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US: Still Two Separate Airlines?  
User currently offlineUA2162 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 495 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 11766 times:

How is it that I can board a US flight and know almost immediately whether the crew is East or West? They really are running two separate airlines. Even the hard product on the west coast feels different from the east.

I know that seniority is an issue in terms of contacts. But when is enough, enough?

US has improved in pretty much every category they can improve in. On time percentage has improved, baggage issues have improved, complaints have lowered; the list of improvements can go on and on. Can you imagine what they could accomplish if they were unified and on the same page? What's the deal here?

I'm willing to bet my life savings that UA/CO will merge their contracts before US/HP will.

Is Parker that blind?

Can we even blame it on Parker?

Yes, HP kept US from going under. Yes, US gave HP a presence on the east coast and Europe. Why can't both parties see this really was a good merger?

Just a few questions I would really like your input on. Nothing more, nothing less.

53 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4132 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11543 times:

Why would being able to tell whether you have an east or west based crew mean that the airline is not combined. It is not out of the realm of possibility that US management realised that having two companies worked best with crews that know the way on the routes they have been doing under their respective airlines for years. What I am getting at is if you live in PHX why would you want to move your life to the east coast to fly with the same airline you could fly with where you have lived for years.


Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlinebobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6449 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11460 times:

Quoting UA2162 (Thread starter):
Is Parker that blind?

Can we even blame it on Parker?

I would say you could lay the blame totally on the old US pilots who agreed to binding arbitration , then when it didn't go exactly as they wanted, didn't accept the decision of the arbitrator. They then started their own union and left the HP pilots in ALPA.


User currently offlineJackbr From Australia, joined Dec 2009, 665 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11425 times:

What is the difference between the service from East crew and West crew?

User currently offlineKITH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 378 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11101 times:

For all intents and purposes US is one airline.

The US Scheduling department over the last five years has become incredibly clever not having former HP crews end up near the end of their duty days in US cities and vice versa. However, this does occur.

The flight attendants are also still separated.

The flight attendants at US traditionally have followed the pilots bargaining strategies (using pattern bargaining) in order to co-opt their weaker bargaining power (FA's are more easily replaceable than pilots due to differences in training, for more evidence compare flight attendant strike techniques (wildcat) vs. pilot techniques (picket line).

The US pilots really had no choice. The US pilots had a legacy of never having to compromise (US Air was a 'real pilot's airline) and in the PSA/Piedmont/Mohawk/Lake Central combination's the US Air pilots were always the dominant group and seniority integration was by date-of-hire.

Following 9/11 and the bankruptcies of US, the pilots were unable to maintain their superior position and were forced to take pay cuts/benefit reductions and a loss of almost all of their pension. Any compromise would have altered their group (not union) dynamic and was unfathomable to the group and leadership. ALPA is very decentralized and local airline leaders always have had almost all the power, ALPA itself was not popular among US pilots after BK 1 and the loss of pensions despite ALPA's promises to save them, and the jets for jobs debacle/mid Atlantic airways issue.

HP was a very different airline and had reasonably good relations with their pilots, who had different career expectations (HP was growing in 2005, albeit never with A330 or 767's).

So you can blame the US pilots, or HP pilots or the arbitrator. Parker could have helped but for the most of it his and US's management's hands are tied as it is really an intra-union issue. Like most things however the true causes go back generations to the design of the workforces and how pilots are the most powerful unionized group of employees at an airline.

[Edited 2010-09-18 07:36:43]

User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5569 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11005 times:

A solid post, KITH, except for this part:

Quoting KITH (Reply 4):
So you can blame the US pilots, or HP pilots or the arbitrator.

The blame lies solely with the US (East) pilots. They agreed to legally binding arbitration, and when they didn't like the outcome, they illegally reneged on the deal. Had they followed the law (and had any morals), this would've been done years ago.

Quoting KITH (Reply 4):
Parker could have helped

Not really. Companies are generally prohibited in interfering with internal union affairs. In fact, it was only after a recent court ruling that US was able to enter a motion for a court to decide exactly what US can and can't do. They're tired of the pilot's fighting.... they just want a single contract.

Quoting UA2162 (Thread starter):
How is it that I can board a US flight and know almost immediately whether the crew is East or West?

I'd ask that same question: I've been surprised a few times on West metal flights where the FA is a furloughed East FA. If it weren't for the flight number ranges and some of the aircraft interiors, I'd notice little difference in service or quality.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlinechepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6207 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10957 times:

Question- How can you tell just by boarding an aircraft whether the crew is West or East? I'm assuming you are going to say West flight attendants are nicer- etc. etc. This is really something based on perception as I have for the most part had very nice PHL, CLT and DCA based flight attendants and pilots. And mind you this week alone I flew 4 segments on East operated aircraft with very nice, helpful and acommodating crews (PHL-FLL, FLL-CLT, CLT-SYR and PHL-PHX).

Flight numbers from 1-699 are West metal, 700 and up Easr metal, other than that and by looking out the window to look at your aircraft would be the two obvious ways to tell whether it's west or east. However, flight attendants wear the same uniform and the service flow on both east and west flights are bascally the same. The two airlines are basically one, the contracts for the pilots and flight attendants are tbasically he only things that have yet to be merged. As to the pilot issue I can see both sides of the argument and I can't say whether one side is right and one side is wrong. Both sides have a very compelling argument

Regards,


Chepos

[Edited 2010-09-18 07:32:35]


Fly the Flag!!!!
User currently offlineKITH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 378 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10916 times:

Thanks.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 5):

The blame lies solely with the US (East) pilots. They agreed to legally binding arbitration, and when they didn't like the outcome, they illegally reneged on the deal. Had they followed the law (and had any morals), this would've been done years ago.

Although the US pilots did agree to binding arbitration, the Nicoloau award was significantly out of the realm of prior awards (even the US Shuttle integration Nicolau arbitrated) so they were right to be upset. However, I agree from a legal standpoint binding is binding. I don't think morals can come into this as you could argue Nicolau violated someone's idea of morals by placing HP pilots with 17 years less seniority equal to US pilots. However, as anyone (especially US/HP pilots know) the airline industry can kick you in the teeth sometimes, it just sucks when it is you.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 5):
Not really. Companies are generally prohibited in interfering with internal union affairs. In fact, it was only after a recent court ruling that US was able to enter a motion for a court to decide exactly what US can and can't do. They're tired of the pilot's fighting.... they just want a single contract.

You're right. I was trying to be a little too deferential to the US management haters on here. I do however think prior generations of US management could have helped but Parker and Co were dealt the hands they were with the labor relations dynamic and legacies of bargaining they inherited from US.


User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10529 times:

Quoting chepos (Reply 6):

Flight numbers from 1-699 are West metal, 700 and up Easr metal, other than that and by looking out the window to look at your aircraft would be the two obvious ways to tell whether it's west or east. However, flight attendants wear the same uniform and the service flow on both east and west flights are bascally the same. The two airlines are basically one, the contracts for the pilots and flight attendants are tbasically he only things that have yet to be merged. As to the pilot issue I can see both sides of the argument and I can't say whether one side is right and one side is wrong. Both sides have a very compelling argument

If you run into the pilot for your flight, on their ID badges, the East pilots wear something that says Union Pilot, and the West guys wear a similar thing that says West pilot.

By the time this debate is resolved, most of the East pilots will be old enough to retire anyways, so this whole thing seems moot to me.


User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10110 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 8):
By the time this debate is resolved, most of the East pilots will be old enough to retire anyways, so this whole thing seems moot to me.

So this is an interesting point. Are new pilots hired under West or East or both? The issue will be automatically resolved over time as pilots retire only if new pilots are hired exclusively under one union.


User currently offlineCBPhoto From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1551 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10083 times:

Quoting bobnwa (Reply 2):
I would say you could lay the blame totally on the old US pilots who agreed to binding arbitration , then when it didn't go exactly as they wanted, didn't accept the decision of the arbitrator. They then started their own union and left the HP pilots in ALPA.

   Bingo! hit the nail on the head!

Quoting UA2162 (Thread starter):
Can we even blame it on Parker?

I say, yes we can...to a point! A split pilot group is much weaker then a unified pilot group, and a weaker pilot group generally gets pushed around by management easier. So from the managements point of view, this is a good situation for the company to be in, in regards to pay and benefits from the company! Its bad for the labor groups and the eventual customers themselves!



ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming
User currently offlinechepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6207 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10082 times:

The Wst Pilots tag reads "Cactus Pilot".

Regards,

Chepos



Fly the Flag!!!!
User currently offlineflyawa From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 201 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 9634 times:

Apparently binding arbitration has no legal teeth. Otherwise the east folks wouldn't still be working for the carrier.

I favor the east position, based on hire date and length of service. They include east pilots still out on furlough at the time of merger. Nicolau would require a veteran east pilot of say 12 to 16 years on furlough to come back underneath nearly 150 or so new hires (2 years of service) in the west.

As far as career expectations, the west only had the 75 as their best option, while the east had been flying TATL widebodies for some time.

At any rate, these folks are still bringing home the same pay checks, and will continue to bid out of their current bases for the aircraft types they are rated on. And as said, many of the seniors may reach retirement, long before this is resolved or before a west pilot has the opportunity to build hours on east metal.

The only wrinkle for management once the unions are merged, is if the pilots want backpay for what they would have been making since the airlines merged..



Better than most, not as good as some.
User currently offlinebobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6449 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8814 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 9):
So this is an interesting point. Are new pilots hired under West or East or both? The issue will be automatically resolved over time as pilots retire only if new pilots are hired exclusively under one union.

There has not been a new pilot hired at US for many years. There are still many (hundreds?) on furlough.


User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8330 times:

Quoting bobnwa (Reply 13):
Quoting EricR (Reply 9):
So this is an interesting point. Are new pilots hired under West or East or both? The issue will be automatically resolved over time as pilots retire only if new pilots are hired exclusively under one union.

There has not been a new pilot hired at US for many years. There are still many (hundreds?) on furlough.

I realize this, but that was not my question. As US pilots get to retirement age (furloughed or not), they are going to have to replace these pilots.

So are they hired under east, west or both? If they can be hired under both unions, then the problem could be tricky to resolve. If all new hires are automatically hired under one union exclusively, then over time the problem will be resolved.

[Edited 2010-09-18 13:16:51]

User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2053 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7907 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 14):
So are they hired under east, west or both? If they can be hired under both unions, then the problem could be tricky to resolve. If all new hires are automatically hired under one union exclusively, then over time the problem will be resolved.

East pilots can not be based in West cities and vice versa, eventually they will have to hire on both sides if this drags on long enough.

Quoting flyawa (Reply 12):
I favor the east position, based on hire date and length of service. They include east pilots still out on furlough at the time of merger. Nicolau would require a veteran east pilot of say 12 to 16 years on furlough to come back underneath nearly 150 or so new hires (2 years of service) in the west.

DOH would put most of the west captains back in the right seat and furlough pilots that actually had a job and were active at the time of merger. All of the pain would be on the west side.

The Nicolau award would delay east upgrades less than three years on average according to document created by ALPA (east) before they were removed. West pilots would have also been delayed in upgrading, even more so than east pilots.


User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12903 posts, RR: 100
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7649 times:
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Quoting silentbob (Reply 15):
DOH would put most of the west captains back in the right seat and furlough pilots that actually had a job and were active at the time of merger. All of the pain would be on the west side.

Which is why arbitration went the other way.

While I think we're in agreement silent bob, to those who want DOH, I note:

If DOH becomes the standard of this merger, you will *never* see the rescue of another legacy without horrid union interference from the rescuing carrier. I'd rather not see another Eastern (shut down instead of a buy out).

Is that what people want?

An interleaving would be more fair. Perhaps putting a block of the most senior West captains at the top.

Oh well, this will drag out.

Quoting flyawa (Reply 12):
As far as career expectations, the west only had the 75 as their best option, while the east had been flying TATL widebodies for some time.

The East was toast. There was no long term option for the East without the HP bail out.

I'm glad 2nd quarter results topped expectations. Well done! Hopefully that translates to growth.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineca2ohHP From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 954 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 7005 times:

Wow this is beginning to look like the pilots' labor thread on "the other site!" I feel part of the reason Mr. Parker didn't step in sooner in 2007 was, in large part, project minnow (the acquisition of DL in bankruptcy). I think a lot of what we see with today's US stems from that; for example, a marginal computer reservations system, very basic airport signage and the thought that flight/inflight CBA's would be resolved through another merger.

Had the plan been to fly solo all along, things would certainly be different at today's US, but to their credit they are getting there. As chepos mentioned above, I really see good East and West crews as well as not so good on both sides (and I fly US 6+ times per month on average) - which I've found to be the case on any airline in my personal opinion. The only thing that stands out to me is the aircraft operated by HP still have the old cabin dividers.

[Edited 2010-09-18 17:22:38]

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22731 posts, RR: 20
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6760 times:

Quoting chepos (Reply 6):
I'm assuming you are going to say West flight attendants are nicer- etc. etc.

Let's assume this is true. I'm having a hard time understanding what this has to do with the merger. When I fly DL, I can generally tell a ATL crew from a NYC crew from a MSP crew (and if you want to take the merger out of it, substitute MEM for ATL).

Even with a perfect merger, I'd expect to be able to tell a PHX crew from a PHL crew from a CLT crew.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineflyawa From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 201 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5737 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
The East was toast. There was no long term option for the East without the HP bail out

This point is moot, because America West bargained for US Airways and all of its inherent situations, ie- pilots with decades longer seniority and dozens on furlough. The merger precluded the toast scenario, so now the carrier must assimilate both pilot groups no matter how painful it is to west pilots. It cannot be all take and no give from west pilot group. The west pilots must submit to what America West's management bargained for the company's long-term growth and survival.



Better than most, not as good as some.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8408 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5586 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
The East was toast. There was no long term option for the East without the HP bail out.

To be fair, HP provided no money, and the East has more than earned its keep since then. Any "bail out" occurred as private equity injections resulting from the combination. Situationally, at that moment, the Old US might have gone under just like you say. But, HP was headed for history's dustbin as well. (remember the de-hubbing of roughly half their airline.....) They each ended up benefiting from the merger.

  

Quoting flyawa (Reply 19):
The west pilots must submit

Ok ok, They accepted the arbitration, and the East pilots did not. Pretty simple....  


User currently offlinequiet1 From Thailand, joined Apr 2010, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5404 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 14):
I realize this, but that was not my question. As US pilots get to retirement age (furloughed or not), they are going to have to replace these pilots.

So are they hired under east, west or both? If they can be hired under both unions, then the problem could be tricky to resolve. If all new hires are automatically hired under one union exclusively, then over time the problem will be resolved.

The answer may lie in watching DL. They are currently hiring flight attendants, but the pre-merger DL F/A's still work with their (non-union) work contract and the former NW F/A's still work under their AFA contract. Pre-merger DL and former-NW F/A's still cannot work together on the same flight. So, where do those new "DL" F/A neophytes go?

We should know soon!


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5569 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5321 times:

Quoting flyawa (Reply 12):
Nicolau would require a veteran east pilot of say 12 to 16 years on furlough to come back underneath nearly 150 or so new hires (2 years of service) in the west.

Career expectations. Simple as that. I don't care if you agree with it or not, I just want you to accept that that was the reasoning Nicolau used.

Quoting flyawa (Reply 12):
Apparently binding arbitration has no legal teeth. Otherwise the east folks wouldn't still be working for the carrier.

I'm confused. Why would you think all the east guys would be out of a job?

Quoting flyawa (Reply 12):

As far as career expectations, the west only had the 75 as their best option, while the east had been flying TATL widebodies for some time.

Which is precisely why the top 500 spots went to the East pilots. It's not a true and complete shuffle.

Quoting flyawa (Reply 19):
It cannot be all take and no give from west pilot group

As I just said, the top 500 spots went to the East guys. How is that all take and no give? In fact, by arguing for straight DOH the east guys are in fact playing all take and no give.

Quoting flyawa (Reply 19):
The west pilots must submit to what America West's management bargained for

I wasn't aware that America West had any say in the arbitration, nor was I aware that a contract can be thrown out just because a company wants it so.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineMSYPI7185 From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 710 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5321 times:

The short answer: They are one airline on a single operating certificate.

Later

MD


User currently offlineflyawa From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 201 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4414 times:

So, it appears that the carrier will operate indefinitely into the future with two pilot unions operating contracted equipment types. Although management signals a sense of urgency to get to one pilot contract, the fact may be that there is no need for urgency, as long as both groups are reporting for duty.

In answering the topic, it is one airline operated on two separate fleets contracted to separate pilot unions.



Better than most, not as good as some.
25 Post contains images SPREE34 : Yes. IMHO, US would have filed again, and at best been parted out. HP would have downsized to survive, and probably been merged into another carrier.
26 UPS Pilot : You are right that you can tell that they are still two separate airlines in one. How you can tell you might ask. The eastern crews are not that frien
27 usflyer msp : It is a cultural thing...I'll take an East crew over a West one any day. I find that the West crews are often too informal and it borders on unprofes
28 silentbob : Actually, it's only one union. After the company went to a single certificate, they had to choose one union to represent both the east and west. Obvi
29 Maverick623 : While the East guys are making less than what they would under a single contract, the lack of operational flexibility more than makes up for it. I've
30 Burkhard : It's a common misbelief that in any merger the synergy win from unification exceeds the loss of individuality. This is only usual approach in the USA,
31 Post contains images kgaiflyer : On the few "West" flights I've been on, the FAs disappear off the face of the earth after one drink service. You never see them again until landing.
32 silentbob : LH, AF, BA, etc.. would gladly consolidate if they could do it. Are they better off this way than as individuals? Sure they are. That doesn't mean th
33 Antoniemey : Decals? Must be a nightmare for the Ops, Dispatch, and ASA staff... This is very true... everyone has a different preference. Personally, I don't car
34 Burkhard : This I heavily doubt. Identification with airline brands is a strong value. If LH would just absorb Swiss and rebrand it to Lufhansa Switzerland, the
35 Antoniemey : When dealing with different national identities and the like, yes. In the case of US, both airlines come from the same company, so after a certain am
36 ScottB : These examples all involve carriers with strong national identities, and the maintenance of separate operating subsidiaries will remain necessary as
37 Cubsrule : You are exaggerating a bit here. A shutdown was a clear possibility but wasn't that close.
38 apodino : This is the only mainline example of this, but this is very common on RJ flights at the regional level. Say an XJ CRJ goes tech in MSP. There are per
39 chrisair : Judging by what I've heard some old HP crew say on the bus at Phoenix, I doubt they'll merge amicably. You can easily tell the pilots apart. Look unde
40 chepos : West flight attendants don't wear anything that differentiates them from their. Uniforms are the same, only the pilots wear the tag under their badge.
41 USXguy : East didn't boot ALPA just because of the Nic award. There's also their pension, locking out membership from voting on big issues (handled by the MEC)
42 WesternA318 : I've had many a flight on uS these last couple of years since the merger, and I have to say, I love both sides of the airline, east and west, as I hav
43 e38 : Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 18), "When I fly DL, I can generally tell a ATL crew from a NYC crew from a MSP crew . . ." Cubsrule, are you talking about fl
44 Cubsrule : Cabin (although if the pilot is from the base city and has an accent, you can sometimes tell that too). With NW, DTW/MSP versus NYC versus MEM was us
45 Maverick623 : Irrelevant. The fact that a new union was brought in to both: a) flaunt the rule of law by trying to overturn arbitration binding a group of workers
46 ckfred : A bit off point, but some Wall Street analysts think AA needs to merge with US to remain competitive with DL and CO/US. Considering the labor problems
47 USXguy : Maverick, Lets say you are an HP pilot and you flew the Dash 8s when they were on the HP cert. How'd you like it if a guy came in and said "oh, your 4
48 apodino : Just thinking. Because the Dash-8's were once a mainline aircraft at HP, and the HP certificate was the surviving certificate, and with the US pilots
49 DLATLOpsSup : I'm sure DL and the new UA wouldn't mind picking up what would be left of that debacle...
50 silentbob : Fortunately for US, most of the East pilots will be gone in the next ten years. That's the only way morale will improve there.
51 Cubsrule : It was not. They are using AL's old certificate through USAir and then US Airways.
52 WesternA318 : Unfortunately, I think this is true....just my two cents.
53 Maverick623 : Nice way to beat a dead horse. I don't care what union is in house. If the pilots have issues with ALPA, and want to vote them out and sue them, that
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