US Airways Pilots Continue Demands
As negotiations for a single US Airways pilot contract continue to drag on after a year and a half, the US Airways and America West pilots demonstrated their frustration with US Airways management's behavior by picketing on March 27 at Pittsburgh International Airport and March 29 at New York City's La Guardia Airport.
Nearly 120 pilots picketed inside the Pittsburgh Airport terminal and about 75 pilots demonstrated at La Guardia with signs that declared, “US Airways—Empty Promises for a Single Airline” and “US Airways Management’s Multi-Millionaires Are Pilot-Subsidized.”
The pilot groups have been waiting for US Airways' management to put forward proposals that reflect US Airways' position in the airline industry, instead of management's insisting on bankruptcy-driven proposals that were put in place so that the airline could survive after the post-9/11 industry downturn.
US Airways CEO Doug Parker is repeatedly stating to both pilots and the news media that he will continue to "just say no" at the negotiating table, contending that the pilots are overreaching. His use of over-inflated dollar amounts to substantiate his claims undermine his points.
US Airways management is also unfairly demanding that the pilots shoulder the burden of the costs incurred by the merger of US Airways and America West. Instead of US Airways assuming the costs of equalizing pre-merger pay and benefits, as management proposed in its failed take-over attempt of Delta Air Lines, it is attempting to shift the associated merger costs to the pilots at the negotiating table, further exaggerating the differences at the table.
"Whether management is publicly whitewashing its operational issues or its conduct in the ongoing pilot negotiations, the US Airways pilots will not stand idly by and let their investments go unrecognized," said Capt. Jack Stephan, US Airways MEC chairman. "We're not paying for management's continuing operational blunders, and we're not paying for the cost of integrating two airlines. That's management's responsibility, and any attempts to pass those costs off onto the pilots, who gave up billions to save US Airways, will end in failure. Perhaps it's time for management to begin promoting a realistic business plan instead of expecting the pilots to subsidize management's operations."
"It is time for our former America West management to step up and recognize the value of our contribution in making this merger work thus far," said Capt. John McIlvenna, America West MEC chairman. "But, our patience is running very thin. Our pilots will not stand for the continued attacks on their work rules and benefits, and they demand a contract that is fair and equitable and in line with our very profitable airline."