Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pilots merger details start to come into focus

The unions representing American Airlines and US Airways pilots released some new materials on Tuesday detailing more of the memorandum of understanding that would govern the groups should a merger happen.

The Allied Pilots Association released some details on their website about what the agreement looks like between the companies. The US Airline Pilots Association also sent a joint letter to pilots. The key points include:

  • The MOU starts with the APA 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as the baseline contract for all pilots, and allows APA to make $522 million in contractual improvements ($87 million per year over six years).
  • USAPA pilots will be covered under the modified APA 2012 CBA on the Effective Date, which will be the date the Plan of Reorganization is approved by the bankruptcy court.
  • All existing AA aircraft, including orders and options, will be flown by current APA pilots.
  • All existing US aircraft, including orders and options, will be flown by current USAPA pilots.
  • US Airways pilots will fly the first thirty E190 aircraft and starting with the 31st E190, APA will receive two E190 aircraft for every additional E190 above thirty flown by US Airways pilots.
  • Shuttle operations (BOS-LGA-DCA) will be flown by current USAPA pilots, along with existing PHX-Hawaii flying. 
  • All transpacific (Asia) flying will be performed by current APA pilots. 
  • Minimum block hour floors are established at US and AA to prevent the new company from drawing down either operation at the expense of the other. Pay protection is provided for pilots subject to displacements (subject to contract modification and valuation phase).
  • The agreement also apparently provides for seniority integration, a major sticking point that can derail a merger.
The full joint message is below: 

Fellow Pilots,­­­
The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) and Allied Pilots Association (APA) share the goal of achieving the best possible contract for our memberships, and the increasing possibility of a US Airways-American Airlines merger has brought us together to work for that common cause. While this is the first joint communication you are receiving, your respective negotiating committees have been working well together since shortly after the announcement of the possible merger last April. Additionally, USAPA and APA have enjoyed a good working relationship for years though our mutual involvement with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), advancing common interests that affect our profession.
One of the results of these cooperative efforts has been the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was approved by the USAPA Board of Pilot Representatives on Jan. 4, 2013 for a membership vote and by the APA Board of Directors on Dec. 29, 2012. This MOU was the product of extensive discussions during the last month with our unions and representatives from US Airways, American Airlines and the AMR Unsecured Creditors’ Committee. Due to restrictions imposed by a confidentiality agreement, we have been unable to share any details of this MOU with you until now.
In addition to this joint update, you will be receiving information today from your respective negotiating committees outlining what the MOU means to you. If the merger is eventually approved, this MOU along with the APA-American Airlines 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement will serve as the foundation for the joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) for the combined pilot force. Your negotiating committees will continue working together as we develop this contract, jointly pursuing the best possible outcome for our memberships and striving to expeditiously join other pilot groups that are already enjoying substantially improved contracts.
We recognize the prospect for substantial improvements this potential merger holds for both pilot groups. We will continue our partnership in this effort and will update you as conditions warrant. Should this merger take place, we are looking forward to utilizing the best assets from both unions to work toward a JCBA that we can all be proud of—a JCBA that propels the “New American Airlines” to the top of the industry.

Gary Hummel                                                              Keith Wilson
President, USAPA                                                      President, APA