September 12, 2007
U.S. District Court Upholds ALPA Arbitration Awards
Gives two Trans States pilots the green light to fly after wrongful terminations
ST. LOUIS – In a recently issued ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ordered Trans States Airlines (TSA) to comply with two arbitration awards that had ordered the reinstatement of two wrongfully terminated TSA pilots.
The pilots were represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). The Court found that the arbitration awards “drew their essence from the collective bargaining agreement between ALPA and Trans States Airlines.”
“This court ruling is vindication for our two pilots who found themselves caught in the crosshairs of an anti-union management team,” said ALPA President Capt. John Prater. “We hope TSA management will take this ruling to heart and realize it has a legal responsibility to abide by arbitrators’ rulings and to comply with our contract.”
In March 2006, an arbitrator ruled that Trans States’ termination of Capt. Srjdan “Sergio” Cvetanovic was without just cause. The arbitrator directed Trans States management to reinstate Cvetanovic and pay him the majority of his lost earning and associated benefits. When Trans States refused to honor the arbitrator’s decision, ALPA filed suit in the U.S. District Court to have the arbitrator’s ruling enforced.
In March 2005, TSA terminated Capt. Paul Hopkins, a St. Louis-based ALPA representative. In May 2006, an arbitrator ordered Hopkins be reinstated with back wages and lost benefits. Trans States refused to honor this arbitrator’s decision as well, so ALPA also filed suit on behalf of Hopkins.
“We are very pleased the magistrate upheld the arbitrations,” said Capt. Jason Ruszin, chairman of the Trans States pilots’ branch of ALPA. “It is now time for the Company to comply with these awards by reinstating these pilots. If management wishes to improve labor relations they should accept this outcome and reinstate the pilots without further delay. Continuing to challenge these awards in federal appeals court would only serve to deepen the wedge between management and labor.”
In addition to Cvetanovic and Hopkins, TSA terminated four other union officials in 2005 in an effort to undermine the union. TSA management’s anti-union campaign proved to be a complete failure. Through ALPA’s efforts, three of the four officials were reinstated in the grievance process. The other pilot, who obtained a better flying job elsewhere, reached a satisfactory settlement. Cvetanovic and Hopkins were the only two still off the property.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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Contacts: Kimberly Seitz, (703) 481-4463; Capt. Jason Ruszin, (610) 805-5387