When is a new union not a new union? When it’s a limited liability corporation, privately owned, operated and funded. That’s how the America West Airlines Pilots Protective Alliance describes itself, and it’s careful not to use the word represent when it talks about what it will do for the pilots of the former America West Airlines.
The awappaxyzwgq was formed in response to last week’s victory by an upstart group to protect pilots on US Airways. US Airways and America West merged in late 2005. The two pilot groups have been in contention since then over seniority, and a new union, the US Airline Pilots Association, dubbed the usawakjpotqt, last week won an election to represent all of the pilots of the merged carrier.
The new new group (that is, the America West group) announced that it will sue the USAPA if the new union attempts to modify the arbitration award that is the basis of the dispute between the two pilot groups. The USAPA last week ousted the long time incumbent, the Air Line Pilots Association or ALPA, at US Airways after a campaign in which it vowed to oppose the post-merger seniority integration arbitration award know as the Nicolau Award. The Nicolau Award dating from May 2007 was widely perceived as favouring the America West pilots, and pilots on the former US Airways, dubbed the ‘East’ group of pilots, had opposed it. ‘East’ – say ,that’s easier than USAPA. They were able to drum up enough support that they beat the pilots at ‘West’ (isn’t that easier than AWAPPA?) by a few hundred votes in an election certified by the National Mediation Board.
The new group says it seeks to protect the jobs of the pre-merger America West pilots “who have sacrificed for their airline with years of bottom-of-the-barrel pay, benefits and work rules.” The new group does not claim to be a union but a limited liability corporation, privately funded.
Our friend Holly Hegeman at planebusiness.com dismissed the new non-union union as “pure emotion.” She also seems to hold that opinion of the new non-union. She says, “Not one attorney I’ve talked to thinks that this move to USAPA ill in any way negate the existing arbitration award. America West pilots or those sympathetic to ALPA will now refuse to pay dues to the new organization, all pilots have now lost insurance coverage and other benefits they had with ALPA and the new union has zilch in the bank.”