This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

US Airways West Pilots: We Won't Back Down on Seniority

Stocks in this article: AAMRQ.PK LCC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- Despite widespread hopes that a merger with American (AAMRQ.PK) would bring closure to a pilot seniority dispute at US Airways (LCC), it's not that simple.

A controversial 2007 seniority ruling by arbitrator George Nicolau followed the 2005 merger between US Airways and America West. The ruling, which resulted from binding arbitration, led to a bitter separation among pilots from the two airlines.

This month's American/US Airways merger will lead to another round of pilot seniority integration, this time under guidelines established by the McCaskill-Bond Amendment. The 2007 congressional legislation requires unions to resolve seniority disputes through negotiations and, if that doesn't work, through binding arbitration. Leaders of the Allied Pilots Association and the U.S. Airline Pilots Association seem hopeful that the process will go smoothly and resolve the simmering dispute at US Airways.

But another round of binding arbitration, if it is not based on the Nicolau list, isn't acceptable to former America West pilots. Their attorney said they will go to court if the ruling isn't part of the merged airlines' seniority list.

"We expect the parties to abide by the Nicolau list, which is the arbitrated joint seniority list accepted by the company in 2007," said Mark Burman, spokesman for Leonidas, a group of pilots who have supported the continuing court battle to have the ruling implemented.

On Feb. 7, US Airways pilots overwhelmingly approved a memorandum of understanding, setting temporary contract terms that would be implemented in the event of a merger. In a Feb. 18 letter to the labor attorneys for US Airways, Leonidas attorney Marty Harper referred to a 2010 finding by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the west pilots' claims regarding Nicolau implementation would be "ripe," or ready for a court's consideration, once a contract was signed.

"The time has come with ratification of the MOU and approval of the merger," Harper wrote.

Harper said west pilots have until early August to seek relief in their duty of fair representation case against USAPA. "They will do so, " seeking a temporary restraining order, if pilots have not agreed prior to that date to implement the Nicolau award, he said.

USAPA President Gary Hummel has said the west pilots are trying to delay the merger. But Harper wrote that "the west pilots supported this merger from the start, have no interest in delaying it now. (But) the west pilots must do whatever is needed to defend the Nicolau award."

In a Feb. 21 letter to USAPA members, Hummel declared the union continues to oppose the Nicolau ruling.

"This merger provides substantial and life changing benefits to all USAPA pilots, including those based in Phoenix," Hummel wrote. "USAPA will aggressively oppose any efforts to slow down or stop the merger process and will be equally vigilant in adhering to our constitutionally mandated principles that reject the Nicolau Award in its entirety."

In his letter, Hummel said USAPA has asked the Ninth Circuit for an expedited ruling on a pending appeal filed by US Airways. The airline, joined by west pilots, appealed an October ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver in its case seeking clarification of the necessity to adapt the Nicolau list. In her ruling, Silver said USAPA's seniority proposal could be acceptable "provided it is supported by a legitimate union purpose."

USAPA wants an expedited ruling because "We want there to be no uncertainty about whether USAPA can pursue a different seniority proposal," Hummel said.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs