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US Airways Flight Attendants Reject Contract Offer

Wall Street Journal

Flight attendants of US Airways Group Inc. on Thursday narrowly rejected a contract offer for the second time this year, a further sign of the strained labor relations rippling through the airline sector.

The contract would have put the attendants of US Airways and the former America West Airlines under the same deal for the first time since the carriers merged in 2005.

A deal would also have helped smooth labor issues as US Airways pursues a potential merger with AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines.

The offer was rejected by 51% of voting members after being reworked when a plan tabled in March was rejected by a margin of 3 to 1. The union said 85% of the 6,800 flight attendants voted, and the narrowing margin of opposition suggests the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA can iron out the remaining issues in a new agreement.


Pilots at US Airways Unit Set Talks on 12-Year Old Contract

By Ted Reed
The Street

In a period of intense focus on labor talks with pilots at most major airlines, it is safe to say that the spotlight doesn't shine brightly on the pilot contract talks at US Airways (LCC) subsidiary Piedmont Airlines.

"There is always something going on at the mainline," said Bruce Freedman, a 29-year Piedmont pilot who is chairman of the airline's chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. "The wholly owned (subsidiary) airlines have always dealt with this. There are many distractions for (the mainline.)

"I can understand that," Freedman said. "However, they do own us, and we would like to see a little more acknowledgement that we exist. When you are owned by somebody, it's nice to think they have an interest in you."


Rethinking Corporate Headquarters

By Hugh Hallman
Arizona Republic

A US Airways/American Airlines merger may cost Arizona a corporate headquarters. That may not be as bad an outcome as some people think.

Merger talk has caused some government officials to jump to "save" the headquarters for Arizona. But let's look before we leap. Please ask the questions that should be the basis of any effort to attract or retain a business. How many jobs really are at stake for Arizonans? What value does the company or its headquarters bring to our residents and taxpayers?

Jobs create taxes that add to government coffers. Income tax from the business and from its employees helps the state. Sales taxes from employees' retail purchases help the state and the cities. Property taxes on homes and on business property support our schools, cities and counties, among many other jurisdictions.

Even those who insist that government should not offer any support to retain or attract jobs at least might recognize that a business located in this state rather than another provides benefits to many here that cannot be captured by the business' bottom line or by its shareholders. That's the peg businesses first used to ask local and state governments to "give back" some of the value created but not captured by business operations. Yet it is sometimes difficult to predict or even to determine afterward the value of the benefits provided to others by a business' location.

This is where the US Airways business decision really gets muddled.


Pilots at American Airlines Plan Strike Vote

DALLAS (AP) — Pilots for American Airlines and US Airways are talking about terms for a possible labor deal if the two airlines merge.

Both groups of pilots would get raises on the day of a merger, said James Ray, a spokesman for US Airways pilots. After three years, he said, they would earn pay similar to that of pilots for Delta Air Lines Inc., whose recent contract is considered tops in the industry.

The terms are based on the outline of a deal in April between US Airways and pilots at American. Pilots for both airlines are now discussing changes to that outline.

Ray said that his union's board could decide this week whether to ask US Airways pilots to ratify the changes, which would also need approval by American's pilots.

The talks come as US Airways Group Inc. continues to press for a merger with American that would put its executives in charge of the combined company. US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., already reached contingent agreements in April with unions at American, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November.


US Airways reaches labor deal with flight attendants

Phoenix Business Journal
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

US Airways and the Association of Flight Attendants announced Wednesday they have reached a new tentative agreement to get the former America West flight attendants under a single contract with the airline’s other AFA workers.

US Airways merged with America West in 2005 and has not been able to get an agreement passed by AFA members in the seven years since. A tentative agreement was announced in January, but it failed to pass a vote in March, according to US Airways.

“We’ve been working over the past several years and airline contracts are just notoriously complex,” said Michelle Mohr, a spokesperson with the airline. “Those types of negotiations usually take a long time.”

AFA spokesperson Corey Caldwell said that members were surveyed following the last vote to determine the issues that were most important to flight attendants.

“We took those priorities and were able to make sure that the voice of US Airways flight attendants was heard,” she said.


Negotiators for United, Continental pilots agree on labor deal with combined company

Associated Press, August 3, The Washington Post

DALLAS — United Airlines says it has a deal with union negotiators on a new labor contract with its own pilots and those from the former Continental Airlines.

United Continental Holdings Inc. said Friday that the agreement is an important step in creating a single workforce at the company, which was formed by a 2010 merger.

The union called it an agreement in principle on economic issues and said some details still needed to be finished. It is subject to approval by governing boards of the two pilot groups and by rank-and-file pilots.

Details of the agreement were not immediately disclosed, but Jay Pierce, chairman of the Continental pilots’ group, said it included pay raises and better job protection and benefits.

Fred Abbott, United’s senior vice president of flight operations, called it “an important step forward for our company.”


US Airways Will Meet with Its Pilots on Merger Contract

Ted Reed, The Street

TEMPE, Ariz. -- US Airways (LCC) and its pilots are scheduled to meet Wednesday in Tempe to discuss terms of a tentative agreement the carrier has signed with the union representing pilots from American.

The contract, which could take effect in the event of a merger between the two carriers, was negotiated without input from US Airways pilots, who would also be covered by it. American has 8,000 pilots, who are members of the Allied Pilots Association, while US Airways has 4,300 pilots, members of the US Airline Pilots Association.

"Our company has finally recognized that it would be better to have their own pilots on board so this deal can get done," said USAPA spokesman James Ray. "We are hoping they will address our needs so that we can move forward."

The session will be conducted at the highest level, with both US Airways President Scott Kirby and USAPA President Gary Hummel present. It will be the first formal meeting between USAPA leaders and top management regarding the tentative joint contract joint agreement, reached in April. A US Airways spokeswoman declined to comment.


US Airways Profit Triples; Fares Up, Fuel Down

The results could strengthen US Airways' case for a merger with American Airlines while American reorganizes in bankruptcy court.

The bigger profit for US Airways wasn't because it carried a lot more passengers — traffic rose just a half-percent. But passengers paid 7.4 percent more to fly compared to the same period a year ago. Airlines raised fares in 2011 and early this year, and those higher fares paid off for US Airways in the quarter ended June 30.

"The driver of this improvement was revenues," Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said on a conference call. Competitors such as Delta and American are reaping the benefits of higher fares as well.

Lower fuel prices helped, too. US Airways' fuel spending per gallon fell 3.5 percent from a year ago, slicing about $40 million from what its fuel bill would have been at last year's prices, Parker said.


American Airlines Pilots Won't Vote on Final Offer

By Mary Schlangenstein
June 20, 2012 9:13 PM EDT

American Airlines pilots won’t vote on a final concessionary offer from the bankrupt carrier, leaving the future of their contract in the hands of a judge.

The Allied Pilots Association board decided 11 to 5 not to send the company’s offer to members for a vote, Gregg Overman, a union spokesman, said today in an e-mail. The decision comes ahead of a June 22 deadline for a bankruptcy judge to decide whether the carrier can throw out existing contracts and impose new terms to help cut $1.25 billion in annual labor costs.

The carrier’s offer was “too sketchy and ambiguous” to send to members for a vote, Tom Hoban, another spokesman for the pilots group, said in an interview. The union will ask American to seek more time to fully analyze some proposals, Hoban said. Pilot scheduling is the main unresolved issue, he said.


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