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Old 03-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #1  
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Default A little Clairification on Arbitration & ALPA Merger Policy

Recenly USAirays arbitration went horribly wrong and the result was very unhappy east pilots and lottery winning mentality west pilots. Should such a lopsided windfall happen? ALPA would have you to believe that only a "few" east Airways pilots were unhappy with the arbitrators decision when in fact ALL see it as a travesty.

Recently ALPA national changed their merger policy which had been standing since ALPA's existance of merging two ALPA carriers by date of hire and negotiating fences. Why did they do this and did they roll call every ALPA pilot for a vote to change this policy? I didn't see a vote. The executive council opened pandora's box and got rid of "date of hire" as the basis for mergers and made the entire merger pocess completely "negotiable". Why? There's no known for sure fact but a guess is that the pilots of the executive council worked for an Airline that was afraid if they merged with someone else then their own personal seniority would suffer and they'd rather play the lottery than know they'd be made less senior with a fair date of hire policy. Greed and selfeshness. Again was this change put out for a vote? Unions are supposed to be democratic so I've heard.

Our entire world as pilots is based on date of hire. Can you image a day or month of flying without it? What if it didn't exist? Schedules, vacations, pay, benefits would be based on whatever you could personally negotiate with your cheif pilot and schedulers. That would lead to favoritism, favors, and coersion. It would be utter chaos. Pilots would start to hate one another because one got something better than the other. Fear and deception would be the norm in the cockpit and it would be ugly. There has to be a baseline rule and whether we like it or not seniority based on our date of hire is that rule that we've all learned to live with. You may have flown more years and bigger airplanes than your Capt, but he is more senior than you and you accept that. Mergers and consolidations are no different. There has to be a baseline and seniority is all we have. Some will be happy and some will not but it's the golden pilot rule that we all accepted when we decided to be pilots.

ALPA got rid of this rule for mergers and thus has completely left it up to the pilot groups and ultimately one arbitrator to make the decision. With no baseline will two pilot groups ever agree on a merged list? You can look at Delta and Northwest and see the problems already. So 99% of the time the two groups don't agree and it goes to an arbitrator (judge). Why ALPA constitues one man instead of a jury to do this is beyond all reasoning. One man is more subject to personal opinions, being "gotten to" by one side or the other, etc. And when this judge comes up with a one-sided ruling like in the USAir / AW case, chaos again surfaces. AW pilots say, "well you agreed to arbitration so you get what you deserve". Well it's not that simple. First of all you expect any judge to be fair. And on the rate occasion like this when they are not fair there is an appeals process just like in any court case. Imagine for a minute that you live on a half acre piece of property and your neighbor next door also lives on a half acre piece of property. You're neighbor puts up a fence and you disagree that it's on your property or his. Well there is a definitive base or rule in place called "property lines" that is a base rule to settle the disagreement. Much like the base rule of date of hire seniority in our world. Let's say there were no propertly lines and the city said, "No rules. Work it out yourselves and if not go to a judge for a final decision". Well the whole problem in the first place is you and your neighbor disagree so you go to the judge and expect him to rule fairly. It may sway a bit in favor of one or the other neighbors but overall it should be fair. Well let's say this judge completely awards one neighbor the others' property. One neighbor feels like he just won the lottery and one neighbor is left with nothing for no rational reason. Just the decision of one man based on no rules. Maybe the judge was a friend with the neighbor he awarded to. No rules = chaos. So should the slighted neighbor just accept it? Most certainly he will appeal.

This is what has happened with the USAir merger. There was no rule and one side got it all and one side was left with virtually nothing. Now you would hope based on humanity that the neighbor that got it all would say, "Man I didn't expect or even want all your property. That's not fair. Let's work something out." That would be the decent and human thing to do. But there are those that would take it all. Unfortunately in the USAir merger the east side who lost it all came to the west side and said, "This is obviously not fair. Can we work something out?" The response was, "Buzz off. We won". Funny how lives and careers have turned into a contest with a winner and loser.

So now the neighbor that got it all tells his neighbor that lost it all to stop wining. And now that the neighbor that lost it all is appealing that's just keeping this other guy from claiming his property so he's peeved and starts calling him names and doing whatever he can to ruin the other guy. The guy who lost it all wants a retrial and another judge. Unfortunately even if he gets a retrial, another judge and a fair ruling, the neighbor who got it all now thinks and convinces himself that because one man said it then it's "owed" to him eventhough he knows deep down that it was not fair. Lawsuits back and forth will follow and everyone loses. If there was just a simple rule like property lines then there would be a mostly fair outcome and chaos would not ensue.

I draw this parallel to point out that there has to be rules. With ALPA merger policy there is no rule. The merger of two pilot groups is completely open to whatever each side can get whether it be fair or not. Whomever gets the lucky judge. Why again is there no rule in the union? No sure public reason but it probably has to do with greed of the few at the top making the decisions. There's a conflict of interest and for it we all suffer. Ultimately all pilots in this country should be working together to benefit us all. That is the true idea of a union. But as we see the way it currently operates it actually harms us. A true union would be more like a guild with one master seniority list that would prevent us from stabbing one another in the back. The current system promotes greed and selfeshness and management uses this against us.

This is why the USAirways east pilot are seeking another union. They realise that no longer does this large union that they pay millions into annually really represent their best interests. The new union USAPA has made it constitutional that the rule of date of hire seniority rules and is the base for all negotiations. They also made it constitutional that all decisions, changes in policy, etc are madatorily put our for vote to all pilots. USAir pilots lost their retirement based on the union's decision and agreement with the company and was never put out to a vote. ALPA instituted their emergency authority not to call for a vote. Even if the company threatened to liquidate if the pilots didn't give up their retirement (which they always threaten to do when they want concessions) it should be up to the pilots via a vote and not up to a couple at the top.

I write this so that those of you that are non-USAir pilots will understand what is going on. There has been a lot of mud slinging (again more pilots stabbing each other in the back) and hopefully you will be level headed and support and understand why the merger mess has led ALL USAirways pilots to seek other union representation. We are all brothers in this business and let us not forget that.
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:18 PM   #2  
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Your letter is incorrect. DOH was not and never has been ALPA merger policy. DOH was one factor among many areas that could be used in determining how to merge a seniority list. Many ALPA mergers did not go DOH. DAL-Western I can assure you did not go DOH as a former western pilot. Fences were never mentioned in the merger policy. The recent change you mention I believe occurred in 1991 if you consider 17 years recent. The change removed DOH as a consideration from many of the components of the merger policy. If DOH was ever the merger policy then you would not have had any negotiations for seniority list during that time frame. Thats not what happened. It was simply one consideration from a list of about 8 items that were supposed to be taken into consideration.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:59 AM   #3  
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Sailingfun, ALPA merger policy did contain DOH and was changed at the ALPA EC board meeting in 1991 by the United reps. This was done after the first try at merging UAL and AAA when the UAL mec saw what DOH with AAA would do to them. They knew that Management would try this merger again...and it did. Because of the UAL reps putting the change on the table and having the other(DAL,NWA) reps at the EC meeting go along with it, when the 2 merger committees from UAL and AAA met the UAL team sat down told the AAA guys to sit quietly while they were told "how the merger will happen". The change in merger policy was done for one reason only and that was to screw the pilots of AAA. I'm sorry you got "screwed" by the DAL guys but your statement of no mergers being done by DOH is just wrong. I was hired by ALLEGHENY...Allegheny merged with Lake Central and MOWHAWK(as in Allegheny-Mowhawk LPPs , yes we do know what says ...we wrote it) then became USAir and merged with PSA and Piedmont using DOH with fences and restrictions. Doh was the primary consideration in merging lists unless you were at a smaller carrier, you know Western,TWA,Empire....and then the other Big carrier ruled...just like UAL changing ALPA merger policy to remove DOH so that they wouldn't be "harmed" by the smaller but more senior AAA.

Last edited by War Eagle 83; 03-25-2008 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:33 AM   #4  
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War Eagle, You need to reread my post. I did not say no mergers went DOH. I stated many did not. Your statement about 1991 is exactly what I posted. Prior to 1991 DOH was one consideration in ALPA merger policy that could be used in constructing a list. It was not the merger policy. There were many other considerations then just as there are now. DOH was removed in 1991 as one of those considerations. The initial post implied that very recently ALPA merger policy was changed from straight DOH to what we have now. The post was factual very wrong as you confirmed in your post.
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