May 22, 2007
US Airways Pilots, Passengers
Paying For Management’s Mistakes
Pilots Initiate “Operation Rolling Thunder” to Demonstrate Fury Over Concessionary Proposal
LOS ANGELES—With the busy summer travel season fast approaching, US Airways’ [NYSE: LCC] employees and passengers will be in for a long, hot summer unless management implements real solutions to the myriad of problems crippling the operations. First and foremost, America West and US Airways continue to operate separately, which is a disservice to the US Airways employees and passengers who were promised a seamless airline when the merger was announced nearly two years ago.
Management had an opportunity recently to make significant progress toward merging the two operations when they provided their first comprehensive economic proposal to the pilots; the parties have been engaged in joint negotiations for a fair, single contract for the past 18 months. Unfortunately, management stuck true to form and squandered the opportunity by providing the pilots with a woefully inadequate proposal. In response, the US Airways pilots of the former America West, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), initiated Operation Rolling Thunder this week to bring their fight for a fair contract to the traveling public. The pilots will picket the Los Angeles International Airport on May 22, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on May 24, and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport on May 26.
“It’s unconscionable that US Airways management expects their labor groups to pay for this merger,” said Captain John McIlvenna, America West MEC Chairman. “Senior management was quick to point out publicly that their proposal contained a meager pay raise; however, they conveniently forgot to mention that this raise would be paid for by gutting key sections of our current contract. Such antics seem to be in line with management’s mantra of ‘lie, deny and justify.’ Our operations are a disaster, employee morale is at an all-time low, and our passengers are bearing the brunt of management’s failed attempts to implement patchwork solutions.”
During the industry downturn following 9/11, the pilots of America West and US Airways agreed to significant reductions in pay, benefits, and work rules to satisfy bankruptcy court provisions and severe ATSB loan restrictions. These sacrifices were made to ensure the survivability of US Airways, not to support inflated management compensation packages.
US Airways' financial success is undeniable. After the merger of US Airways and America West, the airline quickly became prosperous, posting an operating profit of $507 million in 2006. US Airways CEO Doug Parker received $14.4 million in compensation and benefits for 2006 and was also the highest- paid airline CEO in 2005.
Operationally, however, US Airways' performance has been dismal, and passengers are growing weary of the airline's inability to deal with these issues which cannot be addressed simply by implementing quick-fix service initiatives. Merging America West and US Airways into a single airline would go a long way in eliminating many of the core operational issues and would allow management to capture additional synergies for US Airways’ passengers, investors and employees.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
# # #
ALPA Contacts: Captain Tania
Bziukiewicz: (602) 214-3490
Lydia Jakub: (480) 586-5873