page 25, emphasis added]

Wallin also states:

the weight of the evidence convincingly establishes that furloughed Mainline pilots remained in that furlough status while they worked for MDA. Given that fact, the clear language of Mainline Agreement Section 23(A) precludes those pilots from receiving longevity credit for the time they spent working at MDA. Although not all of the MDA pilots were furloughed from Mainline because they came to MDA from other sources, there is no language in the Mainline Agreement that would operate to treat them better than the pilots who were furloughed from Mainline. [Wallin Award, pages 27 and 28, emphasis added]

Lastly, in this MDA Longevity grievance award wherein the association (first ALPA, then USAPA) sought to have MDA pilots longevity recognized as time in service at US Airways (which the company vigorously fought), it states:

For its part, the Company conceded that many of the MDA pilots were treated as though they were credited with Mainline Agreement pay and benefits for their MDA service. However, according to the testimony of the Companys Vice President of Flight Operations, this was done by mistake. [Wallin Award, page 21, emphasis added]

In addition to these arbitration rulings, a federal court order in the Naugler et al v. ALPA (link) litigation likewise agrees these pilots never flew for mainline and were therefore properly accounted for in the Nicolau proceedings:

Plaintiffs are pilots who flew Embraer-170 aircraft for MidAtlantic Airways, a division of US Airways, from 2004, when MidAtlantic launched until 2006, when MidAtlantic operations ceased. At the time they flew for MidAtlantic, some of the plaintiffs had been furloughed from their positions at US Airways. Others had flown only for wholly-owned subsidiaries of US Airways. [Naugler Order, page 2, emphasis added]

The Naugler Order goes on to state:

Defendants [ALPA] argue that they did not breach their duty of fair representation because the seniority list submitted to the arbitrators was factually accurate. Plaintiffs [Naugler, et al] argue that the defendants breached their duty of fair representation by submitting a seniority list which erroneously placed plaintiffs at the bottom of the seniority list amongst other furloughed pilots and first officers by listing no furlough end date for them, but rather including their start and, if applicable, end dates with MDA, which, in effect, categorized them as remaining on furlough. According to plaintiffs, there was no need to list an MDA start date because each pilot's MDA start date should have been his furlough end date; in short, plaintiffs argue, flying for MDA constituted recall to the mainline. Plaintiffs assert that the List had the effect of not properly crediting their flight time at MDA as flight for the mainline and erroneously placed them at the bottom of the List.

Plaintiffs claim that, because MDA was flying on the mainline operating certificate as a division of the mainline, a recall to MDA was necessarily a recall to the mainline. Defendants, on the other hand, contend that, although MDA was a division of the mainline, there were separate agreements which governed working conditions at MDA and that, based on those separate agreements, the offer and acceptance of a position at MDA was not a recall to the mainline.

As explained above, flying for MDA was not the same as flying for the mainline, despite the fact that there was ambiguity as to MDA's corporate status at U.S. Airways. The undisputed record establishes that there were different working and employment conditions for pilots flying for MDA, governed by the 2002 Restructuring Agreement and LOA 84. Flight for MDA was not flight for the mainline. Most significantly, acceptance or rejection of employment at MDA did not affect a US Airways' pilot's seniority standing. In contrast, except in limited circumstances, a furloughed US Airways pilot who refused recall to US Airways lost his place on the seniority list. [Naugler Order, pages 16-17, emphasis added]

Given the foregoing, there is no conceivable way that the company's treatment of these pilots is now some sort of oversight, especially in light of the fact that some of the managers who testified on behalf of the company against the association remained at US Airways and continue to work at American Airlines, thus allowing the continued treatment of these pilots who weren't hired by the company in 2004 as if they were. This should alert all AA pilots to lingering cronyism and favoritism and should put everyone on guard against unfair or inequitable treatment in spite any assurances to the contrary (or contract, side-letter, arbitration ruling, or court order).

But Wait! There's More...

Nearly three years after the AWA/US Airways merger was consummated and more than one year after that seniority arbitration was issued, management decided it needed a reduction-in-force and announced the furlough of 175 West, and 125 East pilots in July 2008. Due largely to a concerted effort to avoid integrated operations under the Nicolau Award, no JCBA had been reached and furloughs were initiated separately, allegedly in accordance with the Transition Agreement (TA) then in effect (which was substantially the same as the MOU in many ways). The TA is attached to this email as Exhibit 3. The Transition Agreement States:

America West may hire new pilots if all pilots on the US Airways seniority list have been offered recall to US Airways or have been offered a pilot position at America West. New pilots hired during the Separate Operations will be placed by their date of hire on a third seniority list entitled New Hire Seniority List, will be junior to all pilots on the pilot seniority lists of America West and US Airways on the effective date of this Letter of Agreement, and will continue to be junior to those pilots on the integrated seniority list of America West and US Airways pilots. [Paragraph II. B. 7, emphasis added]

Notice how the above paragraph addresses only US Airways pilots being hired at AWA due to the vastly different financial conditions of the airlines when this agreement was negotiated, but nonetheless states that New Hire pilots will junior to all pilots on the seniority lists of both airlines on the effective date. Nonetheless (and almost as an afterthought located in the final sub-paragraph of Section II) the TA does state, [i]n the event of America West furloughs, furlough references in this Letter of Agreement will be modified to apply to both pilot groups.

After the downturn of 08-09, the company did begin to hire again on the US Airways side and did offer furloughed West pilots jobs in the East operation, in accordance with the above language, except it placed those pilots below the new hire pilots as defined in the TA. The company and USAPA finally rectified this situation in February 2013 after some of the furloughed West pilots had suffered under this erroneous seniority scheme for several years. But, this correction failed to rectify the situation in that it failed to move the furloughed West pilots to their proper place above these MDA pilots whom the company, even at that time, maintained the position that they were not entitled to longevity for time spent at MDA. If they weren't entitled to that longevity (and weren't furloughed from US Airways), then they didn't work for US Airways when the TA became effective and therefore must be treated as New Hire Pilots in accordance with the language outlined in the Transition Agreement Paragraphs II. B. 7 cited above. The USAPA update announcing this rearranging of the seniority list is attached to this email as Exhibit 4, in addition to the two letters cited therein (Exhibits 5 and 6).

And as for the West LOS List...

On the LOS List for West pilots, Dean (and the company, we suppose) has determined to treat furloughed West pilots who declined a job offer to the East operation as if they had deferred recall. This is incorrect, as the language of the Transition Agreement (under which they declined the offer and which is substantially the same as JCBA Supplement D) imposed no penalty for declining a job offer to the opposite carrier. Yet, their 2-year LOS bonus could theoretically be reduced by the time Dean says they deferred (when they didn't). A job offer to the East was never the same as a recall to the West, and therefore must not count against the LOS bump, yet this is how deferrals are accounted for on the West list despite no written obligation to take said offer and no explicit penalty for declining. The number of individuals affected is small as is the net effect (if any), but we believe the integrity of the process should be respected. When this has been brought to Dean's attention, it has been dismissed as meaningless and no revised list has been offered.

We want all AA pilots to receive their LOS bumps as soon as possible, but given the easily found flaws in these lists, we are forced to question their authenticity and integrity as a whole. The disparities in the LOS lists present an opportunity to shed light on the ongoing favoritism afforded to certain subgroups within our pilot ranks which must not be allowed to continue.

And in Our Next Episode...

...we will discuss recently announced changes in Flight Operations management and our experience with the outgoing VP of Flight Operations, and will try to return to a nuts-and-bolts discussion in the application of the JCBA and some of the differences from Contract 2004 which should be useful in your day-to-day professional life. In future updates we will continue to address other inequities foist upon management's disfavored employees. The foregoing LOS debacle is merely the tip of the iceberg and we will soon outline more factual history which, when viewed in the best light, paints a picture of startling disparate treatment. Time will tell if this is intentional or not.

Stay tuned,

John and Eric

John Scherff

PHX Chairman

Eric Ferguson

PHX Vice Chairman
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