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March 21, 2014

American and Allied Pilots Association respond to USAPA lawsuit

American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association formerly responded to legal accusations made by the US Airways pilots union last month related to the seniority integration process of the two pilots unions.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said it has a memorandum of understanding that APA and the US Airline Pilots Association agreed to last year that laid out a specific process on how to determine an integrated seniority list.

"The Company seeks to put a stop, once and for all, to USAPA’s bad-faith behavior in trying to escape the provisions of the MOU regarding seniority integration for the pre-merger US Airways and pre-merger American pilot groups," American said in its filing made on Friday evening.

American asserted that the memorandum of understanding specified that any arbitration needed to resolve a seniority-integration dispute will be held after American and its pilots have received a new contract.

USAPA filed its lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C. earlier this month, alleging that since the parties could not agree on a seniority integration process, it should be determined by a federal arbiter as laid out under federal law.

The APA, which represents pilots at American, said it expects to be named the legal bargaining unit of all of the pilots at the merged airline and asked the court to rule that only APA can determine if any USAPA members can participate in the seniority integration process.

"APA seeks a further declaration that, following USAPA’s decertification as the collective bargaining representative for legacy US Airways pilots and its replacement by APA as the collective bargaining representative for all US Airways and American pilots, USAPA may only participate in the MOU seniority integration process if and to the extent deemed appropriate by APA," the union said in a court filing made on Friday evening.

This is not the first time that US Airways pilots have been involved in a legal battle over seniority integration. The pilot groups at US Airways and America West, which merged in 2005, never integrated as the “East” pilot group contested a seniority list and the “West” pilot group argued that the union did not represent it fairly.

If the pilot groups can’t sort out seniority integration in a timely fashion, the company could take legal action to enforce the timetable spelled out in the MOU. According to that, the union needs to give American a final seniority list by Dec. 9, 2015.

-Andrea Ahles

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