USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the compan

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
From the AZ Republic:

Split among US Airways pilots divides the company
4 comments by Dawn Gilbertson - Nov. 9, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The presidential campaign, long by most standards, was decided in less time. So were four World Series and the fate of several storied financial firms.

Efforts to unite the 5,000 pilots from America West and US Airways, critical to combining the airlines' operations, are going on 3 1/2 years and counting. Resolution does not appear to be around the corner.

Pilots from each side are locked in a bitter battle about seniority. That is the ranking system that determines a pilot's pick of flights, vacation time, promotion track and more.

The pilots from the old US Airways - the East pilots in geographical shorthand - want the merged list to be based on date of hire and have gone so far as to toss out the airline's incumbent union in their pursuit. They say their side of the business is the profit center.

The West pilots, who have long believed America West saved bankrupt US Airways, favor the merged seniority list issued by a federal arbitrator last year after weeks of testimony from both sides.

It puts the most senior US Airways pilots at the top of the list, those furloughed at the time of the merger at the bottom and a proportionate blend of the others in the middle. Pilots say the former union's merger policy dictates that the arbitrated list is final and binding.

Recent layoffs after dramatic cuts to the number of flights have only deepened the divide.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Courtroom 504 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix in late October.

On one side: a standing-room-only crowd of former America West pilots. They were supporting a group of co-workers suing the new union and the company to stop the layoffs.

They say they unfairly bore the brunt of cutbacks because there is still no joint contract or merged seniority list, and they argued that the union is ignoring their interests.

On the other: the airline's top in-house attorney and other company officials, union representatives and overflow from the America West side. The company argued that it followed current union contracts and policies put in place after the merger and noted that America West was disproportionately hit hard because of heavy flight cutbacks at its Las Vegas hub.

The union defended its bid for date of hire and said that it has provisions that would protect America West pilots for 10 years, once approved. It said the arbitrated seniority list could be revisited because it was a proposal and not part of a new contract.

When a USAPA official testified that the group represents all the pilots of US Airways, both East and West, there were sneers from the America West pilots in the audience.

At one point in the daylong hearing, Judge Neil Wake remarked, "There's a lot of moving parts here."

The company clearly saw potential trouble ahead when the merger was announced in May 2005 and tried to head it off in a memo to employees of America West and US Airways.

"Dragging seniority integration out for an unnecessarily long period of time is not in anyone's best interest," the memo from America West CEO Doug Parker and US Airways CEO Bruce Lakefield read.

In a recent interview, Parker, CEO of the new US Airways, said that he believes the seniority issue "will sort itself out," allowing the two sides to negotiate a joint contract.

He wouldn't hazard a guess as to when.

"It's something that I would very much like to get resolved," he said.
 

USAIRWAYS

New Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

AS a West f/o this has really been the longest 3 1/2 years of my 5 year career with HP.......I'm considering running for a seat on the PA house of reps (State senate) as I did in '98 to go to my second passion.
 

Velocipede

New Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

All I can tell you is an exchange I overheard on the radio the day the USAir callsign changed to Cactus.

The controller called them USAir then corrected to Cactus.

The response?

"We don't care what they call it as long as we get what we want."

East or West, you make the call.
 

adreamer

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

East...:D

Based on my observations, most of senior CAs at my base, do not like East sides that well. ;)
 

wheelsup

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

I sat next to a US Air guy recently. He was livid about America West's seniority award. He said and I quote "US Airways was cash rich" at the time of the merger. I had to laugh. Even if that were true it's because companies like mine gave them that money to merge. Parker has stated repeatedly that both airlines would've been finished in < 1 year had the merger not gone thru.
 

launchpad

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

The first words out of any east captain when I'm trying to jumpseat lately: "You're not west, are you?" sounds like a hell of a fight....
 

granlistillo

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

I think both sides have their points, and never the twain shall meet apparently. I've had two occasions - one an east guy and one a west gal, where pleasantries and light conversation turned into a tirade about the morons on the other end. I just do the polite head bob and go "unh-hunh".

I would say that in life sometimes you just got to get on.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

The first words out of any east captain when I'm trying to jumpseat lately: "You're not west, are you?" sounds like a hell of a fight....
That's BS. If that happened to me, I'd just say I was "US Airways, just like you, sir."
 

dvtpilot

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

I knew a guy who refused to call the East folks anything but "Eastholes".

I also saw a sticker on a flight case that said "USAPA = USTUPID." All kinds of fun things are said at sky harbor. Good times....
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

There are actually a number of articles in this mornings "Arizona Republic". I'll post 'em.

Do not interpret this as "rag on USAirways" Sunday.
 

launchpad

Well-Known Member
Re: USAirways: Split among US Airways pilots divides the co

That's BS. If that happened to me, I'd just say I was "US Airways, just like you, sir."
I'm at SkyWest, so it's not my fight. I just politely back out of the cockpit while nodding my head. I whisper thank you and make my way back to seat 25E and keep my head down.
 
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