Former TWA pilots, who have been fighting for seniority since its airline was bought by American back in 2001, may get some sort of seniority protection even as American prepares to close its pilot base in St. Louis.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made on Wednesday, American addressed the question of what will happen to TWA captains that were hired back in 1988. It appears that prior to any seniority integration completed in the proposed US Airways-American merger is settled, the TWA pilots will go through arbitration first.
The arbitration will address contractual protections for the former TWA pilots and whether or not the pilots are guaranteed captain positions at American. Any seniority integration agreement with US Airways will have to abide by the TWA arbitration result, the company said.
Last year, a group of TWA pilots filed a lawsuit against American, alleging they received poor seniority placement at American after the TWA purchase and that the one protection they were given - that a St. Louis pilot base would remain open - was being taken away as part of American's bankruptcy restructuring. The case is still pending in a federal court in Missouri.
Keep reading for American's full response to the TWA question.
What is going to happen to the TWA captains that have been captains for more than 15 years, but have a seniority number of about 6,000 and a hire date of 1988?
A: Prior to any seniority integration with US Airways, the Company and APA will conclude an interest arbitration under LOA 12-05, dealing with the termination of fence provisions under Supplement CC. The arbitration will determine substitute contractual protections for the former TWA pilots as a result of the termination of Supp CC, including whether former TW pilots are guaranteed certain CA positions on American. The seniority integration process with US Airways will be subject to the outcome of the LOA 12-05 interest arbitration.
American cannot speculate on the outcome of the seniority integration process with US Airways. The MOU provides that, if the merger is approved, the new company and committees representing the interests of the pilots will conduct a seniority integration process that complies with the federal McCaskill-Bond legislation. That process would begin with negotiations, but if the parties are unable to achieve a single seniority list through those discussions, the matter would be submitted to arbitration as outlined in the legislation. For more information on the anticipated timeline for seniority integration and other processes, please refer to Merger 101 on new Jetnet.