After US Airways management announced
a $5 million profit for the first quarter with expectations to continue
profitability looking forward, the pilots of America West and US Airways
are demanding that management recognize the pilots and other
front-line employees who have made sacrifices to ensure the
viability of the newly merged airline.The America West and US Airways pilots, who are represented by the Air
Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), together entered into negotiations
with management for a single collective bargaining agreement in November
2005. Such an agreement is a significant step toward enabling US Airways to
achieve millions of dollars in synergies created by the merger of the two
airlines. Negotiations are currently ongoing, and ALPA has informed
management that the pilots will only ratify a single contract that ensures
the pilots’ investment in their airline results in appropriate returns.
“For years, the America West and US Airways pilots have sacrificed for
our respective airlines to succeed in a competitive marketplace,” said
Captain JR Baker, chairman of the America West Master Executive Council
(MEC). “As our fortunes begin to turn for the better, and the synergies of
this merger are realized, we will not be wasting time in negotiations on
management’s unrealistic efforts to impose concessionary work rules while
management enriches themselves at the expense of the very employees who are
on the front lines every day working to make the new US Airways a success.”
“We’re pleased with US Airways’ earnings report because the pilots
played a major part in the company being able to move forward. However,
just as US Airways’ stockholders and executives are reaping the rewards of
the new US Airways, the pilots of this airline fully expect to receive
commensurate returns,” said Captain Jack Stephan, chairman of the US
Airways MEC. “We invested billions of dollars in US Airways to provide it
with the resources that it needed to survive and prosper. As we negotiate
to achieve a fair single contract, we expect management to recognize and
reward our pilots for their important role in US Airways’ turnaround.”
Demonstrating their resolve for a single agreement that recognizes
their sacrifices, America West and US Airways pilots will formally attend a
Town Hall meeting today at corporate headquarters in Tempe, Ariz.
Additionally, the pilots will formally attend the first shareholders
meeting of the new US Airways in Charlotte, N.C., on May 17 as a sign of
their unity and resolve towards supporting joint negotiations.
Before the merger was completed, the pilots negotiated and implemented
a Transition Agreement to provide key building blocks for the negotiation
of a single collective bargaining agreement, an orderly seniority
integration process, and integration of the two separate airline
operations. Until these three requirements are met, the new US Airways
cannot fully capitalize upon the synergies it promised investors.
If joint negotiations do not proceed constructively toward a single
agreement, the America West pilot group may enter into separate
negotiations with US Airways in June 2006, under the Railway Labor Act.
Such negotiations would result in a traditional collective bargaining
process between US Airways management and the America West pilot group.