Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
AA Pilots Union Sues AMR  
User currently offlineAAden From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 835 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7493 times:

I'm suprised no one has started a topic on this yet.

Here is the link

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...ling-contract-can-t-be-voided.html

Anybody care to take an educated guess at what comes comes from this?

Is this normal?

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3449 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7429 times:

Nothing comes from this.

Token (and standard) gesture in the process.

In the end, AA workgroups will do more for less. How much more and how much less are what these moves are all about. There's a long road ahead so don't get too wrapped up in each red pinto you pass.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17446 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7307 times:

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
Anybody care to take an educated guess at what comes comes from this?

Sounds like a hail mary pass that will go nowhere, after years of union leadership ignoring economic reality.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently onlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7149 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7114 times:

Well they as a team - management and union - have been negotiating since 2008 to reach a contract settlement, that time frame says to me that there is no way these two parties can come to any agreement.

Whatever takes place now as long as it involves someone other than these two can only be a gain, together by themselves they do not seem capable of accomplishing much of anything.

Win win as far as I'm concerned.


User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6986 times:

The pilots would probably have to prove fraud which is extremely difficult. The only thing in their favor is the large amount of cash that AMR still has. They could point out that they still had cash and they only filed Ch. 11 to break their contract but that too is a long shot.

Pilots are hurt more than any other group as they take a huge hit from the pension. When the pension is dumped on the PBGC, pilots' original pension often exceeded the maximum PBGC payment. Even worse, pilots have to retire at 60 but the maximum payout is not reachable unless they work until age 65.


User currently offlineRDH3E From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1659 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6869 times:

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 4):
Even worse, pilots have to retire at 60 but the maximum payout is not reachable unless they work until age 65.

Yeah, that' s false.

"In November, 2006, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) revised the maximum age for certain pilots in international operations from age 60 to age 65. Until 12/13/07, the United States, an ICAO member state, limited its pilots operating under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 to age 60. Now those pilots may continue until age 65, as specified in the Act."

Horses Mouth:

http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certific...airmen_certification/pilot_age_65/


User currently offlineLDVAviation From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 1061 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6544 times:

The AA pilots are claiming that their contract (CBA) expired and therefore that there is no contract to be rejected under Section 1113 proceedings of the bankruptcy court.

Problem is that the available case law clearly seems to indicate that CBA's never expire. Here, read for yourselves: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1034838.html. This case is particularly noteworthy because it also indicates that the unions will have no recourse to self-help should AA ask the court to abrogate their contracts.

I expect the judge to rebuke the pilot's union over this matter. Even worse for them, it demonstrates first hand for the judge how unreasonable the pilots can be. Instead of "facing the economic reality" and bargaining in good faith, they are wasting their time, the court's time, and AA's time with baseless, legal maneuvers.


User currently offlineAAplat4life From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 189 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5151 times:

I could not access the case with the link, but I generally agree with your observations. Bankruptcy laws are usually given preference over other laws, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has said that Bankruptcy must be interpreted in harmony with other federal laws (since it only preempts state laws). Based on what has happened in other cases, however, AMR management has the upper hand for now.

Nevertheless, the level of animosity towards management will only grow, and this will hamper a successful reorganization. Once the new work rules are put in place by management, we should expect further retirements and resignations at American. The pilots now have worldwide opportunities and, while it is easier said than done to take a job at an Asian airline, AMR management is making it an easier deccision. The other employee groups do not have the same options, and AA's customer service problems are only going to get worse. Management does not appear to have a credible answer for this.


User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3386 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5057 times:

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 6):
The AA pilots are claiming that their contract (CBA) expired and therefore that there is no contract to be rejected under Section 1113 proceedings of the bankruptcy court.

Problem is that the available case law clearly seems to indicate that CBA's never expire.

That's the obvious answer, and I'd certainly agree. If we're all wrong, and they've found an angle that will stand up legally, then they'll look like geniuses in hindsight.

That said, I have to admit that if I was an APA member I'd appreciate that they're at least trying something. So far all we've heard from the APFA is Glading's usual rants, and the TWU's breathless announcement that "TWU negotiators have access to a fully staffed TWU administrative office, supplied with printers, fax machine, and internet." Oy...



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineRDH3E From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1659 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4380 times:

Quoting nwaesc (Reply 8):
That said, I have to admit that if I was an APA member I'd appreciate that they're at least trying something.

However, if you were an APA member, all it would mean for you is that the Union is wasting more of your precious money (through the dues you pay) and squandering resources on no-win situations. Anyone know what the Annual dues are for the APA?


User currently offlineozark1 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 449 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

[quote=nwaesc,reply=8] So far all we've heard from the APFA is Glading's usual rants
Sorry, but she has been trying to get the company to offer the F/A's some kind of early out but the company isn't budging, so she's hasn't been ranting, she's been busy trying to get something, anything, for her members. Isn't it interesting that UA, through bankruptcy twice, can offer their F/A's a $5000 signing bonus for the new contract they just ratified and apparently (and correct me if i'm wrong), offered something in the neighborhood of $60,000 when they filed as an early out for F/A's? We come to court with more money than they did but are not offered anything? I don't get it.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5222 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4003 times:

Under the Railway Labor Act, a collective bargaining agreement never expires. It becomes amendable and remains in effect until a new agreement is approved by management and ratified by the members of a work group. This is why, at the date that a contract becomes amendable, management and a union can't engage in self help (lock-out or strike, respectively). They have to wait until 30days after a federal mediator declares an impasse and sends the parties into "cooling off."

I see this suit getting dismissed rather quickly. It seems to be that the APA needs to find better lawyers. When APA staged a sick-out over the QQ merger and questions regarding both carriers' seniority lists, management filed a federal suit in Dallas seeking injunctive relief and damages. The case was decided in favor of management, and it put the APA in a very bad light, especially from the perspective of passengers whose travels had been disrupted. APA also got stuck with a judgment for damages that was very hefty.

I get the feeling that APA's lawyers didn't see the sick-out case playing out as it did and didn't advise APA leadership of the downside potential.

It's quite possible that a rail or air carrier union hasn't tried to have a contract that past its end date declared, in effect, non-existent and therefore, unable to be rejected. However, because of the unique nature of contracts under the RLA, I just don't see a bankruptcy judge ruling in APA's favor. APA's lawyers should have counseled leadership to spend its resources on trying to negotiate the best contract possible.

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 7):
Nevertheless, the level of animosity towards management will only grow, and this will hamper a successful reorganization. Once the new work rules are put in place by management, we should expect further retirements and resignations at American.

And that wouldn't be such a bad thing. Many have argued that AA's workforce, inclduing the pilots, is very senior. It would be to the company's advantage if a number of employees with high seniority would retire, so that AA could hire new employees at the bottom of the pay scales. IIRC, the most junior AA captain was hired in 1991. At UA/CO and DL, the most junior captain was hired in 1995. At Southwest, the most junior captain was hired in 2001.

That kind of seniority certainly adds to AA's labor costs, both in terms of pay rates, as well as other benefits such as vacation time.


User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3386 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3980 times:

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 9):
However, if you were an APA member, all it would mean for you is that the Union is wasting more of your precious money (through the dues you pay) and squandering resources on no-win situations. Anyone know what the Annual dues are for the APA?

If it works, it won;t be a waste, though, will it?

Look, I'm as skeptical as you are, but I guess what I was driving at is at least this is something creative (for lack of a better term), and beats the usual empty chest thumping we usually see.

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 10):
but she has been trying to get the company to offer the F/A's some kind of early out but the company isn't budging, so she's hasn't been ranting, she's been busy trying to get something, anything, for her members. Isn't it interesting that UA, through bankruptcy twice, can offer their F/A's a $5000 signing bonus for the new contract they just ratified and apparently (and correct me if i'm wrong), offered something in the neighborhood of $60,000 when they filed as an early out for F/A's? We come to court with more money than they did but are not offered anything? I don't get it.

... And I hope she's ultimately successful. Right now though, I see a lot of talk from her (and Little), and not much else.

As UA, I don't remember that being offered while they were in BK, but would be happy to be corrected. If that's the case, then I think it might be a nice precedent for AA's F/A's?



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offline727forever From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 793 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3865 times:

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 9):
However, if you were an APA member, all it would mean for you is that the Union is wasting more of your precious money (through the dues you pay) and squandering resources on no-win situations.




I see that from a different prospective. Due to the over-reaching aspects of Bankruptcy Law, the APA has very limited options from which to fight to protect as many pieces of their CBA as they can. In the past mistakes have been made, but the new leadership of the APA seems to be a little more savvy while still trying to follow the will of one very pissed off and hostile group. If one has few options to stop their contract from being stripped of everything in it, they must consider how can we delay the inevitable as long as possible. The best thing one can do is file a lawsuit in a district friendly to ones cause and litigate it to death. Sure you are spending a fortune on legal costs, but meanwhile the pay cuts and stripping of benefits can be slowed with legal injunctions. If you loose, hello 9th District Court of Appeals. It is a Hail Mary, but it's their only play at the moment when the company is trying to ramrod a forced agreement down your throat and has the court in their favor to carry this out.

I found an outline of AMR's "take it or leave it" contractual terms which I believe is accurate. Before everyone gets on here and starts spreading the AMR company line talking about how the APA agreement is industry leading and so expensive, save it. I've done a lot of Union work in my career and know what I'm looking at. The APA agreement that is going to be shredded in bankruptcy is a weak agreement. It still has a defined benefit retirement, but that's really about it. Their hourly rates are about middle of the pack, but they do not have many of the soft credits that really add up such as cancellation pay, etc. Under the companies "terms" as presented, they are stripping everything that is left. I honestly laughed out loud as I was reading it. There is no way the APA will agree to these terms. At some point if all the benefits to something are stripped away, there is no point in continuing to do it. If AMR is successful at pushing this through don't be surprised if the pilots, whether lead by APA or not, don't take illegal action on their own. We need to remember that little $45mil lawsuit regarding "illegal" work action a few years back against this group.

I'm happy with my job, but even I get an email a week from recruiters trying to find experienced pilots just like those at AA to go to China for a much better gig than what any of the AA pilots have to look forward to. What have they got to loose from a job action? I don't see good things ahead for AA if both sides don't start having real discussion and come off their extreme positions.

727forever



727forever
User currently offlineLDVAviation From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 1061 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3840 times:

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 7):
I could not access the case with the link, but I generally agree with your observations. Bankruptcy laws are usually given preference over other laws, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has said that Bankruptcy must be interpreted in harmony with other federal laws (since it only preempts state laws). Based on what has happened in other cases, however, AMR management has the upper hand for now.

Not sure why the link is not working. In any case, Congress fashioned section 1113 of the Bankruptcy code with full knowledge of the RLA. Yet, despite that, it did not prohibit the bankruptcy court from abrogating labor contracts, which Congress obviously assumed existed (at all times) under the status quo provisions of the RLA, whether or not they had technically expired. With section 1113 of the Code, all Congress did was prohibit the unilateral abrogation. Procedurally, all that means is that before abrogating a labor contract the judge must certify that AA has met the conditions in the code for abrogation. Conditions include presenting a term sheet, explaining each item on the term sheet, and bargaining in good faith. With respect to the last condition, it is interesting to note that it does not have to be a give and take process if AA at the onset can convincingly explain why the item is necessary for its reorganization. In bankruptcy courts, unions have often been chided for not facing the economic reality.

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 7):
Nevertheless, the level of animosity towards management will only grow, and this will hamper a successful reorganization. Once the new work rules are put in place by management, we should expect further retirements and resignations at American. The pilots now have worldwide opportunities and, while it is easier said than done to take a job at an Asian airline, AMR management is making it an easier deccision. The other employee groups do not have the same options, and AA's customer service problems are only going to get worse. Management does not appear to have a credible answer for this.

Let the militant and angry employees leave. It will open up spots for new employees who appreciate having a job. AA has far too many employees with a sense of entitlement. (Let the Asian airlines disabuse them of that attitude.)

When it is all said and done, what will remain in place or what will take its place is a process, a way to get things done. From an operational standpoint, you don't have to fix the morale problem. You just have to have processes in place that have to be completed. If you couple the emphasis on process with upgrades to products, you can actually improve customer service while your employees adapt to the new economic reality.


User currently offlineRDH3E From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1659 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3630 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 13):
I'm happy with my job, but even I get an email a week from recruiters trying to find experienced pilots just like those at AA to go to China for a much better gig than what any of the AA pilots have to look forward to.

And that's the way it should be. Unions limit your horizontal mobility. That's why you've never heard of a "pissed off management group" because if you don't like it, you leave. And unlike a Union, if I leave my job, I don't go back to the bottom. Instead I get to look around and usually find a raise or promotion. The Unions have locked you guys into this relationship so you have no choice but to pay them to "consult" for you (since that's really all they're doing, consulting in the negotiations). Otherwise you could move jobs, maybe even spend a few years in some exotic locales etc, with zero career penalty.

Wouldn't that be awesome?

[Edited 2012-03-01 08:21:11]

User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1527 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3611 times:

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 14):
Let the militant and angry employees leave.

If every angry and militant pilot left no airplanes would move. Holds true for most of the airlines.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5222 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3556 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 13):
If you loose, hello 9th District Court of Appeals.

I'm not up on my bankruptcy appellate processes, but a decision of the U.S. Bankrupcy Court for the Southern District of New York would be probably be appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sits in San Francisco.

As for your saying, why not try it, you have to remember that courts don't like frivolous law suits. They have to be well grounded in law and fact. I can see AA's lawyers filing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action, since the RLA doesn't allow contracts for railroad and airline employees to expire. A contract remains in effect until both sides agree to new terms.

With the law being well settled in terms of negotiations, enforcement, etc., APA will have to come up with some really good arguments, and I just don't see them.

That said, if the judge sees this suit for what it is, a stalling tactic to prevent a quick rejection of the current labor agreement, he may not be very happy. Remember how the judge in Dallas treated the APA over the QQ merger sick-out. I seem to remember the judge saying that if APA wasn't careful, all of its assets would fit in one overhead bin.

Granted, the federal court in New York probably has a more favorable attitude towads unions than the court in Dallas. But, federal judges don't like having their time wasted.


User currently offline727forever From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 793 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3407 times:

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 15):
And that's the way it should be. Unions limit your horizontal mobility. That's why you've never heard of a "pissed off management group" because if you don't like it, you leave. And unlike a Union, if I leave my job, I don't go back to the bottom. Instead I get to look around and usually find a raise or promotion. The Unions have locked you guys into this relationship so you have no choice but to pay them to "consult" for you (since that's really all they're doing, consulting in the negotiations). Otherwise you could move jobs, maybe even spend a few years in some exotic locales etc, with zero career penalty.



Very good points. However, everything has it's pro's and con's. I've worked for non-union carriers. I'll accept the mobility problems to the lack of protection and prejudice that enters the fray when you have merit based promotion, until I'm forced to give it up.  
Quoting ckfred (Reply 17):
That said, if the judge sees this suit for what it is, a stalling tactic to prevent a quick rejection of the current labor agreement, he may not be very happy. Remember how the judge in Dallas treated the APA over the QQ merger sick-out. I seem to remember the judge saying that if APA wasn't careful, all of its assets would fit in one overhead bin.



Your points are all very good. The APA definitely faces this risk. How many activist judges are the courts filled with these day? I agree they have a weak play, but a good argument in front of a favorable judge may get them some traction. I really don't see any other legal option for them to take at this time.

727forever



727forever
User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5222 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2870 times:

Quoting 727forever (Reply 18):
I agree they have a weak play, but a good argument in front of a favorable judge may get them some traction. I really don't see any other legal option for them to take at this time.

A friend of mine who flies for AA just e-mailed the update from the APA and asked if this was a good move or grasping for straws. I said that it was grasping at straws. APA would be better off coming up with a counter proposal that closes the pension plans, but not terminate them, and offers incentives to get a fair number of senior pilots to retire. That would allow AA to hire a number of new F/Os at the bottom of the pay scales, as well as get senior F/Os over to the left-hand seat and at the lower end of the pay scale for captains.

If AA sticks to its "take it or leave it" proposal, you can always take up the matter with the judge, pointing out that AA won't even discuss the merits and problems with the APA proposal. Judges don't like litigants who won't be reasonable, when it comes to negotiatingand resolving matters. Thus, AA would be on the judge's bad side.

Federal judges command a lot of respect. They've been nominated by the President, often with the adivce of the senior senator who is of the same party as the President, and confirmed by the Senate. Federal judges don't like being caught up in a game of one-upsmanship.

Now, maybe there is something to the argument of the APA. But, if the judge doesn't see it the way the APA does and feels that it's nothing more than a stall tactic, he could very well impose sanctions on the APA. And future rulings involving the APA might not be that favorable.

If I were the APA's attorney, I would be against the suit against AA. I just think the potential for getting burned, figuratively, is too great.


User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2810 times:

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 5):
Yeah, that' s false.

"In November, 2006, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) revised the maximum age for certain pilots in international operations from age 60 to age 65. Until 12/13/07, the United States, an ICAO member state, limited its pilots operating under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 to age 60. Now those pilots may continue until age 65, as specified in the Act."

That is only for pilots that retired after 2006, probably a small minority of the pension participants. All of the retirees before then and those that retired at the traditional age after then are screwed.


User currently offlineRDH3E From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1659 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2783 times:

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 20):
That is only for pilots that retired after 2006, probably a small minority of the pension participants. All of the retirees before then and those that retired at the traditional age after then are screwed.

I'd be surprised if there isn't a provision to cover that. It is two sets of federal laws coming into contact in a contradictory way.


User currently offlineLDVAviation From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 1061 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2530 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 19):
Thus, AA would be on the judge's bad side.

With this lawsuit, there is no risk of AA upstaging the pilots.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5222 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2286 times:

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 22):
With this lawsuit, there is no risk of AA upstaging the pilots.

Oh, yes there is. Maybe not in the action that APA has filed, but there is plenty of other opportunity for AA to incur the wrath of the judge. The bankruptcy code does require an employer to negotiate in good faith, if it has rejected a collective bargaining agreement. If AA won't negotiate from its "take it or leave it" offers, the judge is going to give AA's attorneys an earful and tell them that they better come off of that offer or risk some kind of sanction.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8491 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2206 times:

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 4):
Pilots are hurt more than any other group as they take a huge hit from the pension.

Hurt compared to what? Was there an alternative scenario? In the real world.

Quoting 727forever (Reply 13):
It still has a defined benefit retirement, but that's really about it. Their hourly rates are about middle of the pack, but they do not have many of the soft credits that really add up such as cancellation pay, etc.

Blah bl... wait, did you say pension? Paying two workforces. It just can't be done. Not unless the industry is a gravy train. A few are... suggest that those interested, look into it.


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
AA Pilots Pension Loss $$$ posted Tue Nov 29 2011 16:08:39 by usafdo
111 AA Pilots Retired Today posted Thu Sep 1 2011 21:11:19 by flyhossd
Mexicana's Pilots Union Accepts New Contract posted Mon Nov 22 2010 02:31:19 by jhtango
AA Pilots Told To Opt Out Of Scanner And Pat Down posted Tue Nov 9 2010 11:55:17 by YYZatcboy
Southwest Reaches TA With Pilots Union On B737-800 posted Thu Oct 14 2010 07:24:49 by KarlB737
AA Pilots Will Sign A Concessionary Contract? posted Fri Nov 13 2009 00:07:56 by FXramper
AA Pilots Urge DOJ To Reject posted Tue Oct 13 2009 09:12:38 by DLPMMM
Cat Fight @ AA Pilot Union posted Fri Mar 20 2009 18:40:46 by JustPlaneNutz
NW Flight Attendants Union Sues Delta-Part 2 posted Thu Dec 4 2008 10:13:04 by Mayor
NW Flight Attendants Union Sues Delta posted Mon Nov 24 2008 13:45:19 by Apodino