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YX Flight Attendants Win Seniority Claim  
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4261 posts, RR: 6
Posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4167 times:

I am surprised no one picked up on this. Apparently, flight attendants for Midwest Airlines sued Republic and the Teamsters saying they should have been integrated to the RAH seniority list per McCaskill/Bond, rather than furloughed as they were. Anyways, the seventh circuit court ruled today that the furloughs were unlawful and that the flight attendants were unlawfully deprived of their seniority.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...t-attendants-idUSN1E7AT1HB20111130

This raises two questions:

1. How does the ruling get settled as far as the Midwest flight attendants go? Do they get their jobs, or seniority back right away?

2. What does this mean for the Midwest Pilots, who met a similar fate? Can they make a similar claim against RAH?

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinenorcal From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2459 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3872 times:

I hope they get some form of compensation from RAH for how they were mistreated, both the FAs and the pilots.

User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2453 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3568 times:

Good for them, I'm glad RAH isn't getting off the hook so easy because this whole situation was poorly handeled.


Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3385 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3508 times:

Quoting norcal (Reply 1):
I hope they get some form of compensation from RAH for how they were mistreated, both the FAs and the pilots.
Quoting mke717spotter (Reply 2):
Good for them,

  

It'll definitely be interesting to see what the end run is.



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlinejetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7408 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3155 times:
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Quoting norcal (Reply 1):
I hope they get some form of compensation from RAH for how they were mistreated, both the FAs and the pilots.

I can predict what they'll get: Sorry y'all. Signed, Republic Mgmt



Made from jets!
User currently offlineFRNT787 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1320 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2972 times:

Quoting apodino (Thread starter):
1. How does the ruling get settled as far as the Midwest flight attendants go? Do they get their jobs, or seniority back right away?

It will probably be appealed. This was an appeal of a previous decision saying RAH and the Teamsters were in the right. I wouldnt expect any change for some time. RAH and Teamsters have a valid argument though that the jobs at YX were not long for this world prior to RAH. The decision to rid the airline of the 717s was made (By Boeing) before Republic, not after.



"We have a right to fail, because failure makes us grow" --Glenn Beck
User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1522 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2955 times:

Quoting FRNT787 (Reply 5):
It will probably be appealed. This was an appeal of a previous decision saying RAH and the Teamsters were in the right. I wouldnt expect any change for some time. RAH and Teamsters have a valid argument though that the jobs at YX were not long for this world prior to RAH. The decision to rid the airline of the 717s was made (By Boeing) before Republic, not after.

You're right about the appeal, but the rest matters not in the eyes of McCaskill - Bond.


User currently offlinepoint2point From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 2754 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2875 times:

Quoting FRNT787 (Reply 5):
It will probably be appealed. This was an appeal of a previous decision saying RAH and the Teamsters were in the right. I wouldnt expect any change for some time. RAH and Teamsters have a valid argument though that the jobs at YX were not long for this world prior to RAH. The decision to rid the airline of the 717s was made (By Boeing) before Republic, not after.

I think that we all understand that the damage at YX was done before RAH took over this ailing airline. And at first, I thought maybe that RAH was being given an unfair shake. However, as per the article

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Republic failed to honor the Midwest flight attendants' seniority rights when it purchased the airline's parent company, Midwest Air Group, in 2009.

I would assume that under contract law, if RAH took over the airline, it takes over the contracts, and if RAH isn't honoring this contract with the employees...., well, at least personally I'm glad for the employees....

And as for the appeal, well..... I'm not sure one party can just pick and chose which parts of the contract it wants to honor, and which parts it doesn't. I think that RAH will find that out in the appeals court.


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25086 posts, RR: 85
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2846 times:
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The company statement:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Republ...ways-Issues-bw-2010611094.html?x=0

"This was and is a dispute between the two unions as to whether seniority integration, using the statutory standard of ’fair and equitable‘ integration, was required by law."

The point of law seems to depend on whether you think it was a merger/acquisition or not.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineFRNT787 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1320 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2800 times:

Quoting point2point (Reply 7):
And as for the appeal, well..... I'm not sure one party can just pick and chose which parts of the contract it wants to honor, and which parts it doesn't. I think that RAH will find that out in the appeals court.

Well, according to the company statement, they dont care either way. They did not make an argument in court. If an appeal occurs, it seems it will have to be the Teamsters to file it.



"We have a right to fail, because failure makes us grow" --Glenn Beck
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4261 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2793 times:

This was ruled on by the 7th circuit. The article didn't say if it was the full court, or only a couple of judges issuing this ruling. If it was the full court, then any appeal would go to the US Supreme Court. Personally, I would expect the supreme court to decline the case, leaving the current 7th circuit ruling intact.

But there are plenty of other ramifications for this if this ruling is allowed to stay. Noteably this will give the West pilots at USAirways even more leverage to get Nicolau implemented then they already have (And they already have a great argument for that, so good that US East pilots are now trying to compromise). And the Mesaba flight attendants I am sure are watching this closely as well.


User currently offlinepoint2point From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 2754 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2701 times:

Quoting FRNT787 (Reply 9):
Well, according to the company statement, they dont care either way. They did not make an argument in court. If an appeal occurs, it seems it will have to be the Teamsters to file it.

RAH is a party to this, so really, how can they not care? Is it going to be easy for RAH to claim that this is just a union issue here, and it's something that they can't do anything about? Of course, this question is what I would assume brings the $500-an-hour contract attorneys into the picture......

Quoting mariner (Reply 8):
The point of law seems to depend on whether you think it was a merger/acquisition or not.

Just thinking out loud here (which can be dangerous when I think), I kinda agree with you on the law aspect, but does it really matter? RAH first acquired, and then merged YX into its system. And with that, at least the way I can see this, it's that it's both in this instance. So legally, how would this point of law really make a difference? At least this is my outlook on this, and maybe some can see this as well? And read last sentence of above paragraph about attorneys......

Quoting apodino (Reply 10):
This was ruled on by the 7th circuit. The article didn't say if it was the full court, or only a couple of judges issuing this ruling.
"One cannot remove bankrupt and soon-to-disappear carriers from the statute's coverage, as the Teamsters propose, without simultaneously circumventing the statutory text and frustrating the design behind it," Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the three-judge panel.

Based on the above, I think that this would be a three-judge panel, as opposed to the full court here. And with just this to read, it doesn't mention anything about merger/acquision.

On the one hand, YX was on life support before RAH entered the picture, with many ill resolutions already on their path, and RAH came in and probably did as best they could under the circumstances. Yet, on the other hand, the employees deserve to be treated fairly, and contracts need to be honored.


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25086 posts, RR: 85
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2674 times:
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Quoting point2point (Reply 11):
Just thinking out loud here (which can be dangerous when I think), I kinda agree with you on the law aspect, but does it really matter?

It always matters.

I'm no lawyer, but I am extremely litigious and have never lost a case - either as plaintiff or defendant - in both the US and Australia. I have always based my appeal/defense on points of law - not what we think the law is, or what we might want it to be - but what the law actually says.

One's heart might bleed for the troops, but there is a differential here - in law - was it a merger or not? The fact that two courts have decided differently suggests it may be a subjective appraisal.

Maybe this explains it more clearly:

http://www.jsonline.com/business/app...-attendants-4c39mu5-134911718.html

""The Teamsters union has refused to budge from this position, which it has maintained even after the National Mediation Board concluded that the flight attendants who worked for Midwest became part of a single bargaining unit at an integrated air transportation business," the appellate court ruling says."

mariner

[Edited 2011-12-02 11:50:40]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlinepoint2point From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 2754 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2651 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 12):
It always matters.

I'm no lawyer, but I am extremely litigious and have never lost a case - either as plaintiff or defendant - in both the US and Australia. I have always based my appeal/defense on points of law - not what we think the law is, or what we might want it to be - but what the law actually says.

One's heart might bleed for the troops, but there is a differential here - in law - was it a merger or not? The fact that two courts have decided differently suggests it may be a subjective appraisal.

Okay, I absolutely agree with you there. But if I may, please allow me to rephrase here.

One court ruled

in favor of Republic and the Teamsters, concluding that the federal law was never meant to protect the employees of an air carrier that "simply goes out of business.

and the other court ruled

"One cannot remove bankrupt and soon-to-disappear carriers from the statute's coverage, as the Teamsters propose, without simultaneously circumventing the statutory text and frustrating the design behind it,"

Now I know from the article that YX employees say it's a merger, while RAH/Teamsters say this is an acquisition.

Okay, I know that there's a lot more to the ruling from the courts. But from the two rulings above, there is no reference to whether this is an acquisition or a merger, correct?

Now, I'm assuming that merger/acquisition is addressed in sections of court papers that are not printed in the article.

But now my question is that - is this issue addressed by the courts? I have not read the court documents, nor could I find them easily online. So that's my question here. Did the courts address this issue differently of whether merger/acquisition, or is this talking points between the two litigants?

I think that this time I explained this better? (I think?)


 

[Edited 2011-12-02 12:44:02]

User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25086 posts, RR: 85
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2611 times:
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Quoting point2point (Reply 13):
But now my question is that - is this issue addressed by the courts? I have not read the court documents, nor could I find them easily online. So that's my question here. Did the courts address this issue differently of whether merger/acquisition, or is this talking point between the two litigants?

I haven't read the court documents - and Im not interested enough to do so - but it seems to rest on precisely that: was it a merger?

I don't know what the union is claiming, and I don't want to put words in RAH's mouth, but I believe (?) their position is that it was a purchase of assets.

Does that seem a fine point? Sure, but it may be a crucial one, in law.

Appellant: I'm seeking justice, your Honor.

Judge: Alas, I cannot promise you justice - I can only give you the law.

I don't know why the union is being so obdurate and I don't know enough about the legal system to know if the union can go court-hunting again to find complaisant judges, but it has done so before in the case of the DEN mechanics transferred to MKE by RAH. Having lost to RAH, the IBT went looking for a judge who would give them a favorable ruling - which ruling was later thrown out on appeal.

It can reach high farce, as happened recently in Australia with the Qantas dispute. The government refused to use a provision in an act which it had written because that provision had never been tested in a court of law.

The government was, in effect, saying that its own law might be illegal.

mariner

[Edited 2011-12-02 12:32:31]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlinethegoldenargosy From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 367 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2486 times:

All YX FA's were offered interviews at RAH. It was a sale of assets, not a merger. YX was dead, and they're lucky they even got the chance to be offered interviews. RAH will hire just about anyone, it's not like they wouldn't have been hired.

User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9596 posts, RR: 52
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2439 times:

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 15):
All YX FA's were offered interviews at RAH. It was a sale of assets, not a merger. YX was dead, and they're lucky they even got the chance to be offered interviews. RAH will hire just about anyone, it's not like they wouldn't have been hired.

But federal law was created after the AA takeover of TWA where all the TWA Flight Attendants got put to the bottom of the seniority list and ended up furloughed. TWA although bigger, was headed the same direction that Midwest was prior to AA coming in.

The purpose of the law is to prevent mistreating of employees in a takeover/merger condition where seniority is stripped, pay is cut and employees can get furloughed. The Federal Government decided that it is not acceptable, so like it or not, it is the law. In the United States, you cannot buy an airline, furlough all their employees and replace them with your own. Midwest knew this going in to the deal and the appeals court decided that they broke the law. If they only wanted certain assets, then they should have acquired them via a chapter 7 liquidation sale and not while the airline was still operating.

An airline has incentives to do what Midwest did. By not honoring their seniority and instead offering them interviews and hiring them in at the bottom, they short changed the FA's on salaries since salary is based on seniority. Midwest could have required them to all interview for their jobs and terminated those that they did not believe met their criteria and paid the appropriate termination compensation.

FA's in the United States can thank the Missouri Senator who pushed for this bill due to the lobbying of ex-TWA flight attendants to prevent stapling of seniority list to the bottom of the bigger carrier's.

[Edited 2011-12-02 15:52:32]


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinetothestars From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 264 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2373 times:

Congratulations Midwest F/AS...unfortunately a lot of the TWA flight attendants who lobbied tirelessly for this law are STILL on the street. One day they hope to be vindicated.


TWA-Airline To the Stars
User currently offlinesafetyDemo From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 310 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2309 times:

Is it really a sale of assets when you buy every single asset the airline has - including its operating certificate? That sounds like more than RAH simply picking up some assets a la MidAtlantic.


Please direct your attention to the flight attendants in the cabin...
User currently offlinesideflare75 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 613 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2206 times:

Its funny that RAH told the Midwest mechanics that we had to integrate with the Republic mechanics to comply with this law, which was done. So why is it different with the F/A's?

I know RAH says they don't care either way but they cared enough to integrate the maintenance folks with no unions involved and specifically said it was to comply with the merger law so what does that tell you about what kind of deal this was, at least in the companies opinion.


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