End-Game Negotiations Begin In New York City


The Joint Negotiating Committee, the National Mediation Board and United management began their two weeks of end-game negotiations in New York to conclude an Agreement in Principle on the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) by June 15. MEC Chairman Captain Jay Heppner made the following remarks during the first meeting among the Parties.


“I'm glad we are here to conclude what has been a long process to culminate in ‘end game’ negotiations by June 15th as agreed to by the company and ALPA over two weeks ago. I applaud the company, and our CEO Jeff Smisek for stepping up to the plate to get these critical negotiations completed. Our pilots have lived in bankruptcy or concessionary contracts for too long.

“There are two specific years that I want to highlight as they have great significance to us on this side of the table ... and I hope for your side as well. 2003 marked the beginning of the sacrifices we gave up for the survival of this company as a result of the horrific attacks on our country during 9/11. 2010 marks the announcement of the merger, and the 12 months of Section 6 negotiations that had already begun at United and the nearly 24 months at Continental. Commitments were made before Congress by our two CEOs that labor's plight and urgent need to finally conclude a collective bargaining agreement would be addressed most expeditiously. With $1.2 billion in United concessionary givebacks over this time period
pensions, wages and the hundreds of millions in Continental pilots’ concessions are not in any way an exaggeration to say that my pilots are still living in Chapter 11. In other words, my pilots have been denied the same ‘fresh start’ the company received from a bankruptcy court back in 2003.

“We have been unable to finish up the scheduling section of the contract with one small noneconomic item, yet here we are with no final solution. Now we are faced with opening a most critical and difficult section concerning Scope. United had eight Star Alliance members in 1998, and now twenty-seven in 2012. How possible to an end game will the company be with the scheduling section still open?

“Captain Lee Moak, the President of ALPA, has made two separate requests for a release that would create a critical internal clock that would benefit both the company and ALPA, and in the process empower the NMB in its critical role as mediator in driving these negotiations to conclusion and the June 15th timeframe, to which we agree. The company made a negative reply to the request last Monday. In the reply, management invoked the need to watch market developments.


“Let me quote a pertinent passage from that letter:


There are two recent developments in the airline industry, which could be highly relevant to an appropriate resolution of the pending major dispute between ALPA and the Company.

“The comments then point to the Delta contract and the uncertain pilot agreement at American Airlines, creating a perceived need to slow down these ‘end game’ negotiations so as to take into consideration these breaking developments.

“I remind everyone in this room that the bankruptcy of United Airlines, the company's ‘fresh start’ from the courts and now the consummated merger between United and Continental all took place long before these ‘market developments’ that the gentleman seems so intent in following. If United Airlines wants to sit back and wait for these market developments to play out before reaching closure in this room, I would find that astonishing, and bordering on incredible. I will leave it to others to characterize that attitude in other ways. If anything, I have been criticized of being an optimist that we will be successful. I truly believe that we need the enforcement of a release to coincide with these end game negotiations.

“I hope we are all negotiating in the same universe.”


The remainder of the day was spent in separate Scope, Retirement & Insurance and costing discussions with management.



  UAL v. ALPA: Preliminary Injunction

The United States District Court has issued a preliminary injunction. ( Click Here to read the Preliminary Injunction Order. Click Here to read the Memorandum Opinion and Order). The injunction enjoins ALPA, the individual defendants, and all persons and organizations acting by, in concert with, through or under them, or by and through their orders, from calling, permitting, instigating, authorizing, encouraging, participating in, approving or continuing any interference with United's airline operations, including but not limited to any strike, work stoppage, sick-out, slowdown, work to rule campaign, concerted refusal to accept voluntary or overtime flying, or other concerted refusal to perform normal pilot operations in violation of the Railway Labor Act.

The Court has directed that all United pilots resume their normal individual working schedules and practices, and ALPA is hereby instructing all pilots to cease and desist from engaging in any slowdown, sick-out, work to rule campaign, refusal to accept voluntary or overtime flying, or other concerted refusal to conduct pilot operations in the normal manner. With this message ALPA is instructing that you cease and desist all such activity and cease and desist from all statements or communications encouraging such conduct.

We must comply with the Court's direction. This is about all of us, because each of us will be at risk of court fines or company discipline if we engage in any Court-prohibited activity or if we encourage others to do so. Do not engage in any form of sick-out, improper use of sick leave, improper use of fatigue calls, slowdown activity such as intentional delays in the operation, pressure or harassment of other pilots for taking overtime flying, concerted refusal to accept junior/senior manning, or any other form of economic pressure, and do not encourage others to do any of these things. We must resume normal individual working schedules and practices. Again, these are requirements of the Court, and we must comply starting immediately.


United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association

9550 W. Higgins Road, Suite 1000

Rosemont, Illinois 60018 | 847/292-1700