|December 20, 2001||
CONTACT: Roy Freundlich
US Airways ALPA Pilots Applaud Congressional Delegation for Efforts to Help Promote Talks with US Airways Management
PITTSBURGHThe pilot leaders of the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) applaud congressmen from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for their December 19, 2001, letter of concern to US Airways Chairman and CEO Stephen Wolf. The letter expresses the congressmens concern that job-saving discussions have been at an impasse and offers support for ALPAs efforts to promote discussions with management to develop win-win solutions for the Companys small jet competitiveness and pilot job security issues.
Yesterday, December 19, US Airways senior management agreed to meet with ALPA on January 3, 2002, to discuss small jet issues. This is a welcome development, since US Airways senior management has made public statements that additional small jets are critical to US Airways future, but has repeatedly failed to enter into discussions with ALPA to address the issue to the detriment of the Company and employees. If management and ALPA decide that it is beneficial for both parties to continue, further discussions will take place the following week.
"ALPA is available and prepared to conclude a timely agreement, but only if that agreement includes job protections for US Airways pilots," said US Airways Master Executive Council (MEC) Chairman Captain Chris Beebe. "With Mr. Wolf reassuming duties as US Airways CEO, we anticipate that managements decision to join us at the negotiating table on January 3 will lead to discussions that will address the needs of the Company and our pilots."
The US Airways MEC developed two proposals in the past three months. The first was authorized by the MEC on September 17, and was designed to prevent furloughs and help the airline through the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. After US Airways management indicated that saving all pilot jobs was possible, ALPA offered pay cap reductions, a pilot-funded early retirement program and training relief, and had a proposal on the table since August 13, 2001, for authorizing US Airways to use additional small jets under its code. The objective after September 11 was to provide US Airways with immediate cash to deal with the drop in passenger demand, prevent employee furloughs, and maintain the ability for a quick recovery when demand returned. The offers had the potential for saving the Company hundreds of millions of dollars while enhancing its competitiveness in small jet markets.
Management rejected ALPAs efforts and offers for assistance after the September 11 attacks and abruptly refused to meet with ALPA to work out solutions. ALPA grew increasingly skeptical of managements actions and intentions for US Airways and recognized quickly that senior management was taking advantage of the national crisis at the expense of US Airways employees.
The latest proposal, delivered to management on November 13, 2001, authorizes the Company to utilize additional small jets under its code, bringing the total to 189 from the 70 it is currently authorized to use. These small jets would be used to regain customers and enhance US Airways competitiveness in small jet commuter markets and feed to its hubs. In exchange, the proposal provides job protections for US Airways pilots. These include furlough protections and the opportunity for furloughed US Airways mainline pilots to fly the small jets that are acquired by US Airways Express small jet operators.
The November 13 proposal was offered as a means to facilitate discussions. Management quickly rejected the proposal on November 21 and ALPAs open offer to enter into discussions to work out solutions. Management further responded to pilot employees by mailing 250 unscheduled furlough notices to affected pilots just before Thanksgiving, almost seven months in advance of furlough dates.
"We have responded to the Companys small jet needs by offering significant contractual relief, and we anticipate that our discussions on January 3 will be the first step to an agreement that will help secure US Airways future and protect our pilots careers," said Captain Beebe.
"Any small jet discussions will be held with pilot job protections as our first priority. Since these small jets would be flown by commuter carriers under US Airways code, they have the ability to permanently eliminate mainline pilots jobs. Job protection for our pilots is a condition to reaching an equitable agreement with management on additional small jets," said Captain Beebe.
A summary of the ALPA US Airways MEC small jet negotiations and the congressional delegation letter is available on the US Airways pilots website at www.usairwayspilots.org/.
Since October 2001, US Airways has furloughed 449 pilots and is scheduled to furlough a total of 1,341 pilots by June 2002.
ALPA is the nations oldest and largest pilot union. It represents 67,000 airline pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at cf.alpa.org.