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Old 09-30-2010, 11:49 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Apr 2009
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Default What the hell is ALPA Leadership thinking?

Read this on the Delta Pilots Assn link.

TO: ALPA Executive Board

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It has been nearly a year since I last communicated with you. I know that you are periodically briefed by ALPA management on the relationship between ALPA and Unit 1. As you know only too well, however, the views of management and labor on any issue are rarely the same. I am writing now to provide you with Unit 1's view of the current state of affairs between ALPA and Unit 1, which I think is likely to be more accurate that the self-serving version provided by ALPA management.

When I took over as Unit 1 president in July 2009, ALPA had already RIF'ed or terminated a number of Unit 1 employees, unilaterally discontinued ALPA's merit pay program, declared an impasse in contract negotiations and imposed wage and benefit reductions - all in violation of federal labor law. The conclusion that ALPA acted unlawfully is the view, not just of Unit 1, but also of the NLRB General Counsel, who has issued several unfair labor practice complaints against ALPA.

One of my first actions as president was to meet with Capt. Prater in an effort to get the parties back to the bargaining table. As a result of these efforts, the parties agreed to meet on July 17, 18 and 19. Those negotiations, however, broke off on the morning of July 18th after ALPA gummed up the works. Since then, Unit 1 and ALPA have met three additional times in an effort to reach an agreement, without success. I think that it is important to note that the spring 2009 contract proposal made by Unit 1, if accepted, would have saved ALPA approximately two million dollars.

On August 17, 2010, representatives of ALPA management and representatives of Unit 1 met with officials of the NLRB in Baltimore to ascertain whether the several unfair labor practice cases against ALPA could be settled. If that meeting was not an eye-opening experience for ALPA management, it surely should have been. The NLRB regional attorney explained to the parties that ALPA's liability for its unlawful conduct could well exceed two million dollars. The NLRB also made it clear that it intended to litigate and to hold ALPA accountable for its numerous unfair labor practices. ALPA and Unit 1 agreed to meet in September and to discuss a possible settlement of both the contract and the unfair labor practice case, but if the case is not settled, the trial is scheduled to begin on November 8. It is worth noting that the NLRB, and not Unit 1, will be prosecuting that case. Unit 1 may participate, but its cost will be minimal compared to that incurred by ALPA in defending its conduct.

The unfair labor practice cases filed against ALPA have been consolidated with another unfair labor practice case against ALPA filed by a former ALPA employee. I mention this because that case demonstrates again the arrogance and poor judgment exhibited by ALPA management. That case was filed because Director of Representation Bruce York, while attending a luncheon with Captain Prater and their counterparts at the Teamsters, criticized a former ALPA employee who had been laid off and had taken a job with the Teamsters and then filed a grievance because he had not received all of the severance pay to which he was entitled. After verbally criticizing a Teamsters employee for engaging in activity protected by the NLRA (filing a grievance), Bruce York compounded the mistake by sending the Teamsters an email repeating that criticism. That petty and pointless gesture led to the issuance of yet another unfair labor practice complaint against ALPA. ALPA's defense is the patently ridiculous argument that, in communicating with officials of the Teamsters, York was not acting as ALPA agent or supervisor. Once again, pilot dues money will be spent defending ALPA's arrogant and unlawful conduct.

The arrogance and poor judgment of ALPA management was also on display in its decision to be responsible for the distribution of some $550,000,000 which resulted in a forty-four million dollar settlement of the Mansfield case. ALPA may have claimed that the settlement cost "only" eight million dollars, but the truth is that the settlement will be paid with insurance, loans and dues money, including $500,000 each year for four years to pay off just one of the loans. And, those amounts do not include the litigation costs.

There is a common thread that runs through all of this: arrogance, poor judgment, litigation and liability. Unit 1 is hoping for a different approach - hoping that ALPA management will eventually recognize the wisdom of acting lawfully and dealing fairly with its employees. So far, we have been disappointed, but we are hoping for a change.


Don McClure. President
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