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US Airways Pilots Prepare for Union Election

As far as the issues are concerned, Bradford says that if USAPA takes over, it will move to date-of-hire seniority, but "fences will ensure that premerger positions are protected," he says.

If ALPA wins, Stephan says, the ruling will not be implemented because it must be part of a contract, on which pilots vote. "The only way for it to be implemented is for us to agree to it," he says.

Meanwhile, he says, one cannot overstate the advantages of a strong, established union that offers various level of personal support, lobbies extensively for pilot causes and has been a key proponent of airline safety for decades. Bradford says independent networks could provide the same benefits.

The simmering crisis will end, both leaders agree, when west pilots determine it is in their interest to make peace and gain access to lucrative international flying, most of which, including planned Beijing service, is flown by the east crew base in Philadelphia.

Even with fences, Bradford says, "in eight to 10 years, we'll [mostly] be retired," and west pilots can move up. The problem with the ruling, he says, is that "they would inherit the airline prematurely."

Know What You Own: US Airways operates in the airline industry, and some of the other stocks in its field include AMR (AMR), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV), Continental Airlines (CAL) and JetBlue (JBLU)JBLU. These stocks were recently trading at $10.67, $12.11, $12.40, $22.62 and $5, respectively.

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