“Aside from being an improper request for relief made in a response to US Airways’ motion, the purported reason for USAPA’s plea – that the four statements it does not like are mere “dicta” – is incorrect. The statements challenged by USAPA flow inexorably from this Court’s ruling, as urged by USAPA, that only certified collective bargaining representatives may participate in the McCaskill-Bond seniority-integration process, thereby precluding separate representation in that process for the West Pilots. Throughout this litigation, USAPA has repeatedly so argued to this Court. (See Doc. No. 95 at 1:16- 11:6; Doc. No. 108 at 1:5-8:6; Doc No. 211 at 11:2-15:3; Doc. No. 270 at 2:1-5:7, see especially at 4:13-17 (“Section 3 [of the Allegheny-Mohawk LPPs] expressly provides for agreement through collective bargaining between the carriers and the representatives of the employees affected. The only parties to the collective bargaining process are the certified union and the carrier.”
US Airways Document 303 3/3/14
Let’s get this straight - USAPA argued passionately to Judge Silver that only the certified bargaining agent could have a seat at the table. She agreed with them and USAPA claimed victory because they interpreted her ruling to mean the west pilots could never have their own seat at the table. At the time they failed to see that only their seat at the table was eliminated by the federal court.
Now fast forward two months from the drunken parties celebrating Silver’s ruling and it seems USAPA has sobered slightly (very slightly). They now realize that the "dicta" requiring the immediate termination of their participation in the seniority integration process once APA assumes representation is federal law.
So what do they do?
“The Court has no doubt that-as is USAPA’s consistent practice-USAPA will change its position when it needs to do so to fit its hard and unyielding view on seniority.”
-Judge Silver 1/10/14
USAPA, surprise surprise, is now arguing that they should retain jurisdiction over the seniority integration process following the representational changeover. How convenient.
The old proverb - there is no honor among thieves couldn’t be more apropos in this situation. USAPA will say and do anything to justify their end. They refuse to let honor, integrity, or decency stand in their way. With the end of their regime rapidly approaching, we suspect their behavior will only spiral deeper into the gutter.
TheEye was initially concerned that the APA would be seduced by USAPA’s early advances. Fortunately, that concern has been alleviated with the frivolous lawsuit filed against them by USAPA.
They have no friends, no realistic options, and a rapidly approaching expiration date.
Next up: Dues fraud.
Over ten days ago the USAPA Merger Committee (staffed exclusively with east pilots) sent out an update that they were extending the period to reach a protocol agreement to February 18th. Of course that date has come and gone without even a whisper from USAPA on the status of the agreement.
TheEye is happy to report that an impasse has been reached and the deadline has come and gone without an agreement.
Why are we happy?
Simple: In USAPA’s fantasy world, the union and its east staffed merger committee would retain control of the seniority integration process even though Judge Silver clearly ruled that USAPA’s participation in the seniority integration would cease immediately once the APA became the bargaining agent. Clearly, both US Airways and the APA have no intention of allowing something to exist that is diametrically opposed to a federal court’s interpretation of the MOU and McCaskill-Bond.
As was expected by all parties involved, USAPA overreached and now they are left with nothing.
USAPA does have the right arbitrate this impasse. The problem for USAPA is time. The APA’s petition for single carrier status will probably be approved within weeks, not months. It would probably take 2-3 months to hold an arbitration and receive a decision on the protocol agreement. By the time a decision is rendered, USAPA would no longer be the bargaining agent for the former US Airways pilots.
We are happy because we’re confident that the APA and US Airways management will offer a fair process once USAPA is out of the picture. This is good news for all pilots of the New American.
There will be a fair process and an SLI created by an independent arbitration panel. This time, no matter how much the east pilots whine, the list will be immediately activated.
On that note, we heard that the west pilots retained Jeff Freund to arbitrate their case. The America West, Delta, and United pilots have been very satisfied with his track record. In fact, most RLA experts consider him to be the best.
In a not so surprising development, USAPA has once again agreed to extend the deadline for reaching a seniority protocol agreement with US Airways and the APA. Truth be told, the two surviving parties have long ago dismissed the relevance of USAPA but were willing to let the all east pilot staffed committee report their predicament to the BPR during this week's special meeting in Charlotte.
In their delay announcement, USAPA stated:
“It is important for you all to know that we will not be hurried or pressured into accepting an agreement that puts this pilot group at a disadvantage in either the Seniority List Integration negotiations or arbitration.”
Earth to USAPA - no one cares whether or not you accept the APA drafted agreement.
The APA knows that they will be certified as the bargaining agent within months. Late last week, US Airways management filed a brief with Judge Silver asking her to remove a footnote which will pave the way for the APA to appoint separate merger committees for the pre-merger US Airways pilots. In that filing, they submitted a copy of APA’s protocol proposal which clearly contemplates the APA administering the seniority integration process once certified by the NMB.
We’re not really sure what the east staffed committee will report to the BPR other than their options for avoiding the Nic are dwindling by the second. Of course, no one can be sure the west pilots will get their own seat at the table, but by reading the documents filed by management with Judge Silver and USAPA’s refusal to agree to the terms set forth by the APA, we can only deduce that a seat for the west is in the cards.
For years we’ve been talking about the unavoidability of the Nic. Although it appears it will not be ordered by a court, the Nic will be presented to the panel in the upcoming arbitration and it will be considered.
Just maybe, “the serious men doing serious business” at USAPA are starting to realize that their serious work has produced the Nic.
TheEye was forwarded this statement from the west members of the USAPA Merger Committee. We are adding it to our blog for the benefit of all pilots at US Airways and American. It is reproduced without comment or edits.
Fellow West Pilots:
On Saturday, the four East pilots on the USAPA Merger Committee posted a Merger Committee Update announcing what we had already announced – that we had resigned from the USAPA Merger Committee. That part of their Update was accurate. But that was the only part. The purpose of this letter is to correct the flat inaccuracies and to fill in the gaps of information in that Update. The quotes below come directly from the Update, followed by the truth.
• “While this Committee has always had differences regarding the equity and fairness of the unmodified Nicolau award, the West members have always told us they would consider other methods of integration once the courts ruled. They gave that assurance at the time they were appointed to the Committee and reaffirmed that commitment after their appointments.”
WRONG – When we were interviewed by the BPR for positions on the Merger Committee, we made clear in no uncertain terms that our role – and our only role – was to see to it that the Nicolau Award was the basis for any seniority integration with any other airline. When members of the BPR repeatedly quizzed us on this point, Pat Szymanski – one of USAPA’s lawyers – piped in and told the BPR that our position was perfectly clear and that the BPR should either appoint us or not, but that trying to change our minds through their interrogation was a waste of time. He was right. Our position on the Nicolau Award was clear from the start and never wavered.
• “We have, of course, considered the unmodified Nicolau list and our thorough review clearly demonstrates that it doesn’t satisfy the fair and equitable requirements of McCaskill-Bond, nor is it fair for our pilot group as a whole.”
WRONG – We have seen no analysis presented to, or produced by, the Committee demonstrating that the list produced by the Nicolau Award is not a fair and equitable basis for integrating the US Airways pilots with the American pilots. It was developed under a “fair and equitable” standard by the most respected seniority integration arbitrator in the country for the reasons and under the circumstances that were fully and accurately laid out in his Opinion. No one – no court, arbitrator or serious commentator, other than the East pilots - has said it is not a fair and equitable list. And by the way, as we hardly need tell you, since the Nicolau list was created, West pilots have not enjoyed its benefits and East pilots – who were on the brink of losing their jobs entirely before the merger with America West – have moved happily up the promotion ladder while West pilots have suffered furloughs and displacements. Dave Odell – who was a West first officer when list was issued – was furloughed for a period and is now back flying as an A-320 first officer. And East pilots who were below Dave and were on furlough when the list was issued and had no prospects of ever flying for US Airways again before the merger – are now flying as Captains.
• “During the meeting, the East members repeatedly offered to have [the two of us] review and consider a series of potential SLI methods.”
This is a correct, but a telling statement. We have been on the Merger Committee for eight months. At no point at any meeting that we were at did the Committee develop any integration scenarios; we never even discussed any. But obviously someone had; quite plainly the four East members of the Committee, apparently behind our backs, have developed a “series of potential SLI methods.” If we were supposed to be working collaboratively, how did it come to be that by January 29 there were a “series of potential SLI methods” already developed that we had never heard about?
• “The West members offered as a solution, that they be assigned to a West-only committee to advocate for the unmodified Nicolau award. The East members do not have the ability to approve or disapprove that request, but we told them we would present that request to the BPR. The next morning, before we had the chance to present this request to the BPR, they abruptly resigned via email in a letter that contained numerous inaccuracies.”
We did tell the four East members of the Merger Committee that, if the Committee itself was not going to use the Nicolau Award as a basis for the integration with American, the only fair way to proceed was to create a procedural framework under the Protocol Agreement it was negotiating with APA and the Company that provided for three Merger Committees – an American Committee, an East Committee and a West Committee – thereby allowing the West pilots to advance the Nicolau Award as a basis for integration with the American pilots. That process would put to rest, once and for all, claims that the Nicolau Award was not a fair basis on which to integrate the US Airways list with the American list. If it wasn’t fair, the arbitrators in that case would say so by not using it. The four East Members of the Merger Committee did tell us that they did not have the power to do that (although we do not know why they didn’t have that power – they have been developing and negotiating all other terms of the Protocol Agreement) and would present it to the BPR. But, to quote them “before [they] had the chance to present this request to the BPR” they submitted a proposed Protocol Agreement to APA – over our stated objection – that called for only two Merger Committees – a USAPA Merger Committee and an APA Merger Committee. What is more, they rejected our extremely modest request to put into their proposed Protocol Agreement a provision that would have required the identification of a pilot who was on the Nicolau list and where he would be on that list in the collection and exchange of data with APA. When they sent that proposed Protocol Agreement to APA over our objection, we felt we had no option other than to resign from a Committee that, from the start, had no intention at all in representing the West pilots’ interests.
Perhaps the East pilots on the Merger Committee will present our three-committee proposal to the BPR and perhaps the BPR will adopt it and offer it to APA (who, by their proposed draft seem to have endorsed at least the idea of such an approach). If it does and if APA and the Company accept it, there will be no need for us to serve on the East Merger Committee – the West will have its own Committee. If it does not, we have no interest in serving on a USAPA Merger Committee that will not consider the West pilots’ legitimate interest in having the Nicolau Award at least considered in the upcoming seniority integration process. The point is that either way the BPR decides to go on this point, our usefulness on the Merger Committee, to whatever extent it might have ever been useful, was over.
The BPR has solicited other volunteers from among the West pilot group. Of course, every pilot has to decide for him or herself whether to accept that invitation. But before anyone does consider it, we urge you to read this letter again carefully and think about whether – in light of our experience – you truly feel that the USAPA Merger Committee is headed in a direction that you can endorse.
In an interesting twist to USAPA’s pyrrhic victory, we learned that the west members of the USAPA merger committee proffered their thirty day resignation notices last Friday. We think this was a great move.
Let’s back up and and review USAPA’s dilemma following Judge Silver’s ruling last month.
First, USAPA will not have a seat at the table during the upcoming single list proceedings with American. In fact, as we wrote about in our last entry, USAPA will likely be removed as the bargaining agent for the US Airways pilots in the very near future. What might survive is a merger committee comprised of east pilots. The status of the former USAPA merger committee will be entirely up to the APA and whether their status can be agreed upon in the ongoing merger protocol negotiations. What is key here is that even if the former east pilots have their own merger committee, it will not exist under the auspices of USAPA. Why? Because USAPA will soon cease to exist.
Second, Judge Silver did not remove the DFR liability from any of the current bargaining agents or the company in her Order. All she did was rule that the MOU was not a breach of DFR because it is seniority neutral. Judge Silver ruled in line with the prior ripeness ruling from the 9th Circuit. This is key because USAPA, the APA, and the company are still subject to a DFR claim by the west pilots should the Nicolau Award not be used in the upcoming integration.
In its latest communication, USAPA declared that “At this time, nothing more has been decided beyond our conclusion that the unmodified Nicolau list is not an option.” In this statement USAPA is very clear that they intend to violate its DFR. In this context, we wholeheartedly agree with the resignation of the west merger committee members. There was no room for them to stay when the committee and the union loudly proclaimed their intent to use their majority to dictate seniority terms to the minority.
The irony is that USAPA is demanding a fair integration in the upcoming integration, yet they are using their current majority to dictate the terms of the last integration to the minority west group. It is no wonder that the APA filed for single carrier status immediately following Judge Silver’s Order. She clealy wrote that USAPA cannot and has no intention of fairly representing the west pilots.
The good news is that we are confident a fair process will be initiated once USAPA ceases to exist. Please note that we are not saying the east pilots will not have access to a fair process and a seat at the table. We are confident all parties will have a seat at the table once the APA is the bargaining agent.
In that context- bravo to the west merger committee members. They truly understand how the future is unfolding.
It has been a while since TheEye has blogged, but we couldn’t resist commenting on the denouement of the USAPA saga.
We encourage all US Airways and American pilots to read Judge Silver’s final Order. Contrary to what Hummel and the BPR is spouting off to the east membership, it's clear that Judge Silver completely neutered USAPA. Her ruling effectively ended USAPA’s participation in the upcoming seniority list integration with American. If this reality hasn’t sunk in yet, we suggest you actually read Judge Silver’s Order. You will read that USAPA waived their right to participate in the McCaskill-Bond process with the ratification of the MOU which requires the Allied Pilots Association (APA) to file for single carrier status within four months of the merger.
“As contemplated by the MOU, in the very near future an election will take place and a new representative will be chosen by all the post-merger pilots. It is almost certain USAPA will lose that election. Once that happens, USAPA will no longer be entitled to participate in the seniority integration.”
With this in mind, it's laughable that the USAPA Merger Committee believes that they have any meaningful purpose. Apparently, they missed APA's filings with the NMB a few weeks ago seeking a single carrier declaration. TheEye’s legal consultants believe that the NMB could rule as soon as March on the single carrier question. At that point USAPA and any other challengers will have thirty days to submit cards to force an election. At the end of thirty days (sometime in April) the APA will be the bargaining agent for all US Airways and American Airlines pilots.
We know this is contrary to what the USAPA leadership has been telling you, but rest assured, they are wrong. We had to laugh when we heard Steve Bradford telling pilots in the crew room that he believes there will be an election as many APA pilots are dissatisfied with their union.
Amazing Steve - did you not read Silver’s Order where she gave the keys to the seniority integration to the APA?
The end of USAPA is almost upon us. Once they are gone, the APA will be responsible for establishing a fair process to integrate the East, West, and American lists.
USAPA - you’ve been outmaneuvered.
In an open letter to the Texas Attorney General in Monday’s Dallas Morning News the Allied Pilots Association (APA) took the gubernatorial candidate to task over his opposition to the proposed AA/US merger. In a strongly worded statement, the APA wrote:
“Are you opposed to having a leading global carrier in Fort Worth? Considering everything at stake - including the large number of jobs and tax revenues they generate - that doesn’t make any sense.”
The APA gets it. If the merger is successfully blocked by the Department of Justice (DOJ), tens of thousands of jobs are at stake as the two smaller carriers will be forced to compete against industry giants Delta, United, and Southwest. All of whom successfully merged to their present sizes with the blessings of the DOJ.
Meanwhile, the only thing heard from the campus in Woodlawn is the sounds of silence. With the radical Courtney Borman forcing a runoff in the Charlotte domicile elections, it is clear that USAPA sees this latest setback to all of our careers as an opportunity to grab more. In their alternative universe they see the DOJ action as a blessing. They wholeheartedly believe that forced divestitures of our assets will trigger a renegotiation of the MOU and Doug Parker will be banging at the door with moneybags in hand and a freshly inked date-of-hire seniority list.
The last days of USAPA were in our sights. We were weeks from turning the corner and starting the road towards professional and mature representation. Representation focused on the big picture and actually securing better wages and working conditions for all of its members. Instead, we’re stuck with a union more concerned about fighting its own and sabotaging anything good.
Normally we would appeal to our readers to write USAPA and demand change. As we have seen over the past five years, this would be a total waste of time. The only thing that can stop the USAPA jihad is their total extinction.
To facilitate this end we instead ask you to sign petitions and write to those who seek to block our merger.
Sign and write today as our long term careers absolutely depend on it!
Tennessee Office of the Attorney General and Reporter
P.O. Box 20207
Nashville, TN 37202-0207
Telephone: (615) 741-3491
Fax: (615) 741-2009
The CLT reps are engaged in a full out whisper campaign to tank the MOU and guarantee that the US Airways pilots remain on LOA 93 for the foreseeable future. They are basing their entire campaign on the fallacious argument that turning down the MOU will force the company to pay us via the east contract change of control (COC) language.
Let’s make one thing clear - The COC language will never be triggered by US Airways management in any transaction. It is purely a poison pill, nothing else.
For arguments sake, let’s suppose that a transaction occurs following the rejection of the MOU and we file a grievance over the COC. The grievance will go through the normal process and will be scheduled for an arbitration. Remember the LOA 93 snapback grievance? How well did that work out for us? Our case will be presented to an arbitrator who will then ponder a decision for months, possibly years. In the end, there is no guarantee that we would prevail. In fact, it is highly likely that the arbitrator would rule against the pilots.
There is no question that the MOU contains some concessions from the east working agreement. We have given much to this company and have received little for our loyalty. Management brags about our record earnings, but in reality they were largely attributable to our grossly substandard wage and working conditions. Our sacrifices have afforded Doug Parker the opportunity to acquire our larger competitor.
In that light, President Hummel and our NAC secured an agreement that covers all US Airways pilots and brings us up to a level of compensation that most of us never thought was possible from our current management team. They did this despite the enormous undercurrents created by the CLT reps and their henchmen.
The hourly earnings jump combined with the increase in retirement funding can never be recovered if we turn this agreement down. This isn’t fear mongering or FUD, rather simple math. Even at a meager 2-3% return on your invested money, there is no mathematical way that the wages you earn under the MOU can be dwarfed by a successful COC grievance.
Our acquisition of American Airlines has given us an economic opportunity most of us never thought possible. You can listen to the selfish few who relish failure, or you can vote to bring immediate and meaningful economic changes to your dining room table.
Do you really believe there will be a next time?
If you ask Steve Crimi or any of the Charlotte reps about the status of the MOU, they will lie and state that it has been pulled from the table. TheEye has confirmed that the MOU was not pulled, rather it was withheld from the US Airways Board of Directors for final approval pending the reversal of the BPR's decision to withhold their endorsement followed by membership ratification via a democratic vote.
In their typically selfish fashion, Steve Crimi and his ever dwindling support base are more concerned with their own imagined career trajectories than the pilot group as a whole. Whether it was using Jonathan Ornstein for a type rating at Freedom or supporting the destructive policies of Mike Cleary, he has left a trail of debris so large that even James Ray's alleged actions at Continental in 1983 look infinitesimally small. Crimi and his fellow Charlotte reps would rather deny every US Airways pilot a $40-60k year raise just so he can cut the line and catch his upgrade, which according to his estimate is only 500 numbers away.
It's imperative that every US Airways pilot flood the inbox of every BPR rep with the simple demand that the power of the line pilot rules the day, not the selfish actions of an elite few. Supposedly the founding premise of USAPA, beyond date of hire, was a return of the power to the pilot and out of the hands of greedy politicians. If the BPR successfully buries the MOU, USAPA will have failed the pilots of US AIrways beyond the dark days at the Key Bridge Marriott and the road that led to LOA 93.
The pilots of US Airways are smart, educated, and ready to vote. Let us decide whether the deal on the table is in our best interests. Let us educate ourselves by reading the actual MOU language, attending road shows, and questioning individual NAC members. Let us decide our own future.
Crimi's race must come to an end. Remind him and the rest of the BPR that they work for us, the line pilot. We'll decide and let them know whether the MOU is good for our families.
Time is of essence. The MOU has not been pulled by management. The BPR can and should reverse course.
Write them now, before it's too late!
This past week President Hummel appointed two west pilots to the NAC. These appointments under normal circumstances might raise an eyebrow or two as neither of the candidates have stunning resumes. One simply does not have the experience needed and the other, by all accounts, brought nothing of substance to the table during previous negotiations and quit for suspect reasons.
It might be that at least one of these individuals could be brought up to speed in a normal negotiating environment but these are not normal times. The negotiations being conducted by the company and the APA are far from normal. There is a self-imposed 60-day deadline to get this new CBA inked and signed in order to move the possibility of the US/AA merger closer to reality.
60 days is an extremely ambitious schedule that would be trying for even the most experienced of negotiators, let alone two relatively novice individuals. The product that will come out of these negotiations will dictate the working rules and conditions for the “new” American for the remainder of most of our careers. Regardless of our backgrounds (east, west, north, or south), we need to insist that only the best represent us at the table.
The staff of TheEye held out hope that our new USAPA President understood that the greater good was more important than petty politics. Unfortunately, our hopes were in vain as he appears to have rescinded on most of his promises to appoint only the most qualified and experienced pilots to our critical committees. Far more qualified individuals applied for positions on the NAC but were rejected for purely political reasons. This is unacceptable.
Our sources indicate that the members of the BPR spent more time debating the optics of potential candidates than the qualities the candidates would bring to the process. In typical fashion, they wasted time whining about disproved acts rather than formulating a solid plan for the pilot group as a whole.
With the very real possibility of a merger between US and AA looming, now is the time to demand that the members of the BPR do what is best for all the pilots of US Airways and not continue the failed policies of the past.
The BPR has a clear choice; get on board, send the best team available to assist in this endeavor, or continue a policy of obstructionism and delay. We can assure you that the current path of our BPR will most definitely lead to us (east and west) to being completely marginalized by both the company and the APA.
From PHL, to CLT, to DCA, and to PHX - it is time to let the BPR know we have had enough of the infighting. We can either sit back and let the company and the APA dictate our future while we fight the battles of yesterday, or we can unify and get the best possible talent working for all of our futures.
Mr. Hummel was elected by us. He answers to us. Don’t be shy about reminding him of this.
Time and events will not wait; make your sentiments known now!
Early this morning, President Hummel awoke to the news that another union negotiated an industry leading deal with Doug Parker. Not only did Hummel not have any input into the deal, but it appears that he will have little to no input to the final product slated to be negotiated in the very near future. USAPA has been completely and totally marginalized and there isn’t much the US Airways pilots can do about their new predicament.
A few years back a New York lawyer sold Steve Bradford on the concept that the tyranny of the majority could impose its will on the minority to get its way. At the time the east pilots outnumbered the west pilots almost 2-1. For the last four years, Bradford’s independent union experiment has spent millions of dollars of our money trying to convince numerous judges and juries that the majority can do as it pleases with little regard to minority rights. So far the west pilots have been successful in their efforts to thwart USAPA’s agenda.
The news this morning must have been a jolt to the USAPA faithful. The stark reality is as follows:
APA represents 10,734 pilots
USAPA represents 5,127
According to the Bradford theory on majority rule, the APA has every right to dictate the terms of the merger to the US Airways pilots. Following USAPA’s logic, the agreements brought to the new entity can be ignored by the APA as they were negotiated by former bargaining agents.
The good news for us is that the west pilots are fighting to ensure that the new combined east/west minority retains our lawful rights and preserves our current collective bargaining agreements.
For that we should all be thankful
We at the Compass Correction have a nagging suspicion that National Officers Elections are ongoing at our Union, but could find no written evidence from USAPA to confirm that fact.
Mike Cleary came into office promising a 45-day process for obtaining a date of hire contract. He promised a successful strike, should that process fail. He promised a war on management, for their treatment of the pilots. Mike Cleary leaves office having waged war on his political opponents, and the lawyers who extended credit to USAPA when it was only a dream and who helped to birth this union.
-Eric Rowe, Captain, PHL
For the Compass Correction
What a coincidence! TheEye was thinking along the exact same lines as Captain Rowe, except we were wondering where candidates Hummel and Bradford have been hiding the last few weeks. Ah, lest we forget that the true candidate for USAPA President is Captain Rowe.
Rowe would like us to believe that everything is Mike Cleary’s fault. That somehow his chosen puppets have clean hands in the failures of USAPA. After all, Gary Hummel is the current Executive Vice-President and Steve Bradford is the founding President. They have both been intimately involved in USAPA from the very beginning. Yet, both have maintained strict radio silence during the troubling events of the last few weeks.
Hummel and Bradford’s silence on both the ongoing censorship by our Communications Committee and the outrageous lawsuit filed against Lee Seham is troubling to say the least. Nothing prevents them from taking a public stand against these egregious acts. Yet, all we hear are crickets.
But as you will see with the next quote from Compass Correction writer Captain Woody Menear from 2009, this pattern from Hummel and Bradford is not new.
The Board meetings do run well, that is true. This is primarily because there is seldom unified disagreement by Board Members with the assertions and “leadership” of certain of our Officers.
By the way, the Founders, Steve Bradford and Mark King have been largely silent at the meetings in which I have participated, for reasons known only to them.
-Captain Woody Menear 2/16/2009
Do we really want three years of spineless leadership unwilling to stand up for the pilots of US Airways? A leadership managed by a group of unelectable and power hungry former representatives? The answer is obviously no, but if you vote for Hummel and Bradford this is exactly what you are going to get.
Finally, we couldn’t sign off without noting the irony in Rowe’s mocking of Mike Cleary’s 45-day date of hire contract. There is ample video evidence on YouTube that Steve Bradford was the one promising a quick date of hire contract. In numerous USAPA road shows prior to the NMB election, Bradford continually cited the removal of the dual ratification road block and the addition of a professional negotiator as the fastest way forward. Bradford also suggested that offering a cost neutral contract in exchange for date of hire would seal the deal.
As you probably saw in your last paycheck, Bradford never sealed the deal.
Tomorrow is our last chance to boot these failures from office and elect a fresh group of leaders who can most certainly - seal the deal.
“We regret to inform you that we have reached an impasse with the Communications Committee Chairman in our attempt to publish multiple updates in February and now into March. Even this short message has been censored and edited by the the Communications Chairman from what we are trying to say to you.”
-Joe Stein, DCA Chairman 3/12/12
One must wonder where the supposed voice of dissent on our BPR stands on this blatant censorship? After all, candidate Hummel is the current Executive Vice-President. If he doesn’t have the courage to speak up in this instance, we can only imagine his response as our puppet president.
The reason Hummel hasn’t taken a public position on this despicable instance of censorship is because Rowe and Menear support the current communications policy of the union. As a matter of fact, so does Joe Stein, as he voted in favor of the policy when his intent was to silence the west. Now that he is the one being silenced, he is feigning disgust. But we digress.
Rowe and Menear need to censor the west and all voices of dissent in order to maintain their power. If the membership knew the truth about the millions of dollars squandered on their lunatic agenda they would never get elected. Stringing along the pilots through three more years of nothing requires the continuation of the carefully crafted propaganda machine started under President Bradford.
We can stop this takeover by Rowe and Menear, but your vote is needed. A courageous vote that places trust in the very people we’ve been taught to despise. We have one more week to send these people out to the pasture and let them fly their lines in obscurity. Returning the reigns of power to these failed former representatives with the expectation for change is not a viable strategy. TheEye has maintained all along that the west is needed for us to be successful.
Enough of the censorship.
Enough of the power hungry flight pay loss vultures.
Enough of our life under LOA 93.
Vote for real change and let’s work with our west brothers and sisters for the betterment of all.
Charlotte - March 6, 2012
We write this open letter to encourage you to adopt a “Keep USAPA My USAPA” campaign. When Doug Parker made his hostile run at Delta, the employees there unified to keep US Airways out. Today, we are faced with a similar hostile takeover attempt. The union founded by Steve and your handlers was never designed to give the west pilots a voice or any power. They were to be marginalized and rendered impotent in face of our greater numbers. After the last round of balloting, we have become concerned that the west is gaining power through their psychotic talk of resuming JNC type talks and seeking a contract sooner than later. This is very troubling to say the least.
We are beyond thrilled that you shelved the “awe-shucks Gary” and have taken a hard lined approach to our seniority dispute. Mike, Randy, and Bill burned the midnight oil trying to get you to see the light. Like you, we also believe that Judge Silver will give US Airways full and complete immunity to negotiate away from the Nic. After all, the Philly power brokers would never have put Steve up to the whole USAPA idea in the first place if they didn’t believe we had an absolute right to discard the Nic.
But just in case the little old lady in the desert ignores case law and rules against us, we need a president willing to keep us on LOA 93 forever. Gary, you are that guy. A targeted “Keep USAPA My USAPA” campaign is exactly what we need to make sure our pilots fall lock step in-line with the plan. Ceding just one vote to the west could lead to a juggernaut so powerful that one day we’ll all wake up with a joint contract that contains work rules and pay on par with our industry peers. We know you will not let this happen.
Remember Gary, you are the last line of defense protecting our pilots from themselves. If the west gets into power and we’re allowed to vote on a contract, we will have failed our fellow aviators.
Your fellow “Keep USAPA My USAPA” brothers and sisters
“Our union can no longer tolerate demanding and demeaning rhetoric from union officials who fail to respect democracy. If we continually blame others, there will be no end to the blame...Which Captain will you choose? One who berates his fellow crew members who offer solutions, or one who listens to all before charting his course? It’s time for a change.”
-Gary Hummel Feb. 9, 2012
“We find nothing in the RLA, ALPA merger policy, or the Transition Agreement that would require USAPA or US Airways to adhere to the Nicolau Award. We will employ all available resources to ensure that a DOH seniority list is ratified by our union in our new collective bargaining agreement.”
-Gary Hummel Mar. 5, 2012
It appears there are at least two Gary Hummel’s running for election this month. On some days we have the “awe schucks, can’t we all get along” Gary and on other days we have the “damn the torpedoes, date of hire or nothing” Gary.
During the first round of balloting we had the softer-gentler Gary espousing the virtues of a contract and taking care of all US Airways pilots. Now during the run-off, the toxic Gary has appeared ready to swoop in and caress the emotional remnants from the campaigns of the departed. Apparently, Gary’s handlers have advised him that he only needs the east pilots to propel him into office.
This lack of core is not what the pilots of US Airways deserve. For too long we’ve been strung along by spineless officeholders telling us exactly what we want to hear. Not one campaign promise made many years and campaigns ago by Hummel or Bradford has come to fruition. Four years ago they promised date of hire and an industry leading contract. All they have delivered is the most polarized and divided group in the profession working under two of the industries worst contracts. They now have the audacity to ask for our trust again. They should be ashamed of themselves; but they’re not because we continue to enable their thirst for power.
The fact is, without unity and competent leadership we are doomed to failure. Unity means east and west pulling together for the betterment of all. The flip flopping by the Hummel ticket to unify north and south against the west will have catastrophic long term consequences for the combined pilot group.
Whether it's merger or contract talks, we need true leaders who stick to their cores, no matter how unpopular the message.
So we humbly ask - Will the real Gary Hummel please stand up?
“I am running for USAPA Vice President because I believe that I have found someone better qualified than I to sit in the President’s chair and that person is Gary Hummel. Gary is a staunch pilot advocate and he supports Date of Hire as enshrined in our constitution.”
Four years ago Steve Bradford along with his sidekick lawyer Lee Seham promised us a quick contract along with the annihilation of the Nic. Not only is a final affirmation of the Nic right around the corner, but we are further away from a contract than ever.
We have yet to find any supporters of the Kirby proposal on either coast, except possibly Steve Bradford and his lawyer. This is what Seham had to say about convincing Doug Parker to accept USAPA’s date of hire list.
It seems the Kirby proposal in exchange for date of hire is a viable option for the Bradford-Hummel ticket. Remember, Bradford’s first campaign email this year ran on the promise of a Seham return.
The fact is, Gary Hummel and Steve Bradford have no ability to deliver on the centerpiece issue of their campaign - A contract with date of hire. They couldn’t do it four years ago and they certainly can’t do it today.
It appears their campaign strategy is to portray Hummel as the “awe shucks, it’s in the court’s hands" guy while Bradford projects the edgier "date of hire with no exceptions" bill of goods persona.
The only result we see from the election of this good cop-bad cop duo is a continuation of the past four years. Which by even the best estimations equates to absolutely nothing.
The polls are open, there are other options.
Gary Hummel and Steve Bradford support DATE OF HIRE. It is part of the opposition “big lie” to say otherwise.
I am a strong believer in USAPA, our Constitution and Bylaws including seniority based on Date of Hire...
I want a contract and I want to work to achieve one that solidifies Date of Hire...
Make No mistake, USAPA continues to maintain that the Nicolau Award is not binding and that seniority is an issue that must be resolved in negotiations subject to membership ratification. Anything that anyone tells you to the contrary is categorically untrue.
We are rapidly approaching the four year anniversary of USAPA’s reign of power. Since that time, we’ve been parked by the NMB, slapped with a permanent federal injunction for an illegal job action, and lost a grievance that could have restored our wages. In that same time, we lost a DFR trial, sued our west colleagues for alleged RICO crimes, and lined the pockets of a New York law firm with millions of our hard earned dollars.
Now the same exact people who got us into this unbelievable mess are running for office basing their entire campaigns on their degree of support for....you guessed it - date of hire! Instead of offering fresh ideas and blueprints for the future, they are buying hundreds of dollars worth of bandwidth and spamming our emails swearing allegiance to the unobtainable quest of date of hire.
What we can guarantee you is that if you vote for any of these retreads, you will be casting your vote in favor of nothing. That’s right, not one of them has given us any reason to expect anything more than nothing. After all, almost every single one of them has had their chance to produce positive results for our group and instead they chose - nothing.
For the past four years the only thing 1.95% of our salaries has gotten us is a soap opera unworthy of day time cable television. As we continue to labor for salaries akin to turbo prop pilots, our hard earned dollars are funding flight pay loss leaches completely consumed by office dalliances, leaked emails, office space, illegal job actions, and politics of personal destruction.
As you cast your final vote, we hope you realize that checkmarks next to names such as Stein, Borman, Bradford, Hummel, and McKee are completely interchangeable. These names from the past have absolutely nothing positive to offer our combined pilot group.
It’s up to us to prevent a repeat of the last four years. Your vote can and will determine the remainder of your career.
Think about it.
A popular argument from our third list pilots is that they are better off supporting separate operations and a quick upgrade than supporting a reform candidate and a quick contract. On the surface a five year upgrade with separate operations sounds like a no-brainer. But when the numbers are crunched, it’s a losing proposition.Let’s use Delta as our comparison:
If for some reason the expected upgrade on the east operation is reduced from its current ten year projection to five years, the cumulative base salary over the first eight years with an E190 upgrade at year five equals $571,200.
The Delta first officer will still make over $188,154 more in the same eight years than the US Airways first officer who took an upgrade on the E190 at year five.
As we all cast our votes this election session, it is crucial that we arm ourselves with the facts. If for some reason US Airways does not merge and remains a separate entity, the newly hired pilots will be far better off seeking an industry standard contract than working under bankruptcy level wages.
Whether it's stand-alone or merged, you cannot afford to vote for a date of hire candidate.
Delta 320 first officer for 8 years
US Airways E190 first officer for year one followed by 320 first officer years 2-8.
US Airways E190 first officer for year one followed by 320 first officer followed by E190 captain at year 5.
It’s election season in USAPA world and the candidates are busy filling our mailboxes with diatribes of blame as to why we haven’t achieved a date-of-hire contract and fulfilled the union’s original intent. On one corner there is founder Stephen Bradford whining about the firing of Lee Seham and on the other side is the paranoid fringe represented by Bill McKee claiming a vast conspiracy between his opposition and the Phoenix candidates.
One theme consistent between virtually all of the candidates is the finger pointing and incessant blame that all of our problems are a result of the former bargaining agent and those who served under its evil grip.
What is abundantly clear is that almost every single candidate running for office has had their chance to create the promised utopia, but failed miserably to do so. Now they seek your vote with absolutely no vision or plan to move the combined pilot group forward.
Looming on the horizon is a possible merger with a much larger pilot group. If the analysts are correct, a merger between US Airways and American Airlines is likely before the end of the year.
American Airlines currently has 1,685 pilots on furlough and recently announced plans to furlough an additional 400. (source: www.airlinepilotcentral.com)
A vote for any of the date-of-hire candidates will place the employment of thousands of US Airways pilots at risk. Pilots who brought jobs to the transaction could be furloughed all in the myopic quest to destroy the careers of the America West pilots.
Incredulously, when this theory is mentioned on the line, the typical response is that an arbitrator will protect those who brought jobs. What they don’t realize is that the USAPA Constitution requires the Merger Committee to pursue a date-of-hire integration regardless of the devastation it could cause the pre-merger pilot group. Further, using USAPA’s own pretext, if the American pilots are unhappy with the arbitrated list they can use their significant majority to circumvent the arbitration and impose their self determined seniority list on the smaller US Airways pilot group.
This possibility should send shock waves down the spine of every US Airways pilot.
Stay tuned for more from TheEye. This election is too important for anyone to sit on the sidelines.
Pat, Manny and I all share a military background and we have been schooled in leadership techniques but I don’t recall learning about the methods they are using here. It seems like something more out of the playbook of a South American dictator rather than what should be coming from an ‘officer and a gentleman’.
First Officer Dean Colello
Service before self
Excellence in all we do
An open letter to First Officer and NAC Member Dean Colello:
Thank you for your honest and very public statement regarding the recent resignations of Capts' Day and Lopez from the NAC. It must be incredibly frustrating to witness your years of note taking experience flushed down the drain by such reckless and self serving individuals. Rest assured that one day the hard work you selflessly gave our pilot group will bear its fruit when an important contract dispute confronts us. The quality of your product will most assuredly guarantee us success.
The seriousness of purpose conveyed by your letter should give all US Airways pilots pause. Your credibility should never be questioned as few pilots can claim so many years of uninterrupted full time union service. Hold your head high Dean, for you have seen it all. You’ve had a front row seat to the messy sausage making process first at ALPA, then at USAPA, and possibly both at the same time.
It is clear that the tragedy befallen you over four years ago has caused you significant stress. Switching your allegiance in order to preserve the self placed unimaginable demands on your core. In that light, we understand your break with the COC and your direct communication to us rank and file line workers.
Dean, it must be difficult to look back and see the mess you’ve helped create. We would just like to remind you that it is never too late to put honor ahead of self. So pack a lunch, leave the flight case at home, and enjoy the fruits of your labor - separate ops under LOA 93 for ever and ever. Congratulations, you’ve done it!
“Unfortunately, there is no middle ground being offered by our opposition on any front, so there is simply no question of which side of the battles to be on. We will neither cease nor buckle and our adversaries should clearly understand that our commitment to our collective futures will endure regardless of what is thrown at us.”
USAPA President Mike Cleary 12/19/2011
TheEye is once again shaking our head in bewilderment wondering exactly who ‘our’ adversaries might me in Mr. Cleary’s delusional world? Could he be referring to the west pilot class, US Airways management, another union?
The rapidly dwindling mass of the Cleary regime has declared war on all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Resignation letters continue to collect on the Woodlawn doorstep as our ever despondent and irrational officer corps wrestles amongst themselves for control of the agenda. The march towards total and unconditional victory has been declared despite the ever dwindling fuel and ammunition supply. Total chaos and complete implosion are likely at any moment.
Meanwhile, those of us living in the real world are struggling to provide Christmas cheer for our friends and families. We naively believed that our new union would take advantage of the recovering industry and provide much needed relief to our financial houses. Instead, we have our independent USAPA - A dysfunctional embarrassment incapable of proving us with the most basic of services. The promise of a date-of-hire contract that protects our attrition has been replaced by an eternal sentence of LOA 93.
No amount of bravado printed on a USAPA letterhead can change the fact that our union has failed to bring one benefit to our pilot group. We’ve squandered millions of dollars on legal fees trying to sue our way to success. The very law firm with whom we placed our endearing trust has been ousted, replaced by an outfit with double the rates and none of the charisma Lee brought to the courthouse.
Our lives at work have degenerated into hours of fantastical conversations focused on a phantom merger and the liquidation of the west operation. Even our President alluded to our new fantasy by suggesting the west would be exposed in this hypothetical merger but the east would be protected. Our new hires have also been foolishly convinced that they would be better off supporting the war effort with grandiose promises of rapid advancement and west marginalization.
TheEye is here to ring the sobering bell of reality. The reality already told to our waring leadership by our new legal team. The reality that the seniority fight is coming to a rapid close and we would be far better off embracing our west colleagues than promoting their extinction. With the departure of the only lawyer confident of our plan, we need to reevaluate our position going forward. The 1700 west pilots will have virtually no effect on our careers if we unify with them now before the next transaction.
On the other hand, should the 1700 west pilots unite with a much larger majority, our situation could become even more dire. Contrary to popular lore, our COC language is not air tight and will not overcome Judge Silver’s sphere of influence or the negotiating leverage of a larger pilot group.
We can guarantee one thing -
If we maintain our current course, we will be hoisted with our own petard.
Although TheEye has been dormant as of late, we certainly have not ceased paying attention. The looming LOA 93 decision coupled with the eventual cementing of the Nicolau Award in Judge Silver’s courtroom have made commentary on the circus called USAPA rather unnecessary.
But the latest hypocrisy spewing from articles published by the website Compass Correction Coalition is too much for us to ignore. While we don’t necessarily disagree with much of what the Coalition writes, it is important to remind the readers of the recent history of its primary authors: Eric Rowe, Dave Ciabattoni, and Doug Mowery.
Let’s start with Capt. Rowe. It is well known that Capt. Rowe was the self-proclaimed protector of the “junior” pilots as Chairman of the PHL local council under ALPA. He led the charge to fire any member of the Merger Committee who wavered from a hard line DOH position. Even after repeated warnings from Arbitrator Nicolau, Capt. Rowe was not going to budge and compromise. After all, as an A330 Captain at the pinnacle of his career, he had little to lose by maintaining a “damn the torpedo’s, full speed ahead” approach. The minute the Nicolau Award was released he parlayed his role as protector into a founding supporter of USAPA and its mission to circumnavigate Nicolau. Few of his admirers ever stopped to question the ineffectiveness of his leadership. In fact, it could be strongly argued that had he ceded true autonomy to our Merger Committee, we would never have had to deal with the Nicolau Award as we know it. Doing so, however, would have surrendered his epic status among his faithful flock.
Next we have Dave Ciabattoni who served with Capt. Rowe as First Officer Representative under ALPA for the PHL domicile. Capt. Ciabattoni supported his chairman’s hard line approach and demanded full DOH allegiance from the Merger Committee. They along with John Brookman and Mark King in Pittsburgh formed a four vote roll-call to block any movement off of strict DOH. Once the Nicolau Decision was released, Capt. Ciabattoni quickly jumped ship to the USAPA cause. One must wonder if he was really surprised by the Nicolau Award given his hardline stance and the warnings from Nicolau. Could it be possible that his position was designed to get the result it did in order to decertify ALPA? We’ll never know. What we do know is that Capt. Ciabattoni took a lead role in the new union and wrote a substantial portion of the USAPA Constitution and By-Laws. The same document that now deprives his clique of absolute power. The irony is uncanny.
Moving on to Doug Mowery: the “nice guy” behind the Rowe and Ciabattoni front. Capt. Mowery was a member of the JNC negotiating a contract that would blend the east and west contracts. He worked hard for the JNC right up to the release of the Nicolau Award and then jumped on the “too shocked” to continue bandwagon. Why he was so shocked is a mystery to us as he was fully briefed and on board with the hard line stance taken by the PHL and PIT representatives. With the new union up and running, Capt. Mowery became the face of USAPA that the old hardliners wanted to advance. His name is continually found on USAPA nominating and election ballots. More recently he has begun signing his name to Compass Correction Coalition articles.
What caught our Eye was the statement they made in their November 30th open letter to the BPR. They wrote, “If USAPA loses the right to negotiate its own seniority system, the repercussions for the profession and our pilot group should be obvious to the Board.” They must understand that no one argues that USAPA doesn't have the right to negotiate its own seniority system. The problem for them is that they helped form a union with the documented goal of purposely disadvantaging the AWA pilots. If USAPA exercises its right to negotiate, the west pilots will most assuredly sue for DFR and win. And if Judge Silver doesn't release US Airways from their obligations as memorialized in the Transition Agreement they will be sued too. Their favorite lawyer either never told them this inconvenient truth or they never listened to opposing viewpoints when they joined Capt. Bradford in the back of the van. Their blind acceptance of the notion that changing bargaining agents would free the east pilots from the Nicolau Award was as dangerous then as it is now. What is further troubling is that these so called “unionists” believe that their failure to destroy the careers of another group of pilots will somehow have negative repercussions for the profession. They must have missed the fact that their actions have allowed US Airways to employ some of the lowest paid pilots in the world for the past decade.
In the coming officer elections, the names above are highly likely to surface on a ballot or nominating form. Yup, the same old-same old is coming to a ballot box near you. We get to choose between the failed hardliners of the past who make us feel good with their ineffective posturing and the current dictatorial regime that has gotten has absolutely nowhere since their ascent to power. Add these two factions together and one could only begin to calculate the damage inflicted on our pilot group. We are all desperately in need of results, yet these names have never produced anything of meaning for our group.
Recycling the past hasn’t worked too well. We need new, brave, and bold leadership.
“As we updated you in our June 7th briefing, USAPA Paralegal Cathy McHale contacted Arbitrator Kasher seeking his availability for the scheduling of future arbitrations. Arbitrator Kasher reported that he was recovering from major surgery, that he was "back in business," and that he would try to complete his work within the next couple of months. As you are aware, he currently has two decisions pending before him: the Hotel Selection grievance and the Letter of Agreement 93 grievance.”
-August 3, 2011, The Iron Compass
TheEye has received confirmation from numerous sources that Arbitrator Kasher issued his decision in the Hotel Selection grievance more than a week ago. From our understanding USAPA lost the grievance and is purposely withholding the decision from the membership.
Considering USAPA and First Officer Parrella’s pattern of deception and lies, how can we be sure that a decision in the LOA 93 case hasn’t been issued?
We would like to know why USAPA has held this information from us and why they continue to mislead the membership?Yes, these are rhetorical questions.
"In short US Airways is in federal court not because of any actions of its pilots but in a blatant attempt to muzzle your union from bringing its legitimate concerns regarding the safe operation of US Airways airplanes to the attention of the passenger public. We have retained counsel and experts to maintain a comprehensive and vigorous defense and will apprise you of the developments in this case as they unfold."
-August 3, 2011 USAPA Legal Update
The hundreds of pages of evidence submitted by US Airways in their request for injunctive relief from USAPA's illegal job action is overwhelming. As we've been writing for some time, this isn't a campaign about safety or protecting the general public. This campaign is about quasi date-of-hire and nothing else. Since 2005 the east pilots of US Airways have been promised quasi date-of-hire and they will stop at nothing, including the liquidation of the airline, to achieve their goal. Unfortunately for all of us, it took Mr. Parker the better part of six years to figure this out.
The latest lawsuit was filed by the Company almost one week ago. Since that time USAPA has continued to poke the bear in the eye with defiant updates from the national office, as well as the Philadelphia and Charlotte domiciles.
Although there have been off the record conference calls among the east BPR members and officers, there have been no publicly announced meetings called by the President to discuss legal strategy. USAPA is facing the greatest threat to its existence since its formation and there has not been one official meeting or conference call. Remember, this is the same leadership that couldn't even sign an office lease without holding numerous BPR meetings. Yet a lawsuit with the potential for crushing monetary implications is met with internal silence?
Through many sources, TheEye believes that the BPR has been holding unofficial phone conferences regarding the Company's lawsuit and its illegal safety campaign. It is our belief that these clandestine meetings predate the latest lawsuit.
Not only is conducting official union business under this veil of secrecy against the USAPA C&BL's, but it's a violation of federal labor law to exclude certain elected representatives.
But then again, most east pilots remain silent as this is all being done in the name
of quasi date-of-hire.
It is ironic that we still complain about the back room deals made in smokey rooms at the Key Bridge Marriott by our former bargaining agent, but we condone our current union's secrecy when it involves the destruction of another pilot group.
Hypocrites we are!
On a final note, have you noticed that the stench created by our BPR's "Safety
First" campaign was even too much for Mr. Seham to stomach? We never thought we would see the day where his lust for billable hours was overcome by the recklessness and stupidy of his client.
“In or about April, 2011, USAPA distributed to its members lanyards that bear the legend “Safety First, I’m on board”
-Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief filed by USAPA.
We’re confused! Until this latest court filing, USAPA has denied any and all involvement in the “Safety First, I’m on board” illegal job action. Now the Union is taking full ownership of this out of control and ill advised campaign.
Not only is USAPA taking ownership, but in a letter to US Airways COO Robert Isom, USAPA President Mike Cleary proclaimed “We consider the new policy to be simply a component of a policy of intimidation, undermining union activities, and subordinating safe operations to corporate profit. We are therefore advising our members to continue to visibly demonstrate their support for their bargaining representative through union-approved lanyards, pins and badge-backers.”
We have no doubt that Mr. Cleary has placed his red "Union Pilot" badge backer and yellow "Safety First, I'm on board" lanyard in the top drawer of his conference room office desk* in compliance with the new Company directive. After all, he completed his Distance Learning module on-time in direct conflict with phone calls and text messages made by his most loyal supporters.
Now that the bet has been wagered in this high stakes game of chicken, will the Company or USAPA blink first?
Considering US Airways management has done nothing but condone and encourage USAPA’s behavior over the past three years, our money is on the Company.
Are you willing to take the risk or will you join USAPA's leadership and comply with the directive?
As you head to work on August 1st, the choice is yours.
* TheEye has confirmed that Mr. Cleary refuses to occupy the office allocated for the President at USAPA’s new headquarters as he considers it to be inadequate.
Earlier this week, Vice President of Flight Operations Lyle Hogg issued a letter to all US Airways pilots announcing the termination of pilots for their failure to complete required Distance Learning training. In his letter, Captain Hogg quoted from his prior letter:
“In recent weeks many of you have been contacted via phone, sent messages, or have seen flyers and stickers encouraging pilots to be “On Board” by delaying the completion of your Distance Learning Training. A concerted action such as this, intended to disrupt our operation, is considered to be an illegal job action and will not be tolerated.”
He went on to state:
“Therefore, I regret having to announce that you will hear of a few pilot terminations in the coming days. This is unfortunate, but we cannot allow intentional acts such as these to affect the service our passengers have come to expect from US Airways.”
TheEye has confirmed that none of the pilots facing termination are USAPA officers, BPR members, or Committee Chairmen. That’s correct; the same Mike Cleary whom so smugly suggested to a Crew News audience a few years ago that “we should watch what they do, not what they say” when judging the actions of management didn’t even have the courage to follow the advice given by his Union’s whisper campaign. He along with the rest of the USAPA leadership completed their required training prior to the deadline.
That’s right, the USAPA leadership stepped aside prior to the cliff and allowed their blind followers to fall into the abyss without a peep from Mr. Theuer's propaganda machine.
Captain Hogg’s letter is dated July 5, 2011. As of today, July 7, there have been no comments from USAPA about the fate of their blind followers.
Instead, USAPA has been busy fabricating this week’s Safety Gem describing a boarding dispute between a gate agent, a mechanic fixing aircraft Door 1L, and a west Captain. USAPA is obviously frustrated that their call for the immediate termination of the Vice President of Safety and Regulatory Compliance has fallen on deaf ears. Somehow Mr. Clearly believes that a concocted story involving a west crew will somehow cause Mr. Parker to reconsider Captain Morell’s termination.
In 3 1/2 years USAPA has produced absolutely nothing.
Now their hopeless quasi-date of hire mission is causing sheepish followers to lose their jobs.
You may want to think twice before donning your silly yellow lanyard.
Over the past month TheEye decided to take a step back and observe USAPA’s latest movements. What we’ve witnessed was nothing short of breathtaking. Whether you are an east or west pilot, support the Nic or believe it is the greatest miscarriage of justice in the history of commercial aviation, every US Airways pilot should be concerned with the autocratic and destructive behavior of Mr. Cleary.
Prior to Judge Silver’s ruling denying USAPA’s motion to dismiss, Mr. Cleary filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Company alleging status-quo violations. Although legal proceeding have become the norm for our dysfunctional union, this one was especially eyebrow raising in that the preparations and actual filing were done without the knowledge or approval of the BPR. Mr. Cleary used our dues money to secretly meet with and hire a New York law firm and then he unilaterally authorized the filing of a lawsuit. After the suit was filed and made public to the membership, there was no outrage, just silence. In fact, it seems the membership has reached a point of complete allegiance to USAPA’s ultimate quasi-DOH mission that the misdeeds of the officers, BPR, and committee members is implicitly endorsed. Mr. Cleary has carte-blanche authority to spend our money and do as he pleases because quasi-DOH rises above all else.
Did we mention that there is no money in the budget for this latest lawsuit?
It is worth noting that had Mr. Cleary not taken this unilateral action, it is possible that USAPA’s motion to dismiss in the Declaratory Judgment case would have prevailed. By filing the suit ahead of Judge Silver’s decision, USAPA indirectly gave Judge Silver the green light to proceed with the case. But again, since USAPA’s sole mission is quasi-DOH, the east pilots seem content or oblivious to this destructive course of action.
There is no question, the decision from Judge Silver was a knockout blow to USAPA and its quasi-DOH mission. In typical spin, as if we are too stupid to decipher, the USAPA spin machine buried the motion to dismiss denial below the expected dismissal of the Leonidas cross-claim.
With no place to go, the clock is ticking on the doomed to fail USAPA legal strategy. In his latest filing, Mr. Seham practically begs the Court to grant management complete immunity should it accept its quasi-DOH list. Due to the 9th's ripeness ruling, it is almost guaranteed that Judge Silver will not opine on a future event that has yet to occur. Remember all the legal updates boasting that USAPA would win at the 9th because the Addington case wasn't ripe? Seems Judge Silver will agree with them. Not to mention, she will probably also rule the record from DFR I as admissible.
Also buried in USAPA's Legal Update announcing their loss was the brash claim that 2/3's of the possible outcomes in the Company's lawsuit are favorable to the Association. Having consulted many legal experts, USAPA's claim is complete and total fantasy. Based on the law, the likelihood that management will be forced to use the unmodified Nicolau Award or be subject to a hybrid claim is the most probable outcome.
Just today, USAPA Legal issued a highly misleading Q&A regarding the lawsuit. In a response to their own question regarding the timeline of the case they wrote:
“It should not because now it is clear that the union and the Company agree on a key point of law, that merely signing a contract that does not include the Nicolau proposal does not expose the Company to any legal liability. That means that it is possible that a trial can be avoided.”
Did we read that right? Even those who blindly support USAPA must recognize this outright lie. If the Company agreed with USAPA regarding their liability and obligations under the Transition Agreement there would be no lawsuit.
Of course, while Mr. Cleary spends every last dues dollar on frivolous legal proceedings, the pilots have been convinced that burning the airline to the ground is the best way to procure negotiating leverage. Although no leverage has been gained at the table, it appears that the "safety first" crowd has now assumed the power position due to Mr. Parker's refusal to deal with the malcontents.
On a final note, we have confirmed that Pat "the general" Day has been tapped to join the NAC. Just what we need; another Cleary loyalist with zero negotiating experience and a documented hatred for a sizable portion of our pilot group.
The actions of our highly dysfunctional union sure look bizarre from high atop our perch.
By now you have probably seen one of the yellow lanyards worn by some east pilots screaming "Safety First" to anyone who will listen. As we've previously discussed we believe these lanyards to be component of a larger job action orchestrated by USAPA.
Tomorrow, USAPA plans a so called “solidarity march” at the Philadelphia Airport as part of their greater strategy of frightening the general public using manufactured safety concerns. They naively believe that disrupting the operation and encouraging people to book away from our airline will somehow compel Mr. Parker to open his wallet and offer an industry standard contract. The last time we checked, the highest paid airline pilots in the world fly for the most financially stable companies. Illegally harming the airline and jeopardizing the livelihoods of all US Airways employees is not only reckless but a recipe destined for disaster.
Like you, we were baffled by the following statement in USAPA's plea for participation in their planned Philadelphia march:
"As we get closer to the end game at the negotiating table, it's the perfect time for this public display of solidarity."
Did we miss something? We've combed the most recent NAC updates and can find absolutely no evidence that progress is being made at the negotiating table. In fact, most of the recent updates by the NAC complain about their inability to make any forward movement on even the most trivial of issues. The tone conveyed by First Officer D'Iorio is best described as one of resignation as his committee is continually outmaneuvered by a far superior management negotiating team. Far from an end game, it seems we are moving ever so closer to the parking lot. Progress by The NAC is measured by the size of the concessions given to appease the mediator, not gains achieved.
Many believe that USAPA isn't interested in achieving a contract. The theory is that the junior segment of the east seniority list is driving a plan to delay negotiations as much as possible in order to "upgrade" via attrition once age 65 retirements start. They ignore the financial foolishness of this plan as their separate operations career expectation would only afford a small minority of this subset a move from the right seat of a narrow body to the right seat of a wide body. Our industry peers flying narrow body aircraft already out earn every single east wide body pilot. The notion that there will be enough captain and narrow body FO seats available for the majority of the junior first officers is wishful thinking on behalf of this group. It's unfortunate that USAPA is concealing the reality that our retirement numbers are not stove pipe and the financial cost of this strategy is staggering.
There is also a faction of east pilots who believe USAPA's propaganda that the seniority dispute was resolved by the 9th Circuit. They subscribe to the notion that walking in circles in Philadelphia will translate into progress at the negotiating table. They also believe in the fantasy that USAPA is capable of completing a contract. They completely dismiss or know little about the Company's lawsuit filed in Federal Court against both USAPA and the west pilots. They ignore the reality that the Company is legally bound to the terms of the Transition Agreement and will never bargain away from the Nicolau list unless given complete immunity from the courts. The likelihood of court ordered immunity is just south of zero.
If you plan on attending USAPA's march tomorrow, we suggest you take a moment to assess the current situation and ascertain exactly what you expect from your time commitment. Do you side with the separate ops forever crowd or do you believe that walking in circles will somehow compel Mr. Parker to drop his lawsuit, accept a DOH list, and toss a bunch of cash on the table? Remember, the majority of those with whom you walk tomorrow will be compensated for their time through USAPA's overly generous flight pay loss program.
Knowing where you stand and what you expect is very important because we firmly believe that not only is USAPA incapable of reaching a TA, but it is firmly committed to delaying any progress as much as possible under the delusion that east attrition alone will advance their core constituency.
Our sources have confirmed that USAPA has been told by numerous advisors that the Nicolau award cannot be avoided. Eventually it will be the combined seniority list if the majority chooses to ratify a contract. USAPA is also keenly aware that mid-seniority range captains are fatigued and losing their patience with the separate ops crowd. USAPA has reduced its entire existence to pandering to competing segments of the east pilot group in order to maintain its quickly evaporating sphere of influence.
This multiple personality disorder is commonly referred to as schizophrenia. This type of mental illness exhibited by our union cannot be cured; possibly controlled, but never cured.
Unfortunately for all US Airways employees, Mr. Parker seems perfectly content with USAPA's reckless behavior. Thus far, he has refused to intervene as USAPA attempts to destroy our trust with the traveling public for its own selfish gain.
We often wonder, just who is in charge of our airline?
Mr. Cleary or Mr. Parker?
There is no question that the pilots of US Airways are frustrated with USAPA. After three years of going backwards, we are drifting further and further from obtaining a joint contract. It is now widely accepted that due to its systemic design flaws, USAPA will never be able to move the US Airways pilots off bankruptcy era wages and work rules.
Sadly, this reality has not been accepted by Mr. Cleary and his enabling BPR. In a pathetic attempt at creating negotiating leverage, Mr. Cleary has transformed his vocal criticism of US Airways’ safety culture into an organized and illegal job action complete with ID lanyards and a phone tree. We’ve received numerous reports from pilots whom have received anonymous phone calls and text messages cryptically calling for an organized work action. They must believe that by illegally sabotaging the operation and jeopardizing the financial health of our airline that Mr. Parker will cede to USAPA’s demands for an industry standard contract and DOH.
It is our sincere hope that the pilots of US Airways will recognize this as an act of desperation on the part of Mr. Cleary and ignore this dangerous call to arms.
As we have previously blogged, the line between politics and safety should never be blurred. A cornerstone of our former bargaining agent was placing safety above all else. Issues involving safety were always sacrosanct and never used for political gain. This contrasts with USAPA that lists safety as its fifth objective.
The reality is, illegal job actions do not work. Our objective should be to negotiate with a healthy company and use the threat of a legal strike to obtain fair advancements at the negotiating table. Unfortunately, with the continued alienation of the west pilots, achieving the necessary unity to stage a legal job action will never be possible under USAPA.
TheEye believes that it is time for US Airways management to once and for all stand up to Mr. Cleary and quash his mission to destroy our airline. We’ve worked too hard and have given up too much to ensure the success of US Airways. The so called “neutral” card played by Mr. Parker’s management team is enabling USAPA and jeopardizing the the future of our airline.
Mr. Parker, the ball is in your court.
Three years ago today the USAPA experiment was certified. Since then the US Airways pilots still lag their industry peers in almost every contractual metric.
There is no end in sight.
USAPA is a total failure and hasn’t delivered on one single campaign promise.
It’s a failed organization that has evolved to be nothing more than a gang of thugs wasting millions of dollars chasing imagined conspiracies. At the top sits a delusional officer corps enabled by an incompetent and revengeful governing body.
Those who dissent face swift charges and onerous legal consequences.
During this time US Airways management purportedly took a laissez-faire approach as the civl war created by USAPA afforded a significant labor cost advantage. But after years of enabling, management now finds itself in the crosshairs. USAPA is now engaged in a campaign to frighten the traveling public. They’ve trumped up bogus safety concerns and even warned would be passengers that it’s unsafe to use a credit card to buy a ticket on our airline.
Since USAPA hasn’t accomplished anything since its inception, it now believes that we are better off standing in the unemployment line than flying for a viable airline.
Maybe now that management finds itself on the receiving end, it will finally end its “aw-shucks” neutral stance and stand up to the bully?
We the US Airways pilots deserve a better union.
It’s time to work together and find a new way forward.
We get it! There has been an alleged data breach by US Airways management. To this date, there has been no evidence that any of the breached data has been used for nefarious reasons. We do agree that identity theft is a huge issue and one can never be too vigilant. Recovering from a stolen identity is a time consuming and arduous task that often times takes years to rectify. But again, there has been no evidence to suggest that even one US Airways pilot has been victimized by the Company’s alleged breach.
Why then is USAPA so singularly focused on this one issue?
With its third anniversary quickly approaching, Mr. Cleary cannot name one single positive accomplishment of USAPA. Our Union is a model of failure that has done more harm to the collective US Airways pilots than any other single entity.
It is abundantly clear that Mr. Cleary is using the alleged data breach as a distraction. The letter penned by US Airways Executive VP Steve Johnson gave Mr. Cleary and the BPR the perfect vehicle to divert the attention of a tired and hungry membership. We have talked to a USAPA insider and have confirmed that the Cleary strategy is to milk every last ounce he can from this issue. The problem for Mr. Cleary and the BPR is that they have run out of time.
The third anniversary of this failed experiment is a fast approaching juggernaut that cannot be ignored. USAPA’s new role as the identity theft police of the US Airways pilots does nothing to move our group forward.
The patience of our pilot group has run its course. We must now question USAPA’s future on our property.
When we voted to leave ALPA three years ago, it seemed plausible that we could break the seniority impasse and bring economic gains to all US Airways pilots. Mr. Seham and Mr. Bradford made it sound so easy and logical that casting a vote for USAPA was a no-brainer. Little could we predict that three years later an all out war with our west brothers and sisters would be raging out of control and progress at the negotiating table would be non-existent.
Looking back, voting out ALPA was an emotional knee jerk reaction to a seniority list that most of us perceived to be grossly unfair. It was the straw that broke the proverbial “camels back” after years of out of control concessions.
It was a decision many of us most definitely regret.
TheEye believes that we will all need to make a choice regarding our representational structure in the very near future. Do we return to the worlds largest pilot union, a truckers union with an airline division or stay the course with a failed USAPA?
Unless we take control of our destiny, it appears that Mr. Cleary and the BPR will merge USAPA with the Teamsters. Except for admitting once and for all that USAPA is a total failure, this may not be the best direction for our pilots. Many regard ALPA as the only solution to our situation. There is also a minority of staunch USAPA supporters who have the singular goal of keeping the Nicolau Award on the shelf regardless of cost.
TheEye believes that it is no longer possible to reform USAPA from within. The Constitution and By Laws were explicitly written to suppress the minority and provide unlimited powers to those at the top. No one, and we mean no one, is safe from the USAPA hammer. Did you know that the CLT representatives recently called for charges against founders Steve Bradford and Mark King for publicly criticizing the current leadership?
If USAPA seems out of control, it is.
We the pilots have the power to take back control of our destiny. A signed card and an NMB vote may just be the solution we’ve all been looking for.
In response to last week’s letter to Doug Parker from USAPA President Mike Cleary, US Airways management purchased one year subscriptions to the LifeLock identify theft prevention service for those of us on the east. Although we appreciate the gesture, we must acknowledge that this latest crisis was manufactured by Mr. Cleary in order to distract the membership from the rapidly approaching anniversary marking three years of total failure.
Recently, TheEye poured over hundreds of official USAPA communications dating back to 2008 and has yet to identify one substantial accomplishment. In other words, except for delaying the implementation of the Nicolau seniority list USAPA has done zilch for the pilots of US Airways. The hundreds of checks written with excessive machismo over the past three years are as worthless today as they were then. US Airways management still employs the lowest compensated pilots among all the majors and many regionals. With the projected billions of dollars ceded to US Airways by the ineptitude of USAPA we should be gracious that the Company has reinvested our concessions in the LifeLock corporation.
As Mr. Cleary embarks on his next legal campaign against our west brothers and sisters, it needs to be revealed that our union is facing a serious budget shortfall. While Mr. Seham enjoys a substantial surplus and can indulge in the latest German automotive marvel, USAPA will have trouble making the payments on its two leased Ford sedans. The prospect of a new legal front must bring tears of joy to the partners of Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen.
This latest hysteria initiated by Mr. Cleary and his propaganda machine is a pathetic attempt to distract the membership from the reality that USAPA is a failed experiment with no future on our property. Most east pilots are starting to acknowledge that other than delaying the implementation of the Nicolau list, USAPA is completely incapable of providing even the most basic of union services.
As you finish reading the mailing that would probably have gone in the trash absent the meltdown by Mr. Cleary, we need start a dialog on how best to move forward.
Hint: USAPA in its current form is not the answer.
Schedule with Safety
Most of us have heard the above motto repeated many times throughout our careers. Every time we report for work we strive to provide the safest and most comfortable product to our passengers. We double check the weather radar, examine the log book with a fine tooth comb, recompute the fuel slip for accuracy, and give the ship a once over just in case. For most of us, our pride and dedication to the profession is inherent. Union politics are left at the jetway door when we step aboard because at that very moment, the lives in our hands take precedence over all else.
Unfortunately for the pilots of US Airways, the sacred wall separating union politics and safety came crashing down three years ago.
Most recognize that USAPA has no negotiating leverage. Beyond the glowing reality that it has disenfranchised over 1/3 of the pilots, the remaining majority is splintered into numerous competing factions. Without national oversight, the BPR and its committee chairmen are free to conduct business as they see fit. The C&BL’s and the will of the pilots are guidelines, not absolutes.
In a gutless attempt to manufacture negotiating leverage, USAPA made a conscious decision to intertwine safety and politics. It started three summers ago with the purchase of a misleading advertisement in the USA Today with the false charge that management forces us to fly with unsafe fuel loads. Other than scaring the general public into booking away from our airline during a time when business was already faltering, the ad campaign was quickly exposed for what it was by a skeptical press corps.
In a continuation of this strategy, the USAPA Safety Committee along with the BPR authorized the expenditure of significant dues money to study safety practices at US Airways. A contract was signed with Dr. Terry L. Von Thaden, PhD of the for profit Illumia Corporation. Under the auspices of Dr. Von Thaden all USAPA members in good standing were invited to participate in the on-line survey. Overall participation was light with nearly half of all respondents coming from pilots based in Charlotte. DCA and PHX had the lowest participation.
As pointed out by the Company’s response to the study, the survey was designed to elicit responses to pilot emotions regarding contract negotiations and the ongoing seniority dispute. Vice President Safety and Regulatory Compliance Captain Paul Morell dissected the 12 deficient safety areas revealed by the survey and succinctly refuted each claim as nothing more than political posturing.
To add insult to injury, the Company’s response rubbed salt in USAPA’s wounds with the following statement about the obvious lack of unity within the union. “Although West pilots comprise 34% of the overall crewforce, only 14% of the participants were pilots from the West where ties to and allegiance with USAPA are weak.”
There you have it. The Company lecturing the union on its lack of unity! It’s no wonder USAPA has done nothing for the pilots over the past three years.
Schedule with Safety is more than a motto for most professional airline pilots. We understand the crucial link between customer trust and our ability to bring food home to our families.
USAPA’s co-mingling of safety and politics is an act of desperation that will bring harm to all US Airways pilots.
Today we all received a small profit sharing check. Don’t let it be our last.
If someone told you two years ago that the people of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen would band together to topple their oppressive and dictatorial regimes to force democratic reforms you would probably ask that person just what drug they were smoking. It is positively breathtaking to witness the oppressed transform their craving for freedom into action.
Concurrently, we watch the embattled dictators of these troubled nations proclaim with psychotic certainty the demise of the so called rebels and the infallibility of their regimes. In times reminiscent of Baghdad Bob, Muammar al-Qaddafi recently boasted to the press that his approval numbers have never been higher and his regime was winning the war.
In the grand scheme of our existence, the birth of democracy in the Middle East should never share the same papyrus as our struggles living under the USAPA regime. TheEye, however, feels it’s imperative to understand that human beings have an inherent yearning for freedom and upward mobility.
The recent mudslinging by the east domicile representatives is indicative of a regime teetering on the edge of collapse. The founders of USAPA along with the PHL and DCA reps are firing salvos at the current president and CLT reps. In turn, the CLT reps and president are firing back with absurd claims that they are launching their final attacks on the enemy and victory is around the corner.
The frustration level has reached its maximum because in three years USAPA has done absolutely nothing for the US Airways pilots. Quasi date-of-hire is no where close to being achieved nor is an industry standard contract.
In the latest distended rant by the CLT representatives they proclaim “We will not bring you a contract without back pay and parity provisions for our last 5 years of equal work for unequal pay. Management needs to know that the clock is ticking, and every day they delay, our new contract will cost them more money.”
Unbeknownst to the CLT reps, every day USAPA delays negotiating in earnest with the Company the US Airways pilots are losing millions in lost wages and benefits, not Doug Parker.
USAPA cannot and will not bring a contract with 5 years of back pay. But then again, this delusional proclamation by the CLT reps is indicative of their overall ignorance. Their rant started with a lecture that the cost of oil is not the problem of the US Airways pilots. Evidently McKee, Crimi, and Ingram didn’t miss their profit sharing checks in 2009 and 2010 when US Airways lost billions due to the rapid rise in the cost of oil. To them, the cost of oil is Doug Parker’s problem, not the pilots. Tell that to the hundreds of pilots who were sent packing during the worst recession in recent memory.
Eventually, the US Airways pilots on both coasts will need to find a better way to move forward. The divide and conquer strategy of USAPA is not sustainable.
USAPA was damaged goods from the first day of its existence. Unions are meant to bring workers together for the greater good. USAPA on the other hand was specifically designed as a bully to overpower a helpless minority.
Just like in the Middle East, this strategy cannot and will not succeed. Human nature dictates that the minority will never stop fighting their oppressors.
For as long as the oppressor attempts to stay in power, chaos and disfunction will rule the day.
Recently, former USAPA President Steve Bradford and his coconspirator Mark King wrote a campaign email endorsing two candidates in the PHL domicile election. They titled their commentary The State of our Union? In short it is dreadful!
We agree, but we have to ask - how could Mr. Cleary and Mr. Mowrey possibly be the problem? Weren’t they elected by a democratic majority vote? In fact, they are only symptoms of the real problem. If Mr. Cleary and Mr. Mowrey are free to disregard the constitution at will, then the problem is the constitution, not the office holders. If the majority was “mistaken” by electing these two individuals, then USAPA’s structure is responsible for the high bar it requires to remove them. Did it ever occur to the authors that their C&BL’s are completely unenforceable and subject to abuse by the BPR and President with no accountability? The reality is Mr. King and Mr. Bradford had a singular focus when they formed USAPA and gave little forethought into the operational realities of a real union.
USAPA’s problems are systemic and indicative of the inherent design flaws of its core objective. Forming a union that was designed to function as the antipathy of a collective unit was a recipe for disaster from day one.
Steve Bradford and Mark King are directly responsible for the unavoidable dysfunction that characterizes USAPA. Their new found idealism is void of any credibility and is clearly a product of circumstance, not virtue. They hired Mr. Theuer as their communications chairman and were pleased with his performance when they controlled the message. Now that he’s loyal to Mr. Cleary’s propaganda, they fein outrage.
We were especially perplexed by their statement regarding the west pilots; “Using idiotic words like traitor and painting any West pilot as the enemy is just plain stupid and shows a basic lack of understanding of the entire concept of a union..In fact, the mere act of not working with the West BPR members as equal members threatens our very charter.”
Wow is all we can exclaim! Remember the RICO suit that was maliciously filed against 24 west pilots in order to intimidate all current and future dissenters? Apparently they suffer from amnesia as the suit was designed and prosecuted by the two of them. Now they want to conceal their sordid past and make us believe they support the interests of the west?
It is fact that Messrs. Bradford and King are no better than their successors. They cast blame on the former bargaining agent for all their ills because they cannot accept the reality that they created a failed entity with no capacity for long term functionality.
The mantra of all USAPA supporters is to blame ALPA for all of their misfortunes. Ironically, the only ones mentioning ALPA on a consistent basis are USAPA’s most ardent supporters.
If we have learned anything over the past three years, USAPA thrives on failure and dysfunction. All but the truly delusional USAPA supporters must admit that this experiment in self rule isn’t working.
Three years ago, the US Airways pilots followed Mr. Bradford and Mr. King on mission impossible. All the founders were warned by numerous law firms and industry advisors that USAPA could never be a success. Their latest statement is an admission that the experiment is failing miserably.
One must wonder why they believe the US Airways pilots would ever follow their lead again?
Last week a joint CLT/DCA/PHL Domicile Update addressed to all US Airways pilots was released. To our knowledge only east pilots received the update and the west pilot representatives were not asked to participate.
Before we get into the specifics of their joint communiqué, we would like to take you back to 1985 and introduce to you Captain Rick Dubinsky. The following except is from Thomas Petzinger, Jr’s industry best seller Hard Landing.
“The pilot leaders at United appointed a longtime 737 pilot named Frederick “Rick” Dubinsky as the strike chairman...Dubinsky and his assistants recruited fully 1,000 pilots as volunteers on the strike committee. Soon they were putting in 10,000 hours a week preparing to strike against b-scales...And everyone received indoctrination in the need for unity...When ALPA put the matter to a vote, 96% of the United pilots authorized a strike. Word came from the ALPA offices in Washington that the United pilots should not worry about financing the strike: the national union would provide all the strike funds necessary, to the point of mortgaging the eight-story ALPA headquarters building on Massachusetts Avenue.
The union’s massive unity campaign reached its peak on Sunday, May 5, 1985, in a satellite production involving dozens of technicians and weeks of planning - a rally broadcast live to pilot domiciles in Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland, Miami, New York and Washington from Odeum Expo Center in Chicago. Strike Chairman Dubinsky, his gargantuan image projected on a huge screen over the podium, was like an oracle announcing the end of the earth...”
The 1985 pilot strike prevented long term b-scales at United and put the pilots in the driver seat for years to come. Having 96% support enabled the United pilots to pull off one of the most successful legal work stoppages in airline history.
Now let’s fast forward 26 years to the release of the joint CLT/DCA/PHL update. In their lame statement the founding reps noted that the US Airways pilots “heroically” chose a new path for their future. When most rational people think of heroic acts, voting in a union that was specifically designed to harm over 1/3 of its membership does not even come close to making the list. Labeling the election of USAPA a heroic act is insulting to the true heros of our world.
Evidently, these propagandists are not students of history. Captain Dubinsky knew that he needed overwhelming and airtight support to accomplish the United pilot’s goals. He understood coast-to-coast unity was essential for success.
In their joint update, the five remaining founding representatives vowed to stand together to achieve their stated goal of reaching an industry standard contract and destroying the careers of their west coworkers. Their word choice was peculiar considering USAPA has no intention of reaching a deal with management. Those of us that attended last week’s CLT domicile meeting witnessed our leadership state with straight faces that west participation isn’t needed. In fact, it was insinuated that we would be better off without west involvement!
We can only assume that these statements were made with a ‘wink wink and a nod’ so the official record would not reflect USAPA’s intent to accept LOA 93 for eternity as payment for permanent separate operations.
Captain Dubinsky and the true unionists who poured their souls into improving our profession must wince at the mere mention of USAPA.
Frank Lorenzo must be proud of Messrs Cleary and Seham. They’ve handed Doug Parker a dream come true.
Pretzinger Jr, Thomas. Hard Landing. New York: Times Books, 1995.
Yesterday, we received a public response by USAPA President Mike Cleary to US Airways CEO Doug Parker concerning a December 23, 2010 letter alleging Section 6 status quo violations. It must have been a busy day at the USAPA offices as Mr. Cleary released a President’s Message only hours earlier.
It is abundantly clear that Mr. Cleary launched this communications ambush to distract from the ongoing coverup of the alleged assault. Almost a week after the incident there has been no official statement from the union other than the announcement of a confidential three hour conference call.
Mr. Cleary’s emotional letter to Mr. Parker shows just how desperate, irrational and contradictory he has become to retain his power base. We were particularly interested in his statement “The industry is replete with examples of these success stories, the most prominent of which is Southwest, who continues to encroach on your failed business plan for just these reasons.”
Should we remind Mr. Cleary that this failed business plan netted a $447 million profit in 2010? That the strategy of focusing on US Airways’ core hub assets has returned the airline to profitability and resulted in recalls and new hires? That the operational performance of US Airways tops the industry in almost every metric?
Maybe we don’t need to as he contradicted himself in his President’s Message when he stated “...our company is in many respects operating at a premium to its peers”
Which one is it Mr. Cleary? Do we work for a profitable airline capable of improving our lifestyles or do we work for one with a failed business plan?
Those of us living in the real world believe the time to negotiate improved wages and work rules is now. Unfortunately, Mr. Cleary and his diehard disciples would rather maintain their war of attrition to keep the Nic on the shelf than pursue realistic proposals that can move us all forward.
Our sources have confirmed that our amateur negotiating committee (NAC) has proposals on the table that exceed the profit made by the Company in its best year by at least $50 million. In fact, since USAPA has no credible means of costing any of its proposals, the mediator is losing patience and negotiations will likely be parked in the very near future.
REPEAT: Negotiations will likely be parked in the very near future.
Which of course begs the question as to why Mr. Cleary would end his delusional President’ Message with “Few believed that we could win the representational election, create a highly-functional independent union, or win the seniority litigation. But we have won those battles. And we will accomplish the next goals too.”
If you’re keeping score, the only thing true in the above statement is that USAPA did win the representational election by a small margin. USAPA is far from highly-functional and the seniority litigation is far from over. In fact, Judge Silver has yet to make any rulings on the Declaratory Judgement.
In this new era of ochlocracy for US Airways pilots, the only certainty is no contract for years to come.
TheEye has received reports that the police responded to a call for assistance at USAPA headquarters early this week. It appears the union is covering up the event as there have been no official statements explaining this unusual activity.
We are very concerned about this latest development in light of Captain Rich Peters widely distributed letter warning of high crime rates in locations under consideration for the new USAPA offices.
The membership has a right to know why the police were called. The members also have a right to know whether any arrests were made and the identity of such individuals.
Until the union issues a statement regarding this event, we strongly suggest extra care and vigilance be observed if you must visit the USAPA offices.
Mr. Theuer care to comment?
TheEye would like to reiterate that we’ve asked Mr. Theuer and the union for more information. Some reports have the victim filing a report with the local police and some indicate that the police were summoned. That is why the title of the post has a question mark. What we can confirm is something happened and Mr. Cleary is engaged in a full blown coverup. Didn’t the founders intend USAPA to be a more businesslike and professional union?
TheEye would like to reiterate that we’ve asked Mr. Theuer and the union for more information. Some reports have the victim filing a report with the local police and some indicate that the police were summoned. That is why the title of the post has a question mark.
What we can confirm is something happened and Mr. Cleary is engaged in a full blown coverup.
Didn’t the founders intend USAPA to be a more businesslike and professional union?
400 300 150 100 48 The above represents the wild variations in attendance numbers reported by numerous outlets for USAPA’s latest feigned expression of frustration with the slow progress of contract talks. Like you, we are completely baffled by this latest display of bravado by a group more content with separate operations than a joint contract. US Airways Executive Vice President and General Counsel Steve Johnson told TheStreet reporter Ted Reed “They are driving the process by spending so much time on issues that are tangential.” In that same interview Johnson told Reed that USAPA is mistaken if they believe the 9th Circuit gave both sides legal clearance to cast aside the Nicolau award. Which of course is why US Airways filed their declaratory judgment lawsuit against USAPA. US Airways management is not interested in signing a contract that could expose the corporation to significant financial harm as a result of an unquestionably ripe lawsuit filed by the west pilots. The evidence is overwhelming; USAPA is purposely delaying the process. Instead of supporting a quick adjudication of the Company’s lawsuit, Mr. Seham has filed a plethora of motions designed to frustrate the court and cause further delay. If delay isn’t Mr. Seham and USAPA’s objective, why are they trying so hard to slow the legal process? The Company has been very clear that until the seniority dispute is resolved, progress at the table is highly unlikely. As has been the case from day one of the failed USAPA experiment, the choice is up to those of us on the east. We can stay content with separate operations and our bankruptcy era contract or we can push to move the process forward. Until we break our silence the status quo will be with us for years to come.
The above represents the wild variations in attendance numbers reported by numerous outlets for USAPA’s latest feigned expression of frustration with the slow progress of contract talks. Like you, we are completely baffled by this latest display of bravado by a group more content with separate operations than a joint contract.
US Airways Executive Vice President and General Counsel Steve Johnson told TheStreet reporter Ted Reed “They are driving the process by spending so much time on issues that are tangential.” In that same interview Johnson told Reed that USAPA is mistaken if they believe the 9th Circuit gave both sides legal clearance to cast aside the Nicolau award. Which of course is why US Airways filed their declaratory judgment lawsuit against USAPA.
US Airways management is not interested in signing a contract that could expose the corporation to significant financial harm as a result of an unquestionably ripe lawsuit filed by the west pilots.
The evidence is overwhelming; USAPA is purposely delaying the process. Instead of supporting a quick adjudication of the Company’s lawsuit, Mr. Seham has filed a plethora of motions designed to frustrate the court and cause further delay.
If delay isn’t Mr. Seham and USAPA’s objective, why are they trying so hard to slow the legal process?
The Company has been very clear that until the seniority dispute is resolved, progress at the table is highly unlikely.
As has been the case from day one of the failed USAPA experiment, the choice is up to those of us on the east. We can stay content with separate operations and our bankruptcy era contract or we can push to move the process forward.
Until we break our silence the status quo will be with us for years to come.
This morning, the Supreme Court denied the Addington petition for Certiorari. This means that the 9th Circuit’s ruling on ripeness stands.
As expected, USAPA issued its tortured legal spin early this morning claiming victory in the case. We also noticed that they rebutted TheEye in the closing paragraph of their update. We appreciate the feedback on the technicality as to whether the Addington case was actually discussed at conference or dismissed without discussion. Unlike Mr. Theuer, we are committed to factual reporting and welcome the correction.
As we previously predicted, USAPA failed to mention the lawsuit filed by US Airways management seeking a declaratory judgment. Although USAPA is no longer bound by Judge Wake’s injunction, they need a willing partner to break their obligations as specified in the Transition Agreement. Unless given full immunity by Judge Silver, US Airways management will not deviate from the Nicolau as it could expose the corporation to significant financial harm.
Unfortunately for all of us, a new contract is at least years away, if ever.
USAPA = Dictatorship:
In our last update we reported on the de facto trusteeship of the Phoenix Domicile Representatives following the unilateral suspension of powers by Mr. Cleary. On day two of this week’s BPR meeting, the elected reps affirmed the right of the USAPA president to place individual domicile representatives into trusteeship without due process. It is absolutely astonishing to TheEye that we voted out what we thought was an undemocratic union in favor of a dictatorship masquerading as a line pilot-up type organization.
The next time Mr. Cleary and his full time employee (First Officer Parrella) disagree with your elected reps their power to represent you will be suspended.
Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be proud that their governing style has been replicated in the United States.
Our silence is our tacit approval.
Earlier today the Supreme Court of the United States conferenced to choose which cases they will hear this Spring. As we’ve reported for some time, the likelihood that the Addington case will be on the docket is next to nil. The official decision of the Court will be 1000 - Monday, January 10.
We suspect that Mr. Cleary and Mr. Theuer are finalizing their USAPA Legal Update declaring victory over the west pilots.
Although the Addington case will be officially over should the Court choose not to hear the appeal, the seniority dispute will be far from over.
We would like to remind Mr. Cleary that the lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment filed by US Airways in District Court has yet to be heard. Although Mr. Seham is confident that the case will be dismissed, our legal resources strenuously disagree. Our sources also opine the likelihood that Judge Silver will grant US Airways management immunity should they accept a non-Nicolau seniority list is next to nil.
If we had a union truly dedicated to truthful communications, the reality of our predicament would be highlighted in their legal updates.
Instead, we’re glad you continue to read TheEye for in depth and truthful reporting on our union.
In fact, every time First Officer Parrella labels us “liars” our readership numbers shoot through the roof!
"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran Pastor
Last week, USAPA President Mike Cleary sent a certified letter to US Airways management, the Phoenix Domicile Chairman, and a Domicile Vice-Chairman suspending their right to represent pilots in disciplinary matters. We believe this to be an unconstitutional and possibly illegal act by our rogue president.
Yesterday, Mr. Cleary penned a President’s Message defending his baseless and unilateral action. In it he made serious accusations against two of the Phoenix Domicile reps. Our sources have confirmed that this action was taken without prior knowledge of the BPR and its officers.
Most troubling to us was the lack of due process afforded the Phoenix reps and the manner in which their power was removed. We are unable to comment on the validity of the charges, but we're aghast that Mr. Cleary believes he has the sole power to remove representatives on his own volition. We combed the C&BL’s along with the Union Operating Manual and we were unable to find this presidential power. Further, it is our belief that the removing of a representatives authority to represent pilots in need places the Phoenix Domicile in a de facto trusteeship. Mr. Cleary falsely asserted in his message “The suspension has no effect on the two domicile representatives' ability to represent their constituents to the fullest extent as members of the Board of Pilot Representatives (BPR).” Apparently, Mr. Cleary believes that suspending a representatives ability to represent pilots before management still allows them to discharge their duties to the fullest extent. He’s insulting the intelligence of all US Airways pilots if he wishes us to believe this.
Our sources have confirmed that the Department of Labor has opened an investigation into Mr. Cleary’s actions. Beyond the immediate peril placed on our organization by his actions, we are deeply troubled at the long term implications. Even ALPA afforded our Philadelphia reps the opportunity to defend themselves in a hearing prior to placing them into trusteeship. In fact, many fence sitters swung their support towards USAPA after ALPA took away their elected voice.
If we don’t take a stand on this issue, we're the ultimate hypocrites. Our silence is guaranteed to give Mr. Cleary and all subsequent presidents the green light to remove our representatives for their own nefarious reasons.
Mr. Cleary has finally been hoisted with his own petard.