American Airlines Pilots Reach Tentative Accord with Counterparts at US Airways on Seniority

By Paul Riegler on 5 September 2014
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A US Airways plane taking off at Newark

A US Airways plane taking off at Newark

Pilots at American Airlines Group moved one step closer to having an integrated seniority list, a step necessary for American, which merged with US Airways in 2013, to operate as a single airline.

On Thursday, the union representing US Airways pilots announced it had reached a deal with the union representing American Airlines pilots on a protocol agreement.  This would result in a process under which the two pilot unions would create an integrated seniority list.  The news was first reported by

Later on Thursday, the measure was passed by the US Airlines Pilots Association, which voted 7-4 in favor, a person close to the situation told Frequent Business Traveler.

The protocol calls for the US Airways pilots to begin paying dues to American’s union, the Allied Pilots Association, which would become the sole representative for both pilot groups in collective bargaining.  The move requires the approval of the National Mediation Board.

The US Airlines union would continue to exist in an advisory capacity, representing pilots on seniority issues, but it would no longer collect dues.

Once created, a single list would govern bidding rights for trips, vacation preferences, base assignments, furloughs, and recalls for both pilot groups.

The agreement calls for a panel of three arbitrators to compile a combined seniority list.  The arbitrators would be selected by representatives of both unions’ merger committees.  The agreement also creates a mechanism for addressing the long-standing question of the implementation of the so-called Nicolau Award, which was intended to integrate US Airlines and America West pilots following the merger of those two airlines.  Those two pilot groups were never integrated on a single seniority list amidst complaints that the list favored pilots from America West.  US Airways merged with America West in 2005.

The issue will be decided by a panel of three arbitrators who will determine whether former America West pilots could be represented separately in the creation of a merged seniority list.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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