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Old 04-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #1  
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Arrow Letter from APA to pilots on merger

Fellow pilots,

It was announced this morning that the three unions at American Airlines—Allied Pilots Association, Transport Workers Union and Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing a total of 55,000 front-line employees—have agreed to support US Airways’ bid for a merger between American Airlines and US Airways. This endeavor has been underway for many months and your APA leadership has been in direct discussions with the senior leadership at US Airways since early March. In this letter, I want to explain why APA decided to support a merger, how the process came about, what the new American Airlines would look like, and provide a brief overview of what APA has already negotiated as the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement.

AMR’s Business Plan

The APA leadership does not believe that AMR’s business plan will produce an airline that is viable long term. I’ll just summarize with this: while AMR’s network and route structure have withered during the past decade, those at United and Delta have grown larger and stronger, resulting in the steady defection of American Airlines’ corporate accounts and vital high-value customers. A big component of AMR’s plan for restructuring is to force massive concessions on unionized employees to reduce them to below-market compensation. Another primary element is to rework the “Cornerstone” plan to try to bring in additional revenue by down-gauging AMR’s fleet and through dramatically expanded domestic code sharing. Combined with the substantially increased productivity management seeks and the large-scale outsourcing of pilot jobs that management envisions, the result would be a major loss of pilot jobs at American Airlines. The effects would be catastrophic, including further stagnation for a pilot group that has already suffered from the industry’s longest time to upgrade to captain.

Our Futures

Management has told us that we should be excited because AMR has ordered new aircraft and has options to purchase more. New aircraft orders — which primarily will go toward replacing our fuel-guzzling S80 fleet — do not constitute job security for our pilots. Most of the Wall Street analysts view American Airlines management’s efforts to achieve network parity with Delta and United as “too little, too late.” The same analysts also believe any such effort would probably destabilize an industry that has finally gained some meaningful degree of pricing power. We also need to be mindful of the fact that management intends to impose regional airline pay rates on large numbers of new Airbus aircraft—not an especially appealing prospect. So exactly how do pilots benefit from being displaced into much lower-paying equipment?

Management’s Vision for a New Pilot Contract

Based on management’s actions to date, their vision—quite simply—consists of rejecting our contract entirely. They are on the Harvey Miller high-speed train to terminate our contract in bankruptcy court (Miller was Frank Lorenzo’s lawyer at Continental and Eastern. He is now AMR’s lead restructuring attorney). Management has made no moves at the table that suggest any interest in trying to arrive at a consensual agreement. While APA has taken the high road and made every effort to negotiate in good faith, management has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt they’re not interested in reciprocating.

The New American Airlines

First and foremost, the combined carrier will be branded American Airlines, based in Fort Worth Texas and headquartered at CentrePort. It will be comparable in size and scope to Delta and United, with a robust domestic network capable of supporting significant international expansion. American Airlines’ relationship with oneworld will be maintained and strengthened. All of American Airlines’ aircraft orders with Boeing and Airbus will proceed. The former US Airways route system will be realigned with the American Airlines system to add more cities, more markets and better frequencies. The new American Airlines, under a lean, energetic and highly capable management team, will be able to compete on an equal footing to win back high-value customers. On the East Coast, which is the largest and most lucrative airline market in the world, American Airlines will go from No. 5 to a strong No. 1. In the Midwest, we will go from No. 4 to No. 1. In Miami, our dominance to South America will be enhanced by stronger East Coast traffic flows. For the first time in years, American Airlines will be in a position of strength in Chicago.

How Did We Get Here?

As your APA leadership has been emphasizing for some time, we are committed to evaluating all available alternatives to AMR management’s restructuring plan in an effort to provide a better outcome for our pilots. US Airways’ senior management has made no secret of their desire to further the process of industry consolidation by joining with American Airlines. For many months, a team from US Airways has been making presentations to various Wall Street analysts and investors, including one of APA’s advisers. After being briefed on the substance of the US Airways presentation, I initiated a dialogue with that airline’s leadership, which resulted in a series of meetings beginning last month. Their vision was compelling. Shortly thereafter, the APA Board of Directors was briefed and they gave a “thumbs up” to continue exploring a potential merger.

The Negotiations

When it started becoming clear that a merger with US Airways was a superior alternative to AMR’s stand-alone plan—and with the support from the APA Board of Directors—we assembled a team to begin substantive discussions with the senior leadership at US Airways. Accompanying me to Phoenix for those discussions were members of the APA Negotiating, Scope, Industry Analysis, Technical Analysis and Contingency Committees, as well APA’s General Counsel, bankruptcy counsel and a delegation from investment adviser Lazard. At this point, US Airways began discussions with the leadership at APFA and TWU, which had begun to evaluate this alternative course of action.

Working with US Airways, APA was able to achieve in just over a week far more than we had been able to achieve in more than five years of trying to bargain with AMR management. Our interaction with US Airways was in stark contrast to what we have been experiencing with AMR. We dealt directly with the people whose jobs are to run an airline. Many of the talks consisted of president-to-president interaction. In accordance with the APA Constitution and Bylaws, there were always two members of the APA Negotiating Committee present during these negotiations. Completely absent from the discussion were the posturing and game-playing that characterizes the approach AMR management takes when dealing with us.

Returning from Phoenix, we had accomplished a great deal toward constructing a framework for an agreement, but we still had several important unresolved issues to address. We convened a special APA Board of Directors meeting and the Board remained in session as the unresolved issues were negotiated. The APA Board of Directors then spent several days carefully studying and evaluating the plan of reorganization agreement. Upon the closeout of the last remaining issues, the APA Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the framework for a new CBA.

A New Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Pilots of American Airlines

APA has agreed with US Airways on a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement. Our agreement will be distilled into final contract language during the next 60 days and will be sent out for a membership ratification vote as specified in APA’s Constitution and Bylaws. Details on the specifics of the new CBA will be provided in a separate, upcoming communication from the APA Negotiating Committee. Please click here to access our special AA-US Airways merger page on the members’ side of alliedpilots.org. This page will be updated regularly as additional information becomes available.

A Good Day for APA

I would like to extend my personal thanks to the many APA officials and committee members who worked tirelessly to conclude this agreement. This includes my fellow National Officers, the APA Negotiating Committee, Scope Committee, Industry Analysis Committee, Pension Committee, APA Contingency Committee, Technical Analysis Committee, and last but certainly not least, the entire APA Board of Directors. All of these individuals have put in countless hours on behalf of their fellow pilots.

Still a Long Road Ahead

This merger, along with a new CBA and a much brighter future for American Airlines, is still far from certain. Chapter 11 restructuring is a difficult, complex process for all concerned.
I urge all pilots to stay informed and involved. We will keep you updated as events warrant.

In unity,
Captain Dave Bates
APA President
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:40 AM   #2  
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I would say this gurantees aa management will get, Or have the worse contract in history enforced on apa pilots
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:30 AM   #3  
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I would say this gurantees aa management will get, Or have the worse contract in history enforced on apa pilots

APA has nothing to lose here. The courts are a deadend and AA management has had 10+ years to come up with a plan to succeed. Maybe something (thinking) a bit out of the box isn't such a bad idea and in the creditors will believe in Parker's dream.

Who knows.. I am hoping something can come positive out of this.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #4  
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APA has nothing to lose here. The courts are a deadend and AA management has had 10+ years to come up with a plan to succeed. Maybe something (thinking) a bit out of the box isn't such a bad idea and in the creditors will believe in Parker's dream.

Who knows.. I am hoping something can come positive out of this.
I agree 100%. Im just saying the tools in AA management will take this as a cheap shot, and instead of getting the picture, they will most likely say bend over harder.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #5  
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Subject: Notes from APA Meeting

Name stays AA
HQ in DFW
US comes to Oneworld (hurts UAL)
Pay banding
Starting point is current green book.
5.5% raise on date of signing
3% / yrs 2-6, then avg of UAL/DAL
A319 no longer a sep payband
Vac goes to 3+40/day. Better accrual
Hard freeze & 14% DC Plan
PBS. US West pilots love it. Well managed. Lines 83. P/u to 90. Keep current rigs.
Scope committee is "giddy" with what is offered. Parker doesn't understand code share. He wants the revenue. Max Dom code share = 4% of total asm's.
Keeping AA's Boeing/Bus order. Very excited to get 787.
Unsure about AE. Parker wants to see books then decide. Hates 50 seaters. Prob convert most 319 orders to 320/321's.
Med costs will go from 14% to 17% (I think 1113 had it going to 26%.
Not a sure thing, but APA seems quite confident. No timeline given, more than 2 mos, possibly by end of summer. Horton is said to be steaming mad.
Seniority may go to expedited arbitration. Expect percentile in type over any DOH (aka DAL/NWA)
US East guys will get about 25-30% raise out of this.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:10 PM   #6  
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I agree 100%. Im just saying the tools in AA management will take this as a cheap shot, and instead of getting the picture, they will most likely say bend over harder.
Solid points as well
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:40 PM   #7  
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Why do folks think this "agreement" will circumvent the bankruptcy process? How is this in any fashion a "done deal" to the point there are discussions about an SLI?
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #8  
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Why do folks think this "agreement" will circumvent the bankruptcy process? How is this in any fashion a "done deal" to the point there are discussions about an SLI?
You're right, it's nowhere near a done deal. The employee groups each have a seat on the BK committee and Parker wants their support. I guess he learned his lesson with Delta, although this is a very different situation. Delta had one of the best CEOs in aviation already running things, that is definitely not the case with American. Parker can enter into agreements with the unions that will become binding if a merger does in fact occur.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:28 PM   #9  
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Wall street and creditors were all ready pretty much on board with the idea of a merger. Now all 3 unions are on board. Dont think theres much AMR can do about it even if they wanted to.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:36 PM   #10  
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I would hope the above mentioned details work out for AA pilots. That being said, US Airways management can agree to this so quick yet they have spent nearly a decade without a combined agreement from their last merger. You guys may think you are special in their eyes because you are APA pilots, well don't overlook US Airways management's past practices. While I no longer have personal skin in the game my family does (my brother is a 26 year US Airways, former Piedmont pilot) and the history at Airways is what it is. Their management could have inked a deal to combine their contracts and lists long long ago. Hope it works out for all of you and more so for my brother. Just realize that any management team doesn't have your best interest (as union members) in mind. And be fair to to old Airways guys cause the majority will be retiring in the next 5 years or so. Good luck, rant over.

Fraternally,
Purple coolaid drinker
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