US Airways Treats Pilots Unfairly


  Bookmark and Share

US Airways Treats Pilots Unfairly

By Shane Nolan

September 9, 2010 - The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways, picketed at the Philadelphia International Airport on Wednesday to bring attention to what it believes to be US Airways’ deliberate efforts to drag out contract negotiations since 2005, while benefiting from paying its pilots the lowest wages among the major airlines. 

“The pilots of US Airways have made significant concessions to help the airline successfully navigate multiple bankruptcies and the economic challenges that resulted from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” explained USAPA President Mike Cleary.


“We did so with the full expectation that US Airways would act morally at the next round of negotiations by remembering our sacrifices. Now that those difficult times are behind us, US Airways management is not stepping up at the bargaining table. By dragging their feet, they are in effect extending those concessions indefinitely. In light of 60% increases in management costs since 2006, frankly, it’s insulting!” 

“Unfortunately, the Railway Labor Act (RLA) permits this type of bad faith negotiating behavior,” Cleary continued. “However, under specific circumstances, the RLA also permits job actions. The result of our willingness to help this airline in their times of need is that our pilots have been left far behind the rest of the industry regarding pay and benefits. It is time for that to change.” 

In September 2005, US Airways and America West Airlines announced a merger of the two carriers. In USAPA’s view, that attempt at consolidation has not gone smoothly. “This month marks five years in which US Airways management has failed to complete the merger between US Airways and America West Airlines. From the pilots’ perspective, the carrier is operating as two separate airlines,” said Cleary.

“After more than nine billion dollars in concessions to help save the airline, the East pilots continue to work under a bankruptcy-era contract designed to help the Company survive, while our fellow pilots from the original America West Airlines continue to work under a contract negotiated under the strict covenants of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) loans.”  

Before the merger, both US Airways and America West accepted ATSB loans that were designed to aid airlines that lacked reasonable credit after September 11, 2001, and were heavily dependent on strict control of labor costs. The US Airways pilots entered contract negotiations with management in November 2005 under the terms of a Transition Agreement at the time of the US Airways-America West merger.


In April 2009, USAPA requested a National Mediation Board (NMB) facilitator to assist the parties in reaching an agreement, but US Airways rejected that proposal. In November 2009, USAPA applied directly to the NMB for federally-mediated talks. The NMB granted that request in January 2010. NMB-mediated contract negotiations are currently ongoing.

“It is important that the public realize that we have always tried to work with US Airways management to seek joint solutions, and we are committed to doing so in our contract negotiations,” said Cleary. ”However, after five years of Management’s stalling tactics – while we work for substantially less than our industry peers – we have to consider what is best for our membership.” 

USAPA believes that, should US Airways management fail to adequately address the pilots’ concerns, contract talks could reach an impasse and end in a self-help situation. “Reaching the stage of self-help would be detrimental to US Airways passengers. We care about our passengers, and we care about our pilots and their families,” Cleary said.

“We regret any negative impact that our passengers may experience as a result of our exercising our right to bargain for an industry-standard contract. Our negotiating positions are reasonable, and we think that they’ll understand our unwillingness to being taken advantage of. Everyone has their breaking point. “It takes two committed parties to make a successful team; this is not a solo event,” Cleary added. “We are only asking for a willing partner. So far, we’ve been dancing alone.”


Other News Stories

Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator