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March 06, 2013

USAPA asks bankruptcy court to keep America West pilots from interfering with American-US Airways merger

US Airways pilots' union is asking the bankruptcy court to prevent lawyers representing former America West pilots from interfering with the merger of US Airways and American Airlines.

In a filing made in American's bankruptcy case on Wednesday, the US Airline Pilots Association asked the court to block any possible litigation that former America West pilots may file. USAPA said it had received letters from Leonidas, a firm that represents America West pilots, that detail Leonidas intent to file lawsuits to stop the merger unless a previous arbitration ruling on pilot seniority - called the Nicolau Award - is implemented prior to the merger.

"If Defendant is permitted to prosecute the Action, there is no question that the action itself would distract parties in interest, such as USAPA, US Airways and Debtors, from the important negotiations and tasks attendant to the Merger, would disrupt the orderly integration of the pilot work force, and any injunctive relief granted would have a material and direct impact on the ability of Debtors to consummate the Merger," the filing said.

Former US Airways pilots and former America West pilots have been fighting legal battles over seniority integration for several years and have yet to integrate into one work group following the two airlines' merger in 2005.

At issue is the Nicolau Award which gave higher seniority placement to several younger America West pilots than US Airways pilots. The arbiter had ruled that since US Airways was in bankruptcy at the time of the merger, US Airways pilots had diminished career expectations and were likely to have lost their jobs if the merger had not occurred. As a result, many of the US Airways pilots were given lower seniority.

US Airways has never implemented the Nicolau Award, although management has asked the courts to decide the issue.

In its filing, USAPA argued that Leonidas did not represent as many former America West pilots as it claimed, pointing to the recent vote results of the memorandum of understanding.

USAPA members, including the former America West pilots, voted in favor of a memorandum that supports the American-US Airways merger and lays out a framework for wages and work rules post-merger. The union said 97 percent of the pilots based in Phoenix, which would be former America West pilots, voted in favor of the memorandum and are in favor of the merger.

-Andrea Ahles



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As a former America West/current USAirways pilot, I would like to make the following corrections/clarifications to the article:

1.) Leonidas UNANIMOUSLY represents the West pilots, in opposition to USAPA, a union created for the SOLE purpose of illegally disadvantaging the West pilots to the advantage of the East pilots. At every turn, USAPA continues to try to disadvantage West pilots in favor of the East.
2.) West pilots are not necessarily "younger" than East; however, due to industry volatility, many East pilots that remain employed by USAirways were, at the start of the merger, far above the average age for their relative positions.
3.) The Nicolau Award FAIRLY integrated East/West seniority, to keep ALL pilots as close to their premerger relative seniority as possible.
4.) America West PURCHASED BANKRUPT USAIRWAYS, thus saving ALL East pilot jobs. And USAPA is the "Thanks" West pilots got for saving their careers.


This should have been settled before any merger agreement was signed. Now, AA pilots are going to be dragged into the mire unless West and East pilots grow up and come to an agreement. It is time to stop the finger pointing and fix the problem.

Paul Medford

I said it in a comment to an earlier article. The USAPA has no honor or integrity. Thier word is worthless, and they do not stand by their agreements and word.

Well, here it is. The USAPA wants a court to assist them in continuing to ignore Binding Arbitration. So APA and AA, what are you going to do when your integration goes to,...wait for it,......Binding Arbitration with USAPA?

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