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Old 10-24-2008, 05:57 PM   #1  
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Default 23 October SLI Transcript

Well, if there was ever a time when the judge was trying to get the combatants to listen...this is it.

If you haven't already read it, go to the Oct 23 SLI transcripts and read page 259 starting on line 10. Below is just the first few sentences from Chairman Bloch:

Numerous witnesses have alluded to the fact that this is a conglomeration of equals. You differ as to how equal, but I think Dr. Campbell was essentially correct in speaking of this being a merger and not some sort of an acquisition. I don't hear any serious argument from either side that one company is the savior of the other in this...


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Old 10-24-2008, 06:40 PM   #2  
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I know this preface will sound one-sided, but it's because I haven't heard any NWA guys say that our DOH proposal is totally fair and not be able to understand how a single DAL guy could be against it.

This is for the DAL guys who feel their proposal is the perfect choice that any arbitrator would choose. It's from the Oct 23 SLI transcript page 258 line 21, Chairman Bloch speaking:


This proceeding is the best evidence that there are very good arguments to be made on both sides of this issue and that they are being made, they have been made in this case. This is a tremendous opportunity for Northwest and for Delta. Competitively speaking and in every other way. In line with this process being proposed as a new venture as well, what we look to now and what I'm about to talk about, I think, is an essential adjunct of that process.


Because the positions of the parties differ very dramatically, it's clear enough that adopting one in its entirety -- one side's approach in its entirety by us will not generate, if that happens, the single-most valuable aspect of a successfully merged list, which is acceptability to as many pilots as possible.

The underlines are mine for emphasis.

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Old 10-24-2008, 07:47 PM   #3  
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I know this preface will sound one-sided, but it's because I haven't heard any NWA guys say that our DOH proposal is totally fair and not be able to understand how a single DAL guy could be against it.

This is for the DAL guys who feel their proposal is the perfect choice that any arbitrator would choose. It's from the Oct 23 SLI transcript page 258 line 21, Chairman Bloch speaking:


This proceeding is the best evidence that there are very good arguments to be made on both sides of this issue and that they are being made, they have been made in this case. This is a tremendous opportunity for Northwest and for Delta. Competitively speaking and in every other way. In line with this process being proposed as a new venture as well, what we look to now and what I'm about to talk about, I think, is an essential adjunct of that process.

Because the positions of the parties differ very dramatically, it's clear enough that adopting one in its entirety -- one side's approach in its entirety by us will not generate, if that happens, the single-most valuable aspect of a successfully merged list, which is acceptability to as many pilots as possible.

The underlines are mine for emphasis.

Carl



Sounds like we have at least one arbitrator with the wisdom of Solomon. I think we can have confidence that the arbitrtors will hand down a fair list.
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:38 AM   #4  
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Sounds like we have at least one arbitrator with the wisdom of Solomon. I think we can have confidence that the arbitrtors will hand down a fair list.
I agree. Wouldn't it even be better if we actually negotiated a fair list and didn't abdicate that role to the arbitrators? No editorial spin on either side's position--just a point.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:35 AM   #5  
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I agree. Wouldn't it even be better if we actually negotiated a fair list and didn't abdicate that role to the arbitrators? No editorial spin on either side's position--just a point.
If you read further down the transcript, Chairman Bloch says exactly what you've just said.

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Old 10-25-2008, 07:02 AM   #6  
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Wouldn't it even be better if we actually negotiated a fair list and didn't abdicate that role to the arbitrators?
Yes, and everybody in the arbitration room knows it. The arbitrators have to provide both sides with enough political "cover" to make the necessary compromises by "herding" them toward the center. They don't want to impose a list themselves.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:07 AM   #7  
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I agree. Wouldn't it even be better if we actually negotiated a fair list and didn't abdicate that role to the arbitrators? No editorial spin on either side's position--just a point.
Yes... And at least 1 (but maybe 2) MEC(s) publicly share your view. The MEC's at both airlines are elected to REPRESENT their groups. They were not elected to COWER behind an arbitrator, so they can blame him for what happens. A negotiated list can be done; it will require giving from both sides, but can be delivered with some hard work and integrity.

October 24, 2008
Dear Fellow Pilot,

Earlier this month, your Merger Representatives presented our direct case before the three-member SLI Arbitration Panel in Los Angeles and proposed an integrated seniority list based on ratioed category and status with certain "conditions and restrictions," commonly referred to as fences.

Today, the second set of hearing days concluded in Washington, D.C. This week, the Northwest MEC Merger Representatives presented their direct case for an integrated seniority list based on date of hire with certain conditions and restrictions as well as their rebuttal to our case.

The final set of three hearing days will take place on November 15-17 in Los Angeles. Your Merger Representatives will present our rebuttal case to the Northwest Merger Representatives’ proposal. Time and circumstances permitting, the Arbitration Panel may permit the parties to offer surrebuttal. The hearings will conclude with both sides offering closing arguments, each limited to no more than two hours.

Absent a negotiated agreement, the Arbitration Panel will issue a final and binding seniority list award within a reasonable period of time following the conclusion of the SLI hearings.

Your MEC’s preference has always been to reach an integrated seniority list through negotiations and we remain open and committed to that goal. We believe a fair and equitable negotiated list is, by definition, superior to any arbitrated award. The Arbitration Panel agrees. Last evening, Mr. Bloch, addressing both Merger Committees on behalf of the Panel, said:
"So from the standpoint of a process, letting this board decide must be regarded as a failure on the part of the committees. That's always the case in arbitration, but it's particularly poignant here, where the capabilities are so stunning within the group that is assembled in this hotel.

You're the best at it, and it really is your job. We will deliver a decision. That's why we're here. But the product you get from us will not be as good or as defensible as the one you craft yourselves."
There is still time to reach a negotiated agreement; however, that window is rapidly closing. Mr. Bloch added:
"The negotiating time is still available, and the opportunity is still available to resolve this or, at the very worst, to narrow the areas of disagreement so that you will be more involved in whatever ultimate decision comes from this board."
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Bloch and the rest of the Panel.

I want to provide you with a brief personal perspective regarding these arbitration hearings. Your Merger Committee members are conducting themselves professionally with focus and determination. They are doing an outstanding job of representing the position of the Delta pilots to reach a fair and equitable integrated seniority list. A fair and equitable list is not just a goal worthy of pursuit; it is an imperative—for both pilot groups. If you have followed the progress of the hearings through the next-day postings of the transcripts, you may have observed that the hearings have sometimes been adversarial and contentious. Each side is presenting its best case to the neutral panel and challenging the position of the other in an effort to prevail; that is the nature of arbitration.

That said, it is important we all remember that in a very short time, through one method or another, we will have a single integrated seniority list. The corporate merger between Delta and Northwest will likely soon close, the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement will become effective, and the Delta pilot ranks will grow by roughly 70 percent. We will make up the largest pilot group in the world working for the largest airline in the world.

Throughout this decade, we have faced seemingly endless challenges both as an industry and as a profession—the terrorist attacks of 9/11, corporate and labor contract restructurings both within and outside of bankruptcy, volatile oil prices and a weakening of both the domestic and global economies just to mention a few. The respites of "good news" have often been brief and eclipsed by the bad.

Despite the history of this past decade and current industry and career threats we face and will continue to face, I believe there is real and measurable reason for optimism. As we move forward as a pilot group, we must do so with genuine unity and identifiable resolve—not as "red book," "green book," or "blue book" and not even as pre-merger Delta pilots or pre-merger Northwest pilots, but as Delta pilots, over 12,000 strong.

Fraternally,
Lee Moak, Chairman
Delta MEC
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