US Airways Will Meet With Its Pilots on Merger Contract
TEMPE, Ariz. (TheStreet) -- US Airways (LCC) and its pilots are scheduled to meet Wednesday in Tempe to discuss terms of a tentative agreement the carrier has signed with the union representing pilots from American (AAMRQ.PK).
The contract, which could take effect in the event of a merger between the two carriers, was negotiated without input from US Airways pilots, who would also be covered by it. American has 8,000 pilots, who are members of the Allied Pilots Association, while US Airways has 4,300 pilots, members of the US Airline Pilots Association.
"Our company has finally recognized that it would be better to have their own pilots on board so this deal can get done," said USAPA spokesman James Ray. "We are hoping they will address our needs so that we can move forward."
The session will be conducted at the highest level, with both US Airways President Scott Kirby and USAPA President Gary Hummel present. It will be the first formal meeting between USAPA leaders and top management regarding the tentative joint contract joint agreement, reached in April. A US Airways spokeswoman declined to comment.The meeting apparently results from an encounter between Hummel and Kirby on July 18, when US Airways CEO Doug Parker spoke at the National Press Club. Hummel asked Kirby when the airline would address its pilots' concerns. The principal concern, Ray said, is that US Airways pilots want their current flying to be adequately protected in the event of a merger. "They say that our flying would be protected until we get a common certificate, but that could be a year (after a merger)," Ray said. "Our view is that those protections should be in place until there is a full merger and all of the fences are down," which could take several years. Fences are contract assurances that pilots can retain their existing flying -- which, for a Charlotte pilot, for instance, would be the right to fly Charlotte flights. "This is hammering out deficiencies we see in the term sheet with APA," Ray said. "There has been some agreement on this, in a memorandum of understanding that has been passed back and forth, but the two sides need to sit down face to face and talk it out."
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