November 15, 2006
Pilots React to Proposed US Airways/Delta Merger and Informational Picket to Express Frustration with US Airways Management’s Unwillingness to Participate in Negotiations
PHOENIX, AZ – The US Airways and America West pilot groups will conduct informational picketing tomorrow, Thursday, November 16, at 12 p.m. EST to demonstrate their increasing frustration with management’s unwillingness to fully participate in negotiations for a fair, single contract that addresses the pilots’ basic needs and allows the company to realize the full synergies obtainable from merging US Airways and America West Airlines. The pilot groups, both of whom are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., will picket at two of US Airways’ [NYSE:LCC] largest hubs—Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Ariz.
The pilots are also commenting on US Airways’ announcement today on a proposed merger with Delta Air Lines to create one of the world’s largest airlines, although US Airways has yet to complete the integration of the pilot groups that is required as part of the terms of the 2005 America West/US Airways merger.
“The billions of dollars that the US Airways and America West pilots have committed to US Airways propelled our airline to profitability and opportunity. But like the planes we fly, management's grandiose plans will not take off without the pilots on board,” said Captain Jack Stephan, chairman of the US Airways Master Executive Council. “So far, the company’s empty promises have failed to capture all the synergies that just the US Airways/America West merger can provide,” said Captain Stephan.
“We recognize US Airways senior management’s enthusiasm for a merger with Delta; however, before it can be successful, management must first focus on fulfilling the promises made to their investors, customers and employees for the America West-US Airways merger,” said Captain Kevin Kent, chairman of the America West Master Executive Council. “Regardless of whether or not another airline is in the mix, the pilots will no longer be exploited to make such a transaction occur.”
Despite the announcement of the merger, the pilots at US Airways and America West remain focused on the issue of achieving a fair single contract, one that is commensurate with US Airways’ position in the marketplace. Joint negotiations with US Airways management have been ongoing for one year, and during this time, the pilots have received only concessionary proposals that resemble the bankruptcy-driven contracts that were made as pilot investments in the airline.
“US Airways management will unravel all that we have accomplished if they insist on propagating their bankruptcy mentality at the negotiating table. The sooner they realize that those days are over, the sooner this management can make good on their promises to all employees and stakeholders alike,” said Captain Stephan.
“US Airways has posted remarkable profits for three consecutive quarters due to the efforts of front-line employees such as the pilots, yet they refuse to fully engage in negotiations for a contract that recognizes our contributions. Management’s decision to not focus on putting the America West /US Airways operations together for one seamless airline is bad news for our customers,” said Captain Kent.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 61,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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America West MEC: Tania Bziukiewicz, (602) 306-1208; (602) 214-3490
US Airways MEC: Arnie Gentile, (518) 424-8433; (412) 264-5600