United Sues Pilots Union

surreal1221

Well-Known Member
Hold on. . .it's about to get bumpy.

Good luck gents / gals. We're all behind you.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121744569237297829.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

UAL Corp.'s United Airlines said it asked a federal judge Wednesday for a preliminary injunction blocking its pilots from engaging in an unlawful sickout and no-overtime campaign that is forcing the airline to cancel abnormal numbers of flights and disrupt its passengers.

The No. 2 U.S. airline by traffic said it filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Air Line Pilots Association union, which represents its 6,500 pilots, and four named aviators whom it alleged are organizing the campaign partly in opposition to United's plan to reduce its fleet size and furlough pilots. As a result of the alleged behavior, United said it has canceled hundreds of flights this summer.

A spokesman for the union couldn't immediately be reached.

"It is absolutely irresponsible for ALPA to promote unlawful behavior, particularly in this environment, when the industry is taking unprecedented actions to offset record fuel prices," said Peter McDonald, UAL's executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

In May, the latest month for which government statistics are available, United canceled 718 flights, or 1.8% of its total, which made it the fourth worst of 19 airlines by that measure. Its arrival punctuality of flights that did operate, 72.4%, was second from the bottom in the government rankings.

FlightStats, a Web site that tracks actual flights, indicated that between May 15 and July 15, United canceled or diverted 4% of its flights on its 20 busiest routes, with disruptions up to 7% on the New York LaGuardia to Chicago run. Those percentages are abnormally high.

United's Mr. McDonald said the alleged sick-leave abuse, along with a campaign of "intimidation" that discourages pilots from volunteering as they normally do for additional flight hours, is resulting in an illegal slowdown.

The pilots union has made no secret of its unhappiness about working for more than five years under "draconian contract and work rules negotiated under the duress of bankruptcy," according to ALPA's latest hotline message to the United pilots. The union has been pressing United in recent months to reopen the current contract, which legally doesn't come up for renewal until early in 2010, and improve the terms. The pilots' contract, forged during UAL's lengthy bankruptcy reorganization, cut their pay, forced them to fly more hours and terminated their defined-benefit pension plan.

Recently under severe financial pressure again because of high fuel prices and the slowing economy, United has announced plans to shed 100 aircraft – 22% -- from its fleet and cut its domestic capacity by about 16% by the end of this year. That will lead the airline to furlough 950 pilots by the end of next year. The furloughs and the shrinking fleet also are deeply resented by the pilot group, which already has withstood a deep round of layoffs after the 2001 terrorist attacks and the pain of the three-year bankruptcy case.

It isn't uncommon for airlines to sue their unions when they believe the workers are engaging in disruptive behavior, in part to protect other employees from the problem but mostly to reduce the impact on passengers. But the litigation often results in bad blood that takes a long time to be forgotten.

In 2000, United won a temporary restraining order against its mechanics union in order to stave off concerted job actions that would have interfered with the heavy Thanksgiving travel period. United asked for judicial help after suffering from a summer of pilot-inspired turmoil, disruptions it didn't fight in the courts.

In 2001, Delta Air Lines Inc. won a preliminary injunction to block its pilots from waging a no-overtime campaign that forced numerous flight cancellations. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines in 1990 and again in 1999 won judicial orders blocking its pilots from participating in sickouts or other work slowdowns.

Northwest Airlines Corp. last summer alleged that absenteeism by some of its pilots forced it to scratch thousands of flight. It didn't sue, however, but took some of the blame for phasing in too quickly new, concessionary work rules negotiated during its stay in Chapter 11.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
The game is afoot!

Not surprising, and I'm sure ALPA Legal has been preparing for this for a while. Let's just hope that it doesn't wind up in the court room of a Bush appointee.
 

ljg

Well-Known Member
What's the airline's problem with pilots refusing OT? They've all got pilots sitting reserve.
 

WacoFan

Bigly
Iave heard from another board that UAL pilots have been overworked, rates of runway incursions are increasing, and morale is at a low. ALPA had a safety standdown and did a series of shows (forget what they were called) about the importance of self certifying every flight, fatique symptoms, etc. After this, pilots started calling in sick more, and quit picking up as much overtime. I have also read posts that say the pilot group is overworked and that UAL is short-staffed. AND they plan on furloughing a ton of pilots.

It is time for ALPA to take a page from USAPA's book and take out an ad explaining these issues. Tilton makes millions and complains that the pilots don't work overtime and fly tired or sick. UALPA needs to step up and set the public straight. I know, PCL said ALPA doesn't concentrate on the "public" but the lawsuit was public, and UAL management is spinning in public...ALPA needs to fight back hard.
 

jtrain609

Antisocial Monster
Check it out, you're mistaken here.

You think ALPA should take out ads to explain to the public about these issues, because if WE care about these issues then the PUBLIC will care about these issues, right?

Horse####. The public doesn't care, nor do they understand. They have no idea what a 6 leg, 16 hour day feels like, or what it feels like to do it after 5 hours of sleep on a reduced rest overnight.

Pick the battles you have a real chance of winning. This isn't one of them. The real fight isn't in public, it's in the court room, so invest your money in lawyers and not ads.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
I agree with the Train, however Waco, the fact is that UAL ALPA has already taken out several full page ads in the USAToday over the past couple of years that deal with this issue and management bonuses. They've also been picketing non-stop in front of investment banks, airports, government buildings, etc... UAL ALPA is very active on this front. I wouldn't be surprised to see a full page ad in the coming weeks that addresses this ridiculous lawsuit. The difference from USAPA, of course, will be that it's actually based in fact and not bull----.
 

moocowtex

Well-Known Member
What's the airline's problem with pilots refusing OT?
I'm not picking on you ljg, but you bring up an excellent point that has absolutely chapped my a@$ since 2000. Management frequently refers to pilots as "refusing" overtime. A much fairer way to phrase it is they aren't volunteering to fly on their scheduled days off. When you phrase it that way to Joe Six-Pack, he generally understands because he doesn't want to go to the office on his off days either.
 

WacoFan

Bigly
Check it out, you're mistaken here.

You think ALPA should take out ads to explain to the public about these issues, because if WE care about these issues then the PUBLIC will care about these issues, right?

Horse####. The public doesn't care, nor do they understand. They have no idea what a 6 leg, 16 hour day feels like, or what it feels like to do it after 5 hours of sleep on a reduced rest overnight.

Pick the battles you have a real chance of winning. This isn't one of them. The real fight isn't in public, it's in the court room, so invest your money in lawyers and not ads.
I absolutely understand where you are coming from, but would submit that the public doesn't know what a 6 leg, 16 hour day feels like, or a reduced rest overnight because no one is telling them. Management puts out all the stuff that the public thinks - pilots are overpaid, underworked, etc and the public believes it because they hear nothing to the contrary. I think that given how emotional people are they would be very concerned about the working conditions of pilots - I truly believe this. Look how up in arms people get about Kathy Lee Giffords sweatshops, etc. People need to see the reality of the situation - the fact that managment puts out misinformation and there is nothing to counter leads people to think it must be true.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
I would argue that hardly anyone gets up in arms about sweatshops. The media makes a spectacle out of it for a few days, and then everyone goes right back to shopping at Wal Mart and supporting child abuse in asian factories. People don't care as long as they don't personally have to pay more. America is the country of "me, me, me."
 

WacoFan

Bigly
I would argue that hardly anyone gets up in arms about sweatshops. The media makes a spectacle out of it for a few days, and then everyone goes right back to shopping at Wal Mart and supporting child abuse in asian factories. People don't care as long as they don't personally have to pay more. America is the country of "me, me, me."
I know that you and Train are correct on this issue, but there is a big part of me that says to sling mud and be aggresive would be really fun. Go Hoffa or John L. Lewis or Joe Hill on these people.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
I know that you and Train are correct on this issue, but there is a big part of me that says to sling mud and be aggresive would be really fun. Go Hoffa or John L. Lewis or Joe Hill on these people.
People like Hoffa make guys feel good, but they don't get things done. Guys like Duane Woerth and Paul Rice get things done. They're militant, but they know how to channel their militancy. The new UAL MEC Chairman, Captain Wallach, is a perfect example of this. He knows which battles to fight, and he knows that acting like a bunch of immature little kids like USAPA won't get him anywhere. Remember, this is all politics. The smart politicians are the ones that get things done. The emotional little girls are the ones that will sink you.
 
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