Tag Archives: professional flight attendants

APFA pushes back against the DOJ and its objection to the American-US Airways merger

APFA logo

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has issued this statement, backing up management’s response to the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement of a lawsuit against the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger:

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing more than 16,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines, pushed back hard against today’s announcement that the Department of Justice would file suit to block the merger of American and US Airways.

“The fact that Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department have decided to stand in the way of this merger is outrageous and the height of hypocrisy,” said APFA President Laura Glading. “Their actions are only serving to prop up the duopoly they created and they’re doing it at the expense of consumers, the industry, and the employees of American and US Airways.”

Following major mergers of their own, Delta and United have emerged as the dominant carriers in the aviation industry and their vast networks have attracted the high-value business travelers airlines need in order to be profitable. Frequent flyers have left American in droves in favor of carriers with more routes and destinations. The American/US Airways merger will give these travelers a viable third option.

“The reason American is in bankruptcy is because it couldn’t compete in the environment created by the airline mergers of the past few years, which occurred with DOJ’s blessing. Now the game is in the third quarter and they want to change the rules,” Glading said. “It’s ludicrous.”

After decades of uncertainty, including bankruptcies, liquidations, and job losses, the mergers of Delta/Northwest and United/Continental helped move the aviation industry towards a stable and healthy competitive environment. The American/US Airways merger is the final piece of the deregulation puzzle that will provide long-term stability after 30 years of tumult. Without the merger, consumers and workers should expect more uncertainty and more failed airlines.

The DOJ suit claims that American can thrive on its own which is puzzling considering that each and every interested party that has examined this deal has arrived at the opposite conclusion. In reality, the merger has the strong support of airline executives, investors, and workers because everyone knows that neither carrier can compete as a standalone. Any recent success American has enjoyed can be credited to the employees whose wages and benefits were slashed in bankruptcy and to the consumer confidence the merger plan has generated.

For Flight Attendants, the merger will provide job security for thousands of middle class wage earners. The new American is the light at the end of a long tunnel for APFA members that have lost billions of dollars during the industry’s downturn.

“We’re going to continue to fight for this merger and we’re prepared to bring the fight to federal court, the halls of Congress, and the White House, if necessary,” Glading said. “Everyone needs this merger – airline investors, workers, and the flying public especially.”

 

US Airways’ flight attendants ratify the new contract

US Airways‘ (Phoenix) flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA (AFA), ratified a new contract today that provides immediate pay increases and includes support for the merger of US  Airways and American Airlines. The new contract opens four-party negotiations with American’s flight attendant union and airline representatives, an initial step in reaching a combined collective bargaining agreement. Eighty percent of flight attendants voting approved the agreement, which covers the airline’s 6,800 flight attendants who are based in US Airways’ four hub cities of Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C.

Following ratification today, the new contract specifies negotiations to begin within thirty days between airline officials at US Airways and American Airlines, AFA and the union representing American Airlines flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). The talks would establish protocols for reaching a combined collective bargaining agreement once the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, announced on February 14, is closed. The merger is expected to close by the third quarter of this year following regulatory agency and bankruptcy court approvals.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman. Will the US Airways logojets survive the merger with American? Probably yes since US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker will be running the new American. Doug has always honored and celebrated the legacies of the previous airlines and wisely promoted local sports teams at his hubs. There may be more logojets coming at the new AA especially those celebrating the local AA hub cities and their sports teams. Airbus A319-112 N717UW (msn 1069) in the Carolina Panthers special sports livery taxies to the runway at the Charlotte hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

American’s pilots now stand alone, the flight attendants accept AA’s final contract offer

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) pilots, represented by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), now stand alone in their current contract dispute with the AMR Corporation. American Airlines’ flight attendants have accepted the last and final contract offer, leaving only the pilots. According to this report by Reuters, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said in a statement that the vote was 59 to 52 percent in favor of the offer. AMR is seeking bankruptcy court approval to void the current contract with the pilots who overwhelmingly voted down the last offer.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Boeing 767-223 ER N327AA (msn 22327) departs from Los Angeles.

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US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker makes his case for a merger with American Airlines before the National Press Club

US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) announced its Chairman and CEO Doug Parker presented at yesterday’s (July 18) National Press Club Luncheon in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Parker discussed the current state of the airline industry, the positive impact of mergers for the industry and the benefits of a merger between US Airways and American Airlines.  Mr. Parker was joined at the head table at the National Press Club by the leadership of American Airlines’ three unions, representing 55,000 American Airlines employees: Captain David Bates, President of the Allied Pilots Association; Laura Glading, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants; and John Conley, International Vice President and Assistant to the International President, Jim C. Little, of the Transport Workers Union.

Mr. Parker discussed the benefits of mergers in the industry.  He noted how mergers have benefited United and Continental, Delta and Northwest, Southwest and AirTran, and America West and US Airways.  In addition, Mr. Parker pointed out that there are real advantages to combining airlines for employees, customers and communities:

“All four combined airlines provide better networks and are now profitable. By combining complementary networks to provide more attractive and efficient service, mergers have led to increased traffic, cost reductions, and vigorous competition … The benefits of this trend extend way past the bottom line: there are real advantages to combining airlines for employees, customers and communities. Employees will benefit from greater job security and more long-term opportunities if they’re working for a successful airline. Customers will gain more flight options at better times to more places. And whenever two airlines combine, they open the communities that they serve to many more new travelers.”

Mr. Parker outlined the fundamental network challenges that stem from American Airlines’ “cornerstone” strategy, which focuses on five large cities instead of a comprehensive network.  Mr. Parker described how American Airlines has lost market share across the United States and why the cornerstone strategy does not address the network deficiencies of American Airlines versus United and Delta:

“Simply put, American has hubs in Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles to connect people around the United States, and strong international gateways in both JFK and Miami. But that leaves a large hole in the network up and down the East Coast. This means American cannot easily serve the popular and highly lucrative East Coast region, which causes it to miss out on an enormous source of corporate business, as well as all the consumers who travel up and down the Eastern seaboard.”

Mr. Parker explained how a merger with US Airways solves American Airlines’ network challenges and creates a more comprehensive network. In particular, he noted that the networks are complementary and combining them would result in significant benefits to all stakeholders, including customers, communities, US Airways shareholders, American Airlines creditors and employees:

“A combination with US Airways would create such a network. We’ve taken a long, hard look at American, and we know that together we can build the greatest airline in the world—an airline that can compete more effectively with the networks of United, Delta and others. Together, American and US Airways can connect more communities and provide greater benefits for American’s creditors and US Airways’ shareholders than either airline could on a standalone basis. Furthermore, we would also save thousands of jobs and offer better compensation and long-term opportunities for employees of both airlines.”

Mr. Parker highlighted American Airlines’ merger protocol, which American Airlines recently announced it was ready to move forward with, and reiterated his desire to present US Airways’ plan to American Airlines:

“All that we want is a fair chance to present our plan, and to compare it to all others in a process that doesn’t disadvantage any of the options, and that determines the best plan based on what is best for the owners of AMR—its creditors. We understand there may be as many as four other airlines included in this merger analysis project, and we welcome the competition. We are certain that any objective analysis will conclude that the best plan for the creditors, employees and customers of American is a merger with US Airways during the bankruptcy process.”

Mr. Parker praised the efforts of American Airlines’ three unions – the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union – to support the merger:

“The decision by those labor leaders to come out in support of a merger was an unprecedented move on their part, and I think is one of the great untold stories of this process so far. Some people improperly characterize their support as being driven by US Airways’ willingness to pay their members more. But as they will tell you, the gap between our proposals and American’s is not very large. Their support is not driven by short-term gains, but rather by the fact they have taken the time to study the long term strategic underpinnings of each plan. They have hired advisors to help them and they have listened and led. In the end, they have supported this merger because they understand the best thing for their members is a strong, competitive merged airline with a long-term strategic advantage.

The employees of American Airlines are lucky to have these forward-thinking leaders representing them and I’m proud to be working with them.”

A replay of the webcast is available at http://www.press.org/events/npc-luncheon-doug-parker-ceo-us-airways.  A copy of Mr. Parker’s speech, as prepared, is available athttp://www.usairways.com/en-US/aboutus/investorrelations/webcast.html.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman. US Airways has become what it is today through mergers of several local service airlines including Piedmont Airlines. The company honors its colorful past with its legacy logojets. Airbus A319-112 N744P climbs aways from the Charlotte hub dressed in Piedmont Airlines 1974 color scheme.

US Airways: 

Is American Airlines now getting serious about a merger partner?

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth), through the AMR Corporation, is under continued pressure from the unsecured creditors and the unions to consider a merger option while in bankruptcy court reorganization. AMR has stated it will now “reach out” to five prospective merger partners, namely Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines (2nd), JetBlue Airways, US Airways and Virgin America according to this report by Reuters. Is the “reaching out” a genuine gesture or just a stall tactic?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile, the Allied Pilots Association, representing AA’s 10,000 pilots called the announcement “an important milestone”.

The union issued the following statement:

“The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, characterized a letter from AMR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Horton to all employees on potential industry consolidation involving American Airlines as “an important milestone.”

“Mr. Horton’s letter represents an important milestone by acknowledging what we have believed for some time—that consolidation involving American Airlines is essential for all of the airline’s stakeholders,” said APA President Captain Dave Bates. “It’s an affirmation that consolidation represents the most promising path for our airline’s future. The biggest remaining questions center on who manages the new entity and whether a merger occurs during AMR’s Chapter 11 restructuring or thereafter.”

In April, the APA leadership and US Airways management—along with the leaders of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and Transport Workers Union—jointly announced their support for merging the two carriers. The unions also announced that they had negotiated conditional labor agreements with US Airways management.

Meanwhile, APA and AMR management have been engaged in negotiations throughout the restructuring process, with the APA board of directors voting to approve a tentative agreement with management on June 27. That tentative agreement is now subject to a ratification vote by the APA membership. The tentative agreement includes a 13.5 percent equity stake in the restructured airline.

“The 13.5 percent equity stake is intended to compensate APA as an unsecured creditor on behalf of the pilots we represent,” Captain Bates said. “If our members approve the tentative agreement, this equity stake would give APA significant influence over strategic decisions that will be made in the weeks and months to come concerning American Airlines, including the makeup of the new board of directors and management team.”

The results of the APA membership ratification vote will be announced on August 8.”

Is American now finally serious about a merger? In many ways, AMR still feels it is superior to any of these potential suitors. In some ways, AA management has still not gotten over the fact that they lead the company into bankruptcy. A merger will only work if AA approaches a potential marriage suitor as an equal partner. The “American” name is likely to survive, but like the recent Delta-Northwest and United-Continental mergers, the surviving name does not always equate to surviving management. In essence, current AA and AMR management could be fighting to keep their jobs.

Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning. How much are the key Oneworld partners influencing AA management?

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