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USAPA May Bargain For Pilot Senority Integration

U.S. Court Of Appeals Rules In Favor Of US Airways Pilots’ Union Over Former America West Pilots

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday reversed the decision of a lower federal court that had found the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) liable in a Duty of Fair Representation lawsuit. This decision allows USAPA, which represents all US Airways pilots, to freely bargain for the terms of its seniority integration.
 
The U.S. District Court in Arizona had issued an injunction that required USAPA to bargain for seniority integration terms based on a previous union’s bargaining proposal. The proposal, known commonly as the “Nicolau award,” resulted from an arbitration conducted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), then the US Airways pilots’ bargaining agent.

In September 2008, a group of six former America West pilots brought suit against USAPA claiming that USAPA’s failure to implement the Nicolau award violated its duty of fair representation. The lawsuit, Addington v. US Airline Pilots Association, was accompanied by another lawsuit brought in state court that has since been dismissed.

In Friday's ruling, a panel of the Ninth Circuit held by a majority that the Addington lawsuit was not legally ripe and therefore that the lower court lacked jurisdiction. The majority decision stated that, “… the conclusion that Plaintiffs’ claim is not ripe is consistent with our DFR decisions, which have found DFR violations based on contract negotiation only after a contract has been agreed upon.”

USAPA President Mike Cleary said, “We now look forward to our pilot group coming together to work towards an improved, industry-standard contract for all US Airways pilots.”

As a result of today’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake is ordered to dismiss the action against USAPA. This also means that the injunction and remaining damages phase of the case are now moot and USAPA can begin the collective bargaining process on behalf of all US Airways pilots.

FMI: http://usairlinepilots.org

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