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Old 01-23-2010, 10:06 PM   #1  
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Default APA BOD Letter

This letter from Greg Shayman, vice chairman of the Allied Pilots Association pilot base at Dallas/Fort Worth, is long, so please click to read it.
Crossroads at APA

This is a letter I truly wish did not have to be written. As most of you know, the APA Board of Directors was recently compelled to take dramatic steps in order to try to correct some serious institutional problems. APA's membership cannot be expected to make informed decisions unless they have access to the facts - all the facts. Armed with the facts, I am confident the APA membership will understand the challenges APA faces and how the Board has been trying to resolve them.

For the first 21 months of the current National Officers' tenure, they enjoyed the full support of the APA Board of Directors. Captain Hill brought in his own people and staffed the committees with the individuals he wanted. The budgets he proposed to fund APA committees, consultants, and campaigns were approved. They were supported, both publicly and privately."

Runaway Spending

It became increasingly apparent to many on the APA Board that the National Officers had lost their way. Strategic plans were not materializing, there was no progress being made toward a new contract and serious judgment errors were occurring with alarming frequency. Valuable pilot volunteers were being lost due to personality conflicts with the National Officers. The president has proven to be an extremely indecisive individual, raising serious questions regarding his leadership abilities and causing enormous frustration throughout headquarters. Hard-working union volunteers accomplished assigned tasks and then their work sat for months on Captain Hill's desk awaiting disposition. In one case, a volunteer who had served APA for more than 12 consecutive years was fired via e-mail by Captain Hill without explanation."

APA's president was spending enormous sums of money with little to show for it. The National Officers, who are responsible for administering the APA budget, allowed the IT Department to severely overspend their 2009 budget without Board approval, in violation of the APA Policy Manual. When the Board learned of the massive overspending, the IT Department had spent $460,000 more than their entire yearly budget with three months left in the fiscal year. The BOD was forced to step in and approve a "supplemental budget," which provided an additional $340,000 in funding just to keep the IT Department operating. In all, the IT Department spent nearly $1.7 million last year. Perhaps more importantly, no identifiable benefit to the membership has been identified."

In early 2009, in response to the growing leadership crisis at headquarters, the APA Board of Directors was compelled to establish a Board of Directors Duty Officer program. Its only purpose was to monitor the actions of the National Officers.

Unfortunately, while millions and millions of dollars were spending, including $6.6 million in deficit spending last year, no progress was made toward achieving a contract. Setting the example, Captain Hill himself rarely spends much more than a "48" at APA headquarters, flying in on Tuesday and leaving on Thursday. Captain Mark Stephens, who was Captain Hill's handpicked chairman of the Negotiating Committee, puts himself through law school while being paid by APA on full-time union leave. Considering the intensely rigorous demands of law school, this raises a number of questions regarding the use of union funds as well as personal priorities and the pace of negotiations. Recognizing that APA's treasury was being depleted at an unsustainable rate, the APA BOD had to step in to control the runaway spending in order to maintain the viability of the organization.

Burning Bridges

Under the direction of Lloyd Hill, APA has been viewed by important outside entities as a union of hard-line radicals, out of touch with reality and intent on pursuing a scorched-earth agenda. While some pilots may think this is a desirable tone to adopt, it has, in fact, been disastrous. With respect to such entities as the White House, the National Mediation Board and the arbitrators who have recently dealt APA several devastating defeats, this negative perception has been a factor in decisions that have frozen progress on a new contract and dealt a serious blow to our scope clause. Critically, the Hill administration has alienated many important potential APA allies such as ALPA, TWU and the NMB. APA's membership was needlessly put at risk for months as Captains Hill and [vice president Tom] Westbrook failed to complete a straightforward update of our ASAP agreement, which the Flight Department also badly wanted.

Angry rhetoric, publicity stunts and communications such as the "blood money" letter to AMR CEO Arpey - which was authored by all three National Officers - set the tone for the current administration as out-of-touch extremists. Along with the equally ill-advised "British Airways/Iberia" letters, these documents contributed to ultimately undermine APA with the arbitrator in charge of the 7,300 Cockpit Crewmember Floor arbitration. Under this APA administration, the defeat to scope was a spectacular failure for APA. As a result of this arbitration decision, AMR is now able to furlough more than 1,500 additional pilots at AA before Scope Cockpit Crewmember Floor provisions in our CBA [collective bargaining agreement] trigger any negative ramifications at Eagle. This is a tremendous blow to the protections in our scope clause. Equally damaging is the fact that when the NMB considers its options, particularly in a situation where a major disruption to commerce is possible, factors such as the irresponsible militancy and the demands of a union's leadership are important considerations in their decision-making process.

The ill-advised letters sent by Hill, Westbrook and [secretary-treasurer Bill] Haug were executed without the knowledge or participation of the APA Board. Additionally, in July 2009, without consultation or approval of the APA Board, Captain Hill signed LOA [Letter of Agreement] 09-01, SLT Displacements, thereby making it part of our CBA. This letter guarantees that only former TWA pilots receive displacement protections that were not included in the original Supplement CC language. These, along with the recent JAL press release, are just a few of many clear examples why the Board recently acted to curtail Captain Hill's capability to inflict harm to the Association.

Failed Strategies & Tactics

As time progressed under Captain Hill's administration, members of the APA Board became more and more disillusioned by the ineffective and unprofessional strategies pursued by the National Officers.

Their decision to authorize billboards attacking American Airlines or to conduct unannounced "visits" to the AMR Board members' businesses in an attempt to somehow influence negotiations failed miserably. Until the Board finally intervened, one of the Hill administration's primary "strategies" for obtaining a contract was a costly plan to publicly criticize AMR by championing AA's passenger service failures. Predictably, all it accomplished was alienating some of APA's own membership. Unfortunately, the pattern of bad judgment has created an environment where cooperation between AMR and APA is nearly non-existent - even in areas of mutual benefit.

The issues relating to alternative self-help (ASH) and the Hill/Stephens effort to "flip the NMB" are even more serious examples of inexperience and poor judgment. These "strategies" formed the cornerstone of the Hill/Stephens NMB strategic plan. In reality, ASH was a foolish and dangerous idea - nothing less than a poorly considered grand deception, designed to deceive not only the APA Board, but the NMB itself. The NMB was not fooled and made that explicitly clear to APA's president and negotiating chairman in meetings held in Washington, D.C. - but that's not the lesson that Hill and Stephens brought back to the APA Board. Fortunately, suspecting they were being misled, the APA Board sent its own witnesses to attend a meeting with the NMB last July, and they subsequently reported the truth to the APA Board. These are just some of the many reasons a number of APA Board members decided it was time to change certain members of the Negotiating Committee.

Strategic Planning

Starting in the summer of 2008, no less than three attempts were made to try to bring order to chaos by reconfiguring the Strategic Planning Committee under the authority of Lloyd Hill. All three attempts by Hill to direct the development of a coherent strategy for the union were complete failures. More than a year was lost as the APA Board gave the president every chance it could to demonstrate some semblance of effective leadership.

Under pressure from the Board to product some results, Captains Hill, Stephens and Hill's handpicked Communications Committee chairman traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with APA's consultants to formulate a plan. When they returned from those meetings - in a scene that could honestly be described as something coming from "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" - the Communications Committee chairman presented their plan to the APA Board. In a nutshell, their plan for forcing AMR to the bargaining table was to direct APA's pilots to report to work wearing blue jeans or with their pockets turned inside out. They were dead serious in this recommendation. Many of their other proposals were even more bizarre. Had the APA Board actually approved these proposals, the ridicule and disciplinary hearings would have occupied APA leadership for months, as they ran damage control for those pilots who had assumed the union knew what it was doing and followed such an inane directive. Bear in mind that it was the Board of Directors that vetoed that operation.

Another top advisor to the Hill administration was Captain Rob Sproc, who was Hill's handpicked Strike Preparedness Committee Chairman (SPC). Captain Sproc's view of how to persuade AMR to bargain in good faith was to spend large sums of money setting up events that would have pilots perform harassment picketing in front of the homes of AA Flight Department managers, at the annual AMR shareholder meeting and at the businesses of AMR Board members. Under Sproc's direction, SPC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on events dubbed National Action Days (NAD), which were essentially publicity rallies for Lloyd Hill. The NADs were not part of any overall comprehensive plan - except to serve as a distribution channel for the colored kit bag handles - and there was no pre-planned, follow-on action. Sproc was also involved in efforts orchestrated by Hill and Westbrook to undermine domicile officers at their base meetings, which still continue today. Ultimately, Captain Sproc only garnered four out 18 votes when he stood for re-election by the BOD in June 2009.

As a result of these and many other internal events, the APA Board began to pursue actions to pull the union out of the nosedive initiated by its National Officers. Unfortunately, Captains Hill, Westbrook and Haug have largely refused to cooperate with the Board in this recovery, claiming instead to have a "mandate" directly from the membership empowering them to act as they please, regardless of the APA Constitution or the harm they were doing to the Association.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:07 PM   #2  
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Default Part 2

The Censure

After several months of failed attempts to work with the National Officers in private to pursue rational and achievable objectives in a professional manner, the APA Board of Directors exhausted its options and made the collective decision to hold the National Officers accountable for their consistent refusal to follow the chain of command established in APA's governing documents.

The final straws for the APA Board were the failure of the ASAP negotiations and the alternative self-help fiasco. Both of these crises were telling examples of the depth of the dysfunction within the Hill administration. After months of fruitless posturing, your National Officers proved themselves incapable of concluding an ASAP agreement with the Flight Department. Knowing the importance of ASAP to our pilot's careers, the APA Board finally took control of those talks away from the National Officers, sent in new representatives to meet with management, and reached an agreement that met APA's objectives - in very short order.

The subsequent censure of the National Officers, which the BOD overwhelming passed by a vote of 14-4, was an attempt to bring APA's president and vice president into compliance with their Constitutional roles and duties. In hindsight, I should have immediately come out publicly with the details of why I supported the motion of censure. At the time, we kept it largely in-house, hoping the censure would send a wake-up call to the National Officers about their obligation to carry out the policies and directives of the Board of Directors (the sole governing body responsible for determining APA policy and direction).

To put it bluntly, these were just a few examples of the kind of damage which can occur when APA has highly inexperienced individuals occupying National Officer positions. In the current administration, only the president has any significant APA experience. His two top advisors, the vice president and secretary-treasurer, had done very little APA work prior to seeking office.

Unfortunately, experience, sound judgment and leadership ability cannot be legislated by the APA Board. Lacking the Constitutional authority to remove any of the National Officers, your APA Board of Directors is severely constrained in taking the actions necessary to return APA to productive functionality. Knowing they are safe from recall by the APA Board, Hill, Westbrook and Haug have continued to pursue a path of internal conflict and confrontation, which has been a consistent hallmark of Lloyd Hill's APA career. Meanwhile, AMR management is watching from the sidelines and enjoying the spectacle while careers of all APA pilots continue to suffer every day this continues.

Fortunately, there is good news. Due to the work recently completed by the Strategic Planning Committee (which is now directed solely by the Board), APA finally has a comprehensive plan for the pursuit of a new contract. Accompanying this plan is a budget designed to work within the means of the Association while providing maximum return for the membership. The National Officers will have a role to play in the strategic plan, should they decide to participate, but the plan will proceed, regardless, under the direction of the APA Board.

The journey that has taken us to this point has not been easy, and the APA Board of Directors has struggled to find workable solutions. There are certainly differences of opinion among the Board members on how to proceed, adding to the challenge of recovery. However, the APA Board is committed to delivering a restorative contract to the membership at the earliest opportunity.

What I've outlined here are just some of the obstacles and challenges confronting your APA Board of Directors. As a fellow line pilot, I am committed to full and open disclosure with all of you. I urge all APA members to pay close attention to the issues facing us all. It is important the choices you make going forward are based on facts, reason and common sense - not hearsay, emotion or partisan politics.

DFW Vice Chairman First Officer Greg Shayman

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Sounds like the pilot group is as disfunctional as AMR...
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:11 AM   #3  
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Holy crap. I knew things were bad at APA, but had no clue it was this bad.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:29 AM   #4  
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Over a year ago, I made several posts regarding the rudderless dysfunctionality of the APA and was ridiculed for it.

The "captain" of this ship and his first and second mates have steered this boat right at the rocks and refuse to acknowledge that they cannot defeat the rocks. Since it appears the captain cannot be ousted, the ship continues its path and will surely scorch the earth alright..........when it finally slams into the rocks.

The truly scary part is that many of the crew believe the rocks CAN be defeated by the bow and are fully advocating slamming into them to try and prove just that.

The only winners on this course are AMR and Davy Jones' locker.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:58 AM   #5  
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Originally Posted by eaglefly View Post
Over a year ago, I made several posts regarding the rudderless dysfunctionality of the APA and was ridiculed for it.

The "captain" of this ship and his first and second mates have steered this boat right at the rocks and refuse to acknowledge that they cannot defeat the rocks. Since it appears the captain cannot be ousted, the ship continues its path and will surely scorch the earth alright..........when it finally slams into the rocks.

The truly scary part is that many of the crew believe the rocks CAN be defeated by the bow and are fully advocating slamming into them to try and prove just that.

The only winners on this course are AMR and Davy Jones' locker.
I don't think this is a bad signal for the APA. The problem with electing National Officers by popular membership is that the easy message of "vote for me and I will make it all better" is the cheap way to get elected. If running a union and getting contractual improvements were easy, then it would be done by now. It is not a matter of being manly or "growing a pair" or being nasty to management. None of those things matter one whit.

What you have is the Board of Directors, the elected reps that are closest to the line pilots, taking control of the union and changing direction. The last few years have not been a good time for AMR so it is unlikely that any great opportunities have been passed up. What you see is the BOD recognizing that in today's environment adopting the in your face tactics so popular on the web boards is just a ticket to failure. Real adults do not respond to this type of intimidation and more often it results in negative consequences. Does anyone think Arpey read the "blood money" memo and started feeling bad about how he has treated the pilots and decided to change his evil ways?

So it looks like the pilots of the APA, through their elected representatives, are taking control of their futures. That is not a bad thing. A little ugly to watch, but not a bad thing.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:42 AM   #6  
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I don't think this is a bad signal for the APA. The problem with electing National Officers by popular membership is that the easy message of "vote for me and I will make it all better" is the cheap way to get elected. If running a union and getting contractual improvements were easy, then it would be done by now. It is not a matter of being manly or "growing a pair" or being nasty to management. None of those things matter one whit.

What you have is the Board of Directors, the elected reps that are closest to the line pilots, taking control of the union and changing direction. The last few years have not been a good time for AMR so it is unlikely that any great opportunities have been passed up. What you see is the BOD recognizing that in today's environment adopting the in your face tactics so popular on the web boards is just a ticket to failure. Real adults do not respond to this type of intimidation and more often it results in negative consequences. Does anyone think Arpey read the "blood money" memo and started feeling bad about how he has treated the pilots and decided to change his evil ways?

So it looks like the pilots of the APA, through their elected representatives, are taking control of their futures. That is not a bad thing. A little ugly to watch, but not a bad thing.
Right now, how much control can they take ?

It's just my opinion, but this level of disarray goes a bit beyond what could be considered bumps in the road, differences of stategy or the evolutionary cycle of a specific leadership. In its current state with its current philosophy, disasterous faliure is vitually certain.

Even if they could remove the current leadership, the most difficult hurdle would be a convincing of the membership that ultimately compromise on critical issues will be necessary and that some painful realities will ultimately be faced. That alone could take years as too many will not be satisified with anything less than total capitulation. Emotion is in the drivers seat now and that's ALWAYS a bad thing.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #7  
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Yes, another pilot union leader who thinks by raising a big stink with a pitchfork and a razor tongue he'll get progress against the compAAny.

I appreciate the job the BOD is doing to right this sinking APA ship.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:11 AM   #8  
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Totally agree that the BOD is doing the right thing 'controlling' the elected guy. Just hope they don't keep pushing the crazy demands.
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:41 AM   #9  
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Lee Moak doesn't look so bad right about now, does he?
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Old 01-29-2010, 05:49 AM   #10  
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Lee Moak doesn't look so bad right about now, does he?
Actually, he looks like John Darrah or Ralph Hunter.
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