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Former TWA Pilots File Lawsuit Against American Airlines And Allied Pilots Ass
By Jim Douglas

May 31, 2012 - Former TWA pilots have brought a lawsuit Against American Airlines and its pilot union, Allied Pilots Association over failed contract negotiations. In addition American Airlines has given indications that it will close its hub at St. Louis resulting in these former TWA pilots out of work as a result of their seniority status with other American Airline pilots. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri 

The pilots allege American Airlines and Allied Pilots Association treat the former TWA pilots in "a discriminatory and unfair manner." In April 2001, American Airlines bought out by and merged with Trans World Airlines, (TWA), including its aircraft, routes and unionized employees. These former TWA pilots are now currently flying for American. 

The suit states that American and Allied Pilots Association (APA) executed a supplement to their collective bargaining agreement in November 2001 designated "Supplement CC." Supplement CC controlled the former TWA pilots' placement on the American pilot seniority list. 

Pursuant to Supplement CC, approximately 1,200 of the former TWA pilots were simply "stapled" to the bottom of the American seniority list and given no credit for their TWA seniority. All of these pilots were demoted and ultimately furloughed after the terrorist attacks of 911 resulted in massive lay-offs in the airline industry.  

The remaining 1,100 former TWA pilots were integrated into the American seniority list in a manner by which they retained only a fraction of the seniority earned at TWA. Most of these pilots suffered demotions, and many were furloughed as well. 

Supplement CC's harshness to the former TWA pilots was slightly ameliorated by provisions for a protective "fence" in St. Louis (TWA's former hub), which fence created minimum Captain and First Officer positions in St. Louis. This fence allowed former TWA pilots to preferentially bid on the flying at American's St. Louis base.  

This fence in St. Louis continues today, and is defined in Supplement CC as integral to the seniority list created by Supplement CC. Without Supplement CC's protective fence, the 650 former TWA pilots based in St. Louis would have to bid for routes against the other 8,000 American pilots.



Such bidding, however, would be based on the former TWA pilots' heavily reduced seniority in favor of the American pilots, which would cause hundreds of Captains from the former TWA group to be demoted to First Officer, and hundreds of former First Officers in the former TWA group to stand "on call" for days in a row at a new base if they want to fly. 

In November 2011, American filed a bankruptcy petition in the Southern District of New York. That case is pending. Subsequent to its bankruptcy filing, American and APA negotiated for a new pilot collective bargaining agreement. As part of those negotiations, American represented that it intends to close its St. Louis base and eliminate the protective fence by the end of 2012. 

These former TWA pilots now flying for American are alarmed and concerned about American's stated plan to close the St. Louis base and eliminate the protective fence. The protective fence in St. Louis was the only consideration the former TWA pilots received from American and APA for the loss of seniority they suffered when American and APA imposed Supplement CC on them. 

In response to American's threat to close the St. Louis base and eliminate the protective fence, former TWA pilots, some through counsel, petitioned their union, APA, to either protect their rights in St. Louis, or restore their lost seniority. APA did neither. Other former TWA pilots submitted a proposal to American and APA which would allow for the closure of the St. Louis base and the restoration of the former TWA pilots' seniority at no cost to American.  

The suit alleges this proposal was ignored, instead, APA, in collusion with American, agreed that American can close the St. Louis base, and that if it does, an arbitrator will decide what if any protection should be afforded the former TWA pilots, but that under no circumstance may the arbitrator modify the former TWA pilots' seniority at American. 

Of the dozens of contract items being negotiated by American and APA, the former TWA pilots' issue is the only item that would impact only a small segment of the American pilots as a group. While those negotiations have not yet produced a new labor contract, American and APA have agreed to treat the former TWA pilots in a discriminatory and unfair manner.
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