ALPA, USAPA To Square Off
The National Mediation
Board (NMB) announced this week there will be an election to
determine union representation for pilots at US Airways, long
represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International
(ALPA). Pilots who fly for the merged US Airways flew previously
for America West Airlines and US Airways.
A dispute among a number of US Airways pilots arose over an
independent arbitrator's decision regarding pilots' seniority. That
resulted in the formation of the US Airline Pilots Association, or
USAPA, which petitioned the NMB for a vote last
"On November 13, 2007 USAPA filed an application with the NMB
that included thousands of written election requests from US
Airways pilots," said Stephen Bradford, USAPA's President. "We are
gratified to know that the US Airways pilots will finally be
afforded an opportunity to select a new collective bargaining
ALPA tells ANN the union 'looks forward' to debating the
important issues that will affect the careers of all US Airways
"I urge the US Airways pilots to study the issues and make a
solid pilot-minded decision -- and not act out of emotion," said
Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. "Only one organization has
the resources and the ability to protect the futures of all US
Airways pilots in these perilous times -- and that's ALPA."
As ANN reported, the issue of
pilot representation has been one of the most contentious issues in
the oil-and-water merger between US Airways and America West.
Bickering between both sides over a single contract and merging
seniority lists began almost immediately following the 2005
A federal arbitrator presented a seniority formula in June 2007
that bases pilot ratings on aircraft type, with pilots ranked by
seniority within each group based on their time at their respective
airline, and how many aircraft of that type are within the combined
US Airways fleet. Under the proposal, the top 517 pilots come from
US Airways... but the trouble lies at the next level, when talking
about first officer rankings.
Some 1,000 US Airways
first officers stand little chance of ever making captain under the
proposal, as the current Age 60 rule would force them to retire
before any left seats open up... placing younger America West
pilots in a favorable position to advance.
"Efforts to change the arbitration award -- which came out of a
process both pilot groups signed onto -- will ultimately fail.
These efforts will also push badly needed and deserved improvements
to the pilot contract well into the future," Prater said. "While
the issues our pilots face are serious, in the end we strongly
believe that the US Airways pilots will vote to keep the benefits
of the world's largest pilots union working for them."
The company is required to submit each pilot's mailing address
label within five calendar days to the NMB. The exact date of the
election will be determined after the parties have an opportunity
to review the list of eligible voters.