Court Backs US Airways Pilots on Seniority
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco backed the U.S. Airline Pilots Association and overturned a May 2009 ruling in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, where a jury concluded that the year-old union breached its duty to represent the six America West pilots who were the plaintiffs in the case.
The appeals court said the matter is not "ripe," a legal term meaning it is not ready to be adjudicated because so far it has not caused harm to the plaintiffs. The appeals court remanded the case back to the Phoenix court with directions to dismiss. "We are without jurisdiction to address the merits of the claim unless it is ripe," the ruling stated.
Until US Airways pilots approve a new contract that includes a seniority list, it is impossible to determine whether the plaintiffs have been harmed, the ruling said, noting that "these contingencies make the claim speculative."In 2008, US Airways pilots voted to replace the Air Line Pilots Association with USAPA, a newly-created union, because the ruling by arbitrator George Nicolau appeared to favor pilots from America West (known as "the west") over pilots from the pre-merger US Airways. The latter group included 5,100 pilots, compared with about 1,900 America West pilots, and it easily dominated in the union representation election. Significantly, the appeals court appeared to suggest that the Nicolau award might never be implemented, if USAPA can design a contract with alternative protections for west pilots. "Even under the district court's injunction mandating USAPA to pursue the Nicolau Award, it is uncertain that the west pilots' preferred seniority system ever would be effectuated," the ruling said. It is possible that USAPA will eventually implement a contract "that does not work the disadvantages plaintiffs fear, even if that proposal is not the Nicolau Award," the appeals court said. The ruling said that so far, west pilots have not been harmed -- even though some west pilots have been furloughed -- and would not have been had the arbitrator's ruling been implemented. It is "speculative" to say that a contract that includes the ruling would have been ratified, the appeals court stated.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV