Monday, August 8, 2011

Meanwhile over at USAPA

We watch the USAPA case with great interest. Not only because it is an example of a union breaking away from ALPA to become "independent" but it is also tied inextricably to the Seham law group. Many other sites devote time to SSM&P so we won't bother. Others may dismiss ALPA's lawyers as having their own problems, but we all know that the issue here is the DPA goal of decertification. No independent union is immune from being sued or from DFR suits. Take USASPA* as a case in point.

As we read the latest updates from the Army of Leonidas we can't help but wonder if there will the be a split here in our pilot group. The DPA goal of only 50% of the pilots could leave us with a divided group of DPA vs Non-DPA pilots. Even with agency shop there is no reason to believe that the remaining pilots will be happy with new representation. Especially if it fails to meet any more goals.

Think about it. The East vs West battle is not just about differing opinions on the SLI but the construct of the union itself.

If the DPA manages to decertify ALPA and were to start similar safety campaigns, how many of the "other 50%" would join in? It's a shocking thought on the coming events. None of the DPA goals seem to imply unity at all.

Read about "status quo" and the East - West split here.

We watch with interest.

*Duty of Fair Representation Trial (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

On May 13, 2009, a group of AWA pilots who filed suit on behalf of the class of America West pilots in Federal District Court in Phoenix, Arizona succeeded in convincing a federal judge and federal jury that USAPA breached their duty of fair representation to the America West pilots. Federal Judge Neil Wake issued an injunction against USAPA during the week of May 18, 2009 barring USAPA from changing the seniority list from the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) internal arbitrated list produced by internal union Arbitrator George Nicolau, The trial lasted for eight days of trial, following nearly 9 months of legal preliminaries, and included thousands of pages of evidence.

The DFR suit was appealed by USAPA. In December 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard the case. The following link is the audio of the oral arguments; Don Addington v. US Airline Pilots Association, No. 09-16564

February 12, 2010 Judge Wake issued a temporary stay concerning all District Court proceedings in the Addington case. This was done to allow the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on the initial outcome of the federal court trial prior to proceeding with a damages trial for the former AWA pilots listed on the lawsuit.

June 04, 2010 The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a dismissal of the DFR suit against USAPA. "USAPA contends, inter alia, that the district court never had jurisdiction because the West Pilots’ claim is not ripe. We agree." However, the court also noted that nothing prevented the west pilots from re-filing a new DFR suit once a pilot contract was voted on. "

Petition for a writ of certiorari was filed by the America West Pilots legal team with the Supreme Court and was subsequently denied on January 10th, 2011. This affirmed the 9th Circuit Courts dismissal of the duty of fair representation lawsuit against USAPA.