October 24, 2001
TWA Pilots Object to Bearing the Brunt of American Airlines' Layoffs
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representatives of the pilots of TWA and American failed to reach an agreement over the weekend regarding the integration of the two groups' seniority lists. Meanwhile, American Airlines management has threatened that, in the absence of a seniority-integration agreement, it will impose terms that would disproportionately expose TWA pilots to upcoming layoffs.
"The American pilots' terms basically constituted a 'staple job' -- tacking over half of our seniority list to the bottom of theirs, with virtually no job protections. For example, their proposal would have put a 12-year veteran TWA captain behind a one-month new-hire American first officer. Twelve-year TWA Captains would be furloughed before American new-hires. We couldn't in good conscience agree to such an unfair outcome," said Capt. Robert Pastore, chairman of the TWA pilots' unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.
The talks between the pilot unions that began last Saturday, assisted by the office of Missouri Senator Kit Bond, were the latest in an effort to cooperatively combine the pilot groups since American Airlines purchase last spring of TWA. "The irony of this timing is that American Airlines received a proportionate share of government bailout funds -- roughly $78 million -- for its TWA operations, yet American will disproportionately concentrate pilot layoffs in the TWA subsidiary," Pastore said. "If American and its pilots carry out their plan, we could see more than 1,200 TWA pilots -- more than half of us -- in unemployment lines. I doubt that Congress intended to underwrite the immunization of one category of employees at the heavy and unfair expense of another," he said.
"The American pilots' proposals illustrate the need more than ever for dispassionate and unbiased third-party decisions to resolve the seniority integration. The TWA pilots have lobbied Congress for legislation requiring arbitration to settle the seniority integration dispute in a manner that would not disadvantage one group over the other, thus resulting in both groups sharing the pain of furloughs while also allowing both groups to share the value TWA brought to American," Pastore said.
ALPA, the nations oldest and largest airline pilots union, represents 66,000 pilots at 47 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://cf.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: David Berkley (703) 481-4440