TWA Congressional Testimony APFA''s Ward vs. Cooper

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Ward/ Cooper Congressional Testimony
EFFECTS OF TWA MERGER WITH AMERICAN AIRLINES

JUNE 12, 2003

STATEMENT OF JOHN WARD
PRESIDENT ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR & PENSIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE

My name is John Ward. I am the President of the Association of
Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the certified collective
bargaining representative for the more than 25,000 flight attendants
employed by American Airlines (American) and TWA-LLC Airlines
(TWA-LLC). I have been employed as a flight attendant for American
for 20 years.

I appreciate the opportunity that has been offered to present these
comments on behalf of APFA and the flight attendants we represent.

Overview of Statement

I will first review the tumultuous events that we have experienced
in our industry and at American in the past 18 months and the
enormous sacrifices our Union and the flight attendants we represent
have made to enable American to continue to operate outside of
bankruptcy. After providing this necessary context, I will review in
detail the key aspects of American''s acquisition of most of the
assets of Trans World Airlines (TWA) and of the agreements
regarding seniority made by the former TWA flight attendants''
representatives, which they are now trying to ignore. This
background will help correct the extensive misinformation and
erroneous claims that have been advanced by or on behalf of the
former TWA flight attendants. This will be followed by a review of
the Agreement that was reached between APFA and American with regard
to integration matters. I will next address and dispel the
widespread myth that has been perpetrated that promises were made
and broken to the TWA flight attendants regarding the seniority they
would receive at American and that the TWA flight attendants relied
upon such alleged promises in making critical decisions. I will then
review the many presently pending lawsuits that the former TWA
employees have elected to pursue in an effort to establish their
alleged seniority rights and redress the purported broken promises,
all of which counsel against Congressional actions which intrude
upon the judiciary''s handling of these private-party disputes
related to the American-TWA transaction. Finally, I will call
attention to the fact that government involvement in the seniority
integration issues is flatly inconsistent with the approach
announced and consistently followed by the Government since
enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978 and at odds with
the sanctity of labor-management agreements.

The Enormous Sacrifices Made by APFA and the Thousands of Flight
Attendants Represented by APFA

Before discussing the specifics of the American-TWA situation, I
think it''s important to reflect on certain recent developments at
American and in our industry that provide a necessary context for
this discussion.

Our industry and American in particular have been devastated by a
string of events over the last two years. The horrific terrorist
acts of September 11, 2001 were devastating for our nation and all
its citizens, but we at American particularly felt its impact. Not
only did we lose many of our fellow workers to these mindless
attacks, but the economic consequences for our Company were even
greater than those experienced by many other carriers in the
industry.

No sooner had we begun to emerge from the events of September 11 and
move forward when we suffered another crushing tragedy with the loss
of more co-workers and passengers in the crash of an American plane
in New York in November 2001. Over the course of the next year and
one-half, the fortunes of our industry and of our Company took a
nosedive, experiencing losses that far exceeded any that had
previously occurred. Fears emanating from the 9/11 attacks,
terrorism and later from the Iraq war and SARS, together with the
continued deterioration of the U.S. economy, have caused millions of
potential passengers to cancel or defer their travel plans. The
heavy taxation and security burdens placed on our industry during
this time have only made a bad situation worse. Two of our
industry''s major carriers - United and USAir - were forced to
declare bankruptcy. Over 100,000 employees in our industry have been
laid-off (furloughed) as a result of this terrible series of
circumstances and the livelihoods of those who have continued
working have been threatened and materially downgraded.

For us here at American, the situation has been particularly grave.
As Congress (and the world) is fully aware, things became so dire
that it appeared virtually certain that American would be following
United and USAir into bankruptcy. In an effort to head that off,
American demanded massive permanent cost reductions from its
employees, including $340 million in annual cost cuts from the
flight attendants extending for many years into the future. During a
period of intense negotiations, the Company made clear that both
the level and duration of these cost reductions were non-negotiable
and that it, alone, would determine how to value the concessionary
pieces that would satisfy the reduction totals that it was
demanding. In addition, it became readily apparent to us during
these discussions with the Company that these enormous cost
reduction totals could only be reached by including not only
substantial cuts in pay and benefits, but also changes to work rules
which would enable the Company to operate with fewer employees,
which in turn would mean that a substantial number of flight
attendants would be furloughed.

The situation we faced was a terrible one and the choices before
us were ones we wished we could have avoided. However, we firmly
believed in good faith that if the Company filed for bankruptcy, the
consequences for the flight attendants would have been far worse -
not to mention the added harm this would cause to our co-workers, to
our Company and to the public. We recognized that the pay and
benefit cuts and furloughs that would result from an agreement
reached without a bankruptcy filing would pale in comparison to what
we were likely to encounter if the Company proceeded to file for
bankruptcy. The Company''s bankruptcy plans which they shared with us
reflected that American would demand annual flight attendant cost
reductions of $470 million - 39% higher than it required if
bankruptcy could be avoided. The Company additionally indicated that
if it proceeded into bankruptcy, it planned to obtain approval to
take 85-90 planes out of service. Thus, it was apparent that our
flight attendant group was facing at least 2,500 more furloughs if
the Company proceeded into bankruptcy than would result from the
cost reductions provided through the bankruptcy avoidance agreement.
Carefully weighing the grave situation with which we were
confronted, we reluctantly concluded in good faith that we could
best protect the interests of the flight attendant group, and thus
fulfill our representational responsibilities, by reaching an
agreement with the Company, which our membership ultimately
ratified.

As a result of the bankruptcy avoidance agreement and reductions in
the Company''s operations, the Company determined that it had
an overage (excess) of approximately 5,000 flight attendants who
would be subject to being furloughed. The number of actual furloughs
was reduced to 3,123 due to the generosity of many of our flight
attendants who volunteered to take unpaid overage leaves or to
form partnerships to share their positions and earnings. While a
substantial number of former TWA flight attendants are included in
these furlough numbers, many American flight attendants with no
connection to the former TWA also are being furloughed. The furlough
numbers significantly understate the impact on the non-TWA flight
attendants of the job reductions when you factor in the large number
who have taken overage leaves and formed partnerships and who
therefore have agreed to forgo all or a substantial part of their
wages to enable other co-workers to continue working.

Of course, the impact of the bankruptcy avoidance agreement and
Company flying cutbacks is not limited to those facing furlough. It
can truly be said that every single flight attendant, from the most
senior to the most junior, is directly and significantly impacted.
The severe reductions in pay and vacation time, the diminution of
work rules requiring flight attendants to work longer, and the
imposition of increases in employee contributions for medical
insurance are affecting all flight attendants.

I do not by my comments mean to minimize the fact that these
furloughs will cause real hardships to many flight attendants,
including those who previously flew for TWA. APFA regrets every
single furlough necessitated by the Company''s extreme financial
difficulties. However, what I have attempted to make clear is the
fact that our entire workforce has made enormous sacrifices to help
our Company avoid bankruptcy; the burdens have not been foisted on
the former TWA flight attendants alone, as they might have you
believe. I also need to emphasize that at no time in determining how
best to respond to the Company''s financial crisis did we make
decisions based upon placing the burden on the former TWA flight
attendants.

I would also note that the TWA-LLC flight attendants who are being
furloughed retain recall rights at American for five years, during
which time American cannot hire new flight attendants before
recalling the furloughed flight attendants. In addition, the TWA-LLC
flight attendants will benefit from the enhancements that we
demanded and achieved during the days immediately following the
debacle of disclosures by American that it had hidden special
executive retention bonuses and retirement benefits during the
concessionary negotiations. For example, the former TWA flight
attendants now being furloughed will share equally in the stock
options that are being provided to flight attendants.

Recognizing the enormity of the contributions made by the entire
American flight attendant workforce to keeping American operating
out of bankruptcy also serves to underline the drastic consequences
that are likely to occur if Congress were to intercede to take any
steps that could unravel the seniority integration. American has
publicly confirmed that its financial condition remains tenuous even
after the enormous cost reductions provided by APFA and the other
unions at American. Any modification to the flight attendant
seniority integration would directly undercut the cost reduction
package. Were that to occur, the Company has indicated that its
continued operation outside of bankruptcy would be immediately
threatened. As I previously noted, a bankruptcy filing would result
in many thousands of additional flight attendant furloughs. While
the former TWA flight attendants would like to ignore these
consequences, they cannot be overlooked if one is to rationally
approach this situation and the former TWA flight attendants''
demands.

I hope the above has helped to provide an understanding of recent
events at American and of the sacrifices we all have been called
upon to make to maintain the viability of American while best
protecting the interests of the flight attendants we represent. I
now want to focus on certain basic facts regarding the American-TWA
transaction and, in so doing, to correct a great deal of
misinformation that I know has been spread by and on behalf of
former TWA employees.

The American/TWA Transaction and Contractual Waivers by the TWA
Employees At the end of 2000, after two prior bankruptcies in the
1990s, TWA was in dire financial circumstances and found itself on
the brink of extinction. On January 9, 2001, TWA and American
announced that American would purchase substantially all of the
assets of TWA. Under the terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement
governing the transaction, the purchase would occur through a
process that involved TWA filing for bankruptcy. Although the
transaction was initially challenged by some of TWA''s creditors, the
bankruptcy court rejected those challenges because, as the court
repeatedly found, TWA would immediately cease operations and
liquidate without the acquisition by American.

As part of the Asset Purchase Agreement, American promised to hire
nearly all of TWA''s union-represented employees. However, the
Agreement also included certain specific condition precedents that
would have to be satisfied before American would be willing to
complete the transaction, including that TWA eliminate certain
provisions from its collective bargaining agreements. Among the
contractual provisions that could not be retained were those
relating to scope and job security (including successorship and
seniority integration protections in the event of transactions
involving TWA and another airline). One such provision in the TWA
flight attendants'' collective bargaining agreement incorporated by
reference Sections 3 and 13 of the Allegheny-Mohawk Labor Protective
Provisions (the LPPs). This provision would have required TWA to
ensure that any purchaser agreed to a set of procedures, including
arbitration, to achieve a seniority integration for the flight
attendants of TWA and the acquiring carrier.

To satisfy this precondition to closing of the acquisition as it
pertained to the flight attendants, TWA first attempted to negotiate
with the International Association of Machinists (the IAM), the
collective bargaining representative for the TWA flight attendants,
for the removal of provisions in question in the TWA flight
attendants'' collective bargaining agreement. When those efforts were
unsuccessful, TWA prepared and filed a motion under Section 1113 of
the Bankruptcy Code to reject the IAM-TWA flight attendant
collective bargaining agreement in its entirety.

Before a hearing was held on TWA''s Section 1113 petition, the IAM,
on April 4, 2001, agreed on behalf of all the TWA flight attendants
to delete the pertinent provisions from the TWA flight attendant
agreement, including the seniority protective provisions. The
elimination of these terms was confirmed in a Transition Agreement
between the IAM and TWA-LLC and an accompanying Memorandum of
Understanding For Changes to the TWA-IAM Flight Attendant Collective
Bargaining Agreement. IAM also agreed that All Letters of
Agreement, local agreements and minutes of negotiation that relate
to Scope and Successorship issues shall also be deleted to conform
to the American Airlines Asset Purchase Agreement. Although IAM had
initially vowed that it would aggressively defend any attempt by
TWA or American to eliminate the security [the] collective
bargaining agreements provides, it changed its tune and agreed to
the substantial collective bargaining agreement revisions because,
as it explained to the TWA Flight Attendants when it informed them
of the contractual concessions, it was the best we could accomplish
under these very difficult circumstances. TWA also informed the TWA
flight attendants that seniority protective provisions had been
eliminated.

Based on these waivers by the IAM (and the other TWA unions), the
Bankruptcy Court approved the sale and American consummated the
purchase. Had the IAM and the TWA flight attendants not agreed to
waive the seniority protective provisions, either the Bankruptcy
Court would have eliminated them in the Section 1113 process or
American would have exercised its contractual right not to
consummate the acquisition of TWA''s assets. At all times, American
had made it clear that it would walk away from its acquisition of
TWA if the IAM would not agree to the significant contractual
waivers to which it ultimately consented on behalf of the TWA Flight
Attendants. American was under no obligation to complete the
transaction in the absence of these waivers. It was only after the
IAM waivers had been secured that American closed the transaction.
Had American backed away from this transaction, TWA would have
stopped operating and been forced to liquidate. If that had
occurred, the TWA flight attendants would then have lost their
airline jobs altogether rather than enjoying continued employment
for past 2½ years, with most of it at pay rates significantly
greater than they received at TWA, as I will make clear later in
this Statement.

Agreement on Integration Matters

After American''s acquisition of TWA was completed in early April
2001, American formed TWA-LLC, Inc. to conduct the operations of the
former TWA. At that time, APFA represented only the American
Airlines flight attendants and owed no representational obligations
to the TWA-LLC flight attendants, who continued to be represented by
the IAM. Consistent with APFA''s representational responsibilities,
APFA engaged in discussions with American related to the TWA
transaction. However, in the period immediately following the
closing of the TWA acquisition, American and APFA were engaged at a
critical stage of their ongoing negotiations for a new collective
bargaining agreement. Understandably, the Union''s attention was
focused on those negotiations, not on the TWA transaction (which was
not an issue in those negotiations). Once APFA and American reached
a tentative agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement
(the APFA CBA), the Union''s efforts were directed towards the road
shows related to the APFA CBA and upon the ratification process.
This continued throughout the summer of 2001. When the ratification
votes were counted - ironically on September 12 - they revealed that
the American flight attendants had approved the new CBA by an
astounding 96 percent margin. Of course, that success and all other
union activity at the time were placed on the back burner, as the
tragic events of September 11 and their aftermath understandably
took center stage.

In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, American
announced a substantial reduction in flight operations across its
system and furloughed large numbers of employees, including both TWA-
LLC and American Airlines flight attendants. In addition, TWA-LLC
curtailed flight operations from JFK International Airport and
closed its JFK flight attendant base.

Discussions between APFA and American regarding TWA-related issues
resumed in the fall of 2001. The fact that discussions were taking
place was reported on APFA''s public website to which all had access,
including the TWA-LLC flight attendants. Finally, and despite
everything else that was happening at American and TWA-LLC, and
throughout the industry, an agreement was reached between American
and APFA on December 17, 2001 - the APFA-AA Agreement on Seniority
Integration and Related Matters (the Integration Agreement). This
Integration Agreement was consistent with guiding principles that
had been laid out by the APFA Board of Directors in March 2001.

The Integration Agreement provided that the terms of the APFA CBA,
except as otherwise provided in the Integration Agreement, would
apply to the TWA-LLC Flight Attendants once APFA became their
bargaining representative. APFA''s certification as bargaining
representative for the American flight attendants was extended to
also cover the TWA-LLC flight attendants on April 19, 2002, after
the National Mediation Board had determined that American and TWA-
LLC were a single carrier for Railway Labor Act purposes.

To the extent seniority rights exist, they do so only as provided by
contract; there is no independent legal requirement that seniority
be recognized. Neither is there a legal requirement or any
requirement under the APFA CBA that employees of an acquired company
be given any credit for any time spent working for the acquired
entity (in this case, TWA). Nevertheless, APFA and American agreed
to provide the TWA-LLC flight attendants with significant
entitlements beyond those legally or contractually required.

The new APFA CBA provided pay rate increases during the term of the
Agreement of 27.5%, including 18.5% effective January 1, 2002, which
placed the American flight attendant pay rates far in front of all
other flight attendant groups. In the Integration Agreement, APFA
consented to giving the TWA-LLC flight attendants full credit for
compensation purposes for their years of service at TWA. Because the
TWA-LLC Flight Attendant pay rates had been far below industry
standard, their pay rates actually were increased by considerably
greater percentages than was the case for the American flight
attendants. Of course, they would not have received these increased
pay rates and their employment would have terminated in early 2001
had they not agreed to waive the seniority protections in their TWA
collective bargaining agreement as required for American''s
completion of the acquisition of TWA.

The Integration Agreement also provided the TWA-LLC flight
attendants with an occupational (bidding) seniority date of April
10, 2001. However, the agreement gave them super-seniority equal to
their TWA-LLC occupational seniority dates (i.e., full credit for
their TWA service) for competitive bidding with regard to the
selection of monthly flying schedules and reserve assignments while
they remained at a St. Louis flight attendant base - the location
where all TWA-LLC flight attendants were based at the time the
Integration Agreement was reached.

The Myth that Promises Were Broken

The former TWA flight attendants are attempting to convince others
that certain promises that were made to them were broken and that
this is the crux of the problem they seek to have addressed. More
specifically, they would have this body and the Courts believe that
they were promised that their full seniority at TWA would be carried
over to American and that they have somehow been double-crossed.
These claims are invented and without any basis in fact.

As I''ve already discussed, the former TWA flight attendants''
collective bargaining agreement included certain protections for
their seniority in the event of a transaction between TWA and
another airline, and those are precisely the protections which: (1)
American insisted be waived or it would not proceed with the
acquisition of TWA; and (2) the TWA flight attendants in fact waived
before the transaction was completed and before the Bankruptcy Court
gave its approval to the acquisition.

The former TWA flight attendants can identify nothing that
establishes a binding promise that their TWA flight attendant
competitive seniority would carry over when they became American
flight attendants. I''ve seen them point to certain statements by
American officials that they would be provided benefits comparable
to those provided at American, but such representations obviously
had nothing to do with seniority rights or competitive seniority
status. Benefits refers to vacation, insurance and the like. No
one in the industry reasonably understands the use of such
terminology to refer to seniority rights or competitive seniority;
any present contention to the contrary by the former representatives
of the TWA flight attendants or by anyone appearing on their behalf
before Congress or in the Courts is simply not credible.

Neither can the former TWA flight attendants reasonably claim that
they relied upon any promises regarding seniority allegedly made
by American or rationally took any action based on such purported
promises. Let''s remember the situation that confronted the TWA
employees at the time. Their Company was about to close its doors.
If it did, all the employees would be out on the street. The only
viable bidder that emerged was American, which made it clear it
would only complete the acquisition and, as part of the transaction,
hire the TWA employees, if those employees waived, among other
things, the seniority protective provisions in their TWA collective
bargaining agreements. If they declined to provide the waivers,
either the invalidation of the seniority protective provisions would
have been mandated by the Bankruptcy Court or American would have
refused to complete the acquisition and hire the TWA employees.
Given these undisputed facts, the former TWA flight attendants
cannot credibly say they made a decision in reliance on any alleged
promises regarding seniority.

It also cannot be disputed that the TWA flight attendants''
representatives at the time, and the individuals who may now be
offering testimony on their behalf, were well aware that seniority
rights are a creature of contract and that neither the existing APFA
collective bargaining agreement nor established legal principles
provided that their seniority at TWA would be carried over to
American. If individual TWA flight attendants were misled at that
time, it could only have been by any of their own representatives
who knowingly misrepresented that their rights were other than what
they actually were.

Any present after-the-fact contention regarding alleged seniority
promises also is clearly at odds with other documentation that
refers to the retention of a facilitator to deal with seniority
issues. Obviously, had the former TWA flight attendants been
promised that their TWA seniority would carry over intact to
American, there would have been no purpose to engage in any
facilitation process. And, of course, none of the American
employees'' unions were obligated to enter into any facilitation
process because of representations by American or, if they elected
to do so, to agree to any particular integration methodology.

Thus, if any members of Congress have determined to proceed with
this hearing because of representations by former TWA employees that
promises regarding seniority were made to them which allegedly were
broken, we would respectfully suggest that it is Congress that has
been misled, not the former TWA employees.

The Claims of the TWA Employees For More Favorable Treatment Are
Being Actively Considered in Several Lawsuits and Should Be Left to
Judicial Resolution

The former TWA employees are pursuing several lawsuits attacking
various aspects and effects of the seniority integration. Litigation
by or on behalf of the TWA-LLC flight attendants against American
and APFA is pending in the United States District Courts in New
York, St. Louis and Chicago. Other litigation involving the TWA-LLC
pilots is pending in the Federal District Court in Camden, New
Jersey. Through these lawsuits, the former TWA employees are seeking
to ignore the waivers they knowingly made as conditions of
consummation of the American-TWA transaction and in order to obtain
Bankruptcy Court approval for American''s acquisition of most of
TWA''s assets. As indicated, without these waivers or a Bankruptcy
Court Order requiring their elimination, American would have walked
away from its agreement to purchase TWA - as it would have been
legally entitled to do -- TWA would have folded up shop in early
2001, and all of the TWA employees would then have lost their jobs.

All of these lawsuits are being actively pursued at this time. In
the New York flight attendant lawsuit, a hearing is scheduled for
June 16, 2003 on the TWA-LLC flight attendants'' request for an
injunction to stop their furloughs by American, which in turn is
predicated on an attack on the seniority integration which lies at
the heart of their suit. Aside from the injunction hearing, the case
is proceeding in pretrial discovery. Plaintiffs also are seeking to
expand their lawsuit and to have the case certified as a class
action. In the St. Louis flight attendant lawsuit, a motion for
class certification also is pending. In the pilot lawsuit, presently
pending are the defendants'' motions for dispositive rulings in their
favor. If these motions are denied, the pilot case will proceed
forward. The Chicago flight attendant lawsuit has just been filed
and follows the filing of more than 1,000 charges of discrimination
by TWA-LLC flight attendants with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) against American and APFA. While the EEOC has
dismissed hundreds of such charges and has not found reasonable
cause that a violation exists with respect to any of the charges,
there is a distinct prospect that attempts will be made to institute
further litigation related to such charges.

Thus, at the election of the former TWA employees, their claims of
alleged improper treatment and of purported broken promises are
being fully considered in multiple judicial forums. APFA firmly
believes that all of these claims are meritless and that the courts
will so determine. However, the important point to emphasize is that
the Courts will be determining whether or not there is merit to
these claims, based on their application of established legal
doctrines and precedents. Under such circumstances, with the
judicial branch of our government fully engaged in addressing these
matters, we would respectfully submit that Congressional intrusion
into the process and into such private party disputes is unwarranted
and harmful.

Congressional Involvement Is Inconsistent with the Approach
Previously Mandated for Addressing Seniority Integration Issues

There is another reason why Congress should decline to entertain the
present effort by the former TWA employees to involve Congress in
their private dispute. Interposing congressional involvement
effectively would re-regulate an important aspect of the airline
industry that was deregulated in 1978, and would permit the IAM and
the former TWA flight attendants to take the benefits of the last-
ditch lifesaver that was thrown them through American''s agreement to
purchase TWA while ignoring the very waiver of seniority protections
without which any chance of continued employment was doomed.

Prior to passage of the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, the
governmental body with oversight responsibility for airline
acquisitions and mergers - the Civil Aeronautics Board - routinely
imposed labor protective provisions (LPPs), including provisions
for procedures for integrating seniority lists, as a condition of
approval of such transactions. However, with the passage of the
Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, and the transfer of jurisdiction
to the Department of Transportation from the old Civil Aeronautics
Board, the Government instructed that all matters previously
addressed by LPPs, including seniority integration, would be left to
the collective bargaining process. The Courts have confirmed that
LPPs cannot be legally required as a condition of approval of
airline transactions. Congressional involvement now would reverse
that direction and reimpose pre-Deregulation practices while all
other aspects of the deregulation of the industry remain unaltered.
We can see no logic in such an approach, particularly in any attempt
to retroactively reverse such well-established practice.

As reviewed above, the IAM and the TWA flight attendants knowingly
waived their contractual provisions providing protections related to
seniority integrations. We have no doubt that these collective
bargaining decisions to waive contractual provisions were difficult
ones to make, and were made in a pressure-filled context. As I
reviewed at the outset, APFA and the other American Airlines unions
are no strangers to such pressures, having just agreed to enormous
reductions in wages, benefits and work rules under the credible
threat of an imminent bankruptcy filing by American. We, of course,
would have preferred to have been able to avoid the terrible choices
we were required to make. But, just as we cannot walk away from
bargains we have struck because the choices we faced were onerous,
neither can the TWA unions nor the TWA employees walk away from the
waivers of contractual seniority protections that they provided more
than two years ago in order to permit American to acquire TWA''s
assets and to provide jobs to the TWA employees. We respectfully
urge Congress to honor the sanctity of the waivers that were
contractually and legally granted and leave it to the Courts to sort
out the entitlements of the concerned parties.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments.
-----------------



Sherry Cooper - Jun 10, 2003

Categories: SENATE HEARING, June 12th 2003

(I am posting my remarks to the Senate subcommittee. I would ask that
you not send these out until the hearing is concluded. While I have alot that
I would like to say at the hearing, I am limited as to time. Your feedback
is welcome since I can always modify my speech.)

Senator Gregg, thank you for allowing me to testify before the
Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions concerning the
TWA/American Airlines Workforce Integration. Senator Bond, thank you for
chairing the hearing on this all-too-important issue. To be perfectly candid with
you, there was no integration. In fact, what American and the Association of
Professional Flight Attendants have done is to arbitrarily discriminate
against former TWA employees and segregate them to the bottom of the seniority
list. There has been no integration.

On May 3, 2003, I celebrated a milestone in my flying career. I
began my 28th year as a Flight Attendant. That same day, instead of
receiving recognition from American Airlines, I received a furlough notice. My
career in the airline industry was over.

Perhaps more than anyone else here today, I held a unique
position at TWA. Apart from the fact that I am a TWA line Flight Attendant, I also
served on the TWA Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001 as a Labor Director,
representing the International Association of Machinists and TWA Flight
Attendants. I directly participated in the approval of the sale of TWA to American
Airlines.

On January 9, 2001, I received a telephone call from Mr. Bill
Compton, former President of TWA to tell me about the great deal that was
waiting for the TWA employees. During that conversation, Mr. Compton stated the
following:

(1) That all TWA retirees would be protected;
(2) That TWA unionized employees would be guaranteed jobs and
greater job security; and
(3) That TWA employees would receive greater pay and benefits.

In summary, the TWA employees would be better off through the
agreement he had reached with American Airlines. There was only one catch.
Even though American and TWA had struggled mightily to come up with a straight
merger transaction, we would have to file for bankruptcy for one reason -
and one reason only. The reason was Carl Icahn. As many of you may recall,
Carl Icahn had been prior owner of Trans World Airlines. In negotiating his
departure in 1994, TWA had been required to enter into a series of ticket
arrangements under which Mr. Icahn had been allowed to sell deeply discounted TWA
tickets through a corporation he owned known as Karabu. Mr. Compton advised
me that the only way that American could see fit to do the deal was to take
Karabu out through bankruptcy. And so, the TWA Board of Directors met the
following week to hammer out the terms of the deal with American Airlines.
Thus begins the biggest myth of all - that American Airlines saved TWA in
bankruptcy.

I want to make this perfectly clear. At the time of the
agreement, TWA was NOT in bankruptcy. As a member of the Board of Directors, we
agreed to file for bankruptcy in order to eliminate the Karabu ticket agreement.

Quite honestly, as a Labor Director, I wanted some assurances
that TWA employees would receive protection. The Asset Purchase Agreement
guaranteed that all unionized employees would be employed by American Airlines.
Because of the well-known problems that had surfaced with the Reno acquisition,
American Airlines announced that it would take its time to ensure a smooth
and orderly transition. Mr. Carty, then CEO of American Airlines, promised
that the TWA employees would receive the same benefits that the American
Airlines employees received. Our union contracts would need to be modified to
mirror those contracts of the American employees. Because American flight
attendants did not have Allegheny-Mohawk Labor Protective Provisions, our contract
would have to be modified to match theirs. Importantly, both American
Airlines and TWA management insisted that all seniority integration issues would
necessarily be worked out between the Unions. It was agreed that the Unions to
ultimately work out how the seniority would be integrated. American Airlines
agreed to hire an independent facilitator to arrange meetings between the
Unions and use it best efforts on behalf of the TWA employees. It promised that
there would be a fair and equitable process and that it would adopt the
process that came out of the facilitated talks.

The American Flight Attendants numbered in excess of 22,000
employees. By contrast, TWA Flight Attendants totaled approximately 4,200
individuals. The merger of a small group of senior Flight Attendants would have
relatively little impact on the overall picture because most flew out of St.
Louis, MO - a non American Airlines base. The balance flew out of New York.
Unlike other carriers who went out of business whose employees then sought
employment at other airlines, this would be an orderly transaction because the TWA
employees were coming to the acquisition with planes, routes, airport slots,
reservation and maintenance facilities, and the prized St. Louis hub. It was
- for all intents and purposes - our dowry.

It is well chronicled that Don Carty and American Airlines touted
the TWA purchase as a great acquisition. In a powerpoint presentation to
its own Board of Directors, American management happily noted that it acquired
TWA for far less than it was worth. In his own words, Mr. Carty stated that
American gains many great assets from TWA, but none as important as its
talented team of employees. Quite clearly, the team of employees were highly
trained and experienced professionals. He threw a barbecue for the TWA
employees. Little did we realize at the time - but the TWA employees were the entrée
at the barbecue.

Instead of holding talks for the two Unions - the Association of
Professional Flight Attendants and the IAM - American Airlines engaged in
secret talks with APFA. It negotiated an agreement with APFA that all TWA
Flight Attendants would be stapled to the bottom of the APFA seniority list.
American broke its written agreement with the TWA Flight Attendants.
At the
same time, APFA had agreed that it would allow those former TWA Flight Attendants
based in New York and in St. Louis that they would receive some job
protection in the form of a fence. In other words, we would retain our combined TWA
and AA seniority as long as we remained in our two (2) hubs. We would be
allowed some sort of job protection in those bases. By contrast, when TWA
purchased Ozark, all former Ozark Flight Attendants received full seniority. Even
APFA, when American Airlines acquired both Air Cal and Trans Caribbean, agreed
that those Flight Attendants retain credit for their years of service at
those carriers. Ironically, even American Airlines voluntarily provided full
credit for seniority to TWA non-union and management personnel.

Following the aftermath of September 11, American Airlines
decided to shut down the New York TWA operation. It transferred the former TWA New
York flights to more junior AA Flight Attendants. American Airlines gave
New York Flight Attendants two (2) options: They could be furloughed to the
streets without a paycheck or accept a transfer to the remaining TWA base in St.
Louis. Many of our former New York Flight Attendants elected to transfer to
St. Louis. After all, we would retain job security as long as TWA, LLC
flights continued to operate out of St. Louis. We were wrong. American and
APFA first violated its own agreement by transferring St. Louis International
flights to more junior American Flight Attendants. They have now determined
that all remaining TWA, LLC Flight Attendants - all with more than 27 years of
seniority - will be furloughed effective July 2, 2003. Eighteen hundred
(1800) Flight Attendants with seniority totaling more than fifty thousand (50,000)
years of service to the airline industry will lose their jobs. They will be
joining 2,400 other TWA Flight Attendants. At the same time, American
Flight Attendants with less than three (3) years seniority will be flying on TWA,
LLC aircraft out of St. Louis.

To add insult to injury, both American Airlines and APFA agreed
as part of their recent concessionary agreement that the scheduled July 2
furloughees will hit the streets with no severance pay. For the first time in the
history of American Airlines, Flight Attendants will lose their jobs without
any cushion of severance pay. What makes it even worse is that for the first
time in American Airlines history, employees losing their jobs will lose
Company-paid medical benefits. Instead of providing 90 days of medical coverage,
American Airlines will only be providing 30 days of coverage. For the most
part, the group about to be furloughed are women - fifty and over - who are
primary caretakers for their parents, children, and grandchildren. They will
be facing an uncertain future with one thing for certain - personal and
financial ruin. At the same time, American admitted that it was funding pension
plans for 45 of its top executives. It had also approved retention bonuses
for its senior executives - however - due to the public outcry, it has
abandoned the retention bonus program. Recently, the American Airlines Board of
Directors expelled Don Carty. By anyone´s definition, he left in disgrace
due to his failure to be honest with employees about senior executive pay pa
ckages and incentives.

American Airlines has asked you to believe that all that has
transpired with TWA has been above board and in the open. Can you honestly
believe a corporation in light of its most recent shortcomings? I would hope
not. American has told you that the no one anticipated the tragic events of
September 11. It is one thing to make financial decisions to recover from our
greatest tragedy. It is quite another to capitalize on that event at the
expense of former TWA employees.

Needless to say, we have filed lawsuits against both American and
APFA. Among other grounds, we are suing American Airlines for fraud. The
most recent filing - submitted this week - concerns their concerted effort
to eliminate all former TWA Flight Attendants based in St. Louis.

It should be clear to everyone in this room that when American
Airlines promised two great airlines - one great future - it was a lie.
Instead, it undertook a pattern of activity designed solely to eliminate the
former TWA employees that it once called TWA´s greatest asset.

When American Airlines came to Congress asking for economic help
following the aftermath of September 11, you stood up and gave financial
assistance to the carrier. The assistance American received was based - in part
- on the TWA route structure. When American Airlines sought reimbursement
for security expenses at airports, the money it will be receiving will be based
- in part - on the TWA, LLC operation. At the same time, American has
sought - and received - financial assistance from you - based on what I and my
fellow employees brought to the table, it has thrown us aside arguing that
we should be grateful that we have a job. We have no job. American has
taken our jobs - our routes - our planes - our St. Louis Hub - and has
handed us a pink slip.

I am a taxpayer having paid taxes for more than thirty-five (35)
years. Like almost all Americans, I have gone to work on a daily basis and
performed a meaningful job for my employer. I have expected a fair wage for a
fair day´s worth of work. I have watched my tax dollars be spent on both
social programs and weapons. I have watched my tax dollars be used to assist
troubled corporations and rightfully help the family farmer. I have asked for
nothing in return but that I be treated with decency and fairness. Both of
those are tragically - horribly - missing in the TWA-American Airlines
workforce integration. It has been reported that there is nothing that this
Committee can do to help right this wrong. My question is simple: Why not? We
travel halfway around the world to fight for freedom. At the same time, we
are witness to an incredible injustice in our own backyard only to be told
that it is beyond our control. America is the greatest nation on earth. What
makes it so great is that it has long-championed the rights of individuals.
It has placed its highest value on human life. It realizes that a nation is
best known for how it treats its most vulnerable citizen not its most
powerful. A country prospers because of the everyday citizen - not because of its
CEO´s, Union Presidents, or - even - US Senators. On behalf of the more than
20,000 former TWA employees, I want more than just your sympathy. I want -
and demand - that you honor all that is right about America. Intercede on
our behalf and restore the process to a fair and equitable seniority
integration.
 

LaBradford22

Advanced
May 15, 2003
206
0
Honestly, I sympathize with Cooper and the TWA Flight Attendants, for at least two reasons...

1. Whereas at least some of the TWA pilots were placed above some AA pilots in the seniority integration, all TWA FAs were simply stapled to the bottom of the list. That means a TWA FA who had been flying for 38 years was behind an AA FA with 1 or 2 years. Yeah, I can see how one could look at that and call it unfair.

2. As if being stapled to the bottom of the list and furloughed next month was not enough, the APFA completely sold out these furloughed FAs by giving up their severance pay for credit against the $320 million in negotiations. Basically, the APFA decided that relatively few (the TWA FA furloughees) taking on a lot of pain (no severance) was better than a lot (the AA FAs who would remain on payroll) taking on a little bit of pain (i.e. making one more work rule change). To me, that seems like a pretty low blow.

Legally, I''m not sure if there''s anything the U.S. Senate can or will do about it, but I must admit, something does smell like a rat here. I feel for the TWA FAs about to be furloughed, heck, I feel for all the AA/TWA employees who have already or will soon be without a job. Thoughts and prayers go out to you. I sincerely hope that things turn around and AA can call you back soon.
 

Workingman

Member
Nov 6, 2002
62
0
----------------
On 6/16/2003 1:38:34 PM LaBradford22 wrote:

Honestly, I sympathize with Cooper and the TWA Flight Attendants, for at least two reasons...

1. Whereas at least some of the TWA pilots were placed above some AA pilots in the seniority integration, all TWA FAs were simply stapled to the bottom of the list. That means a TWA FA who had been flying for 38 years was behind an AA FA with 1 or 2 years. Yeah, I can see how one could look at that and call it unfair.

The mechanics were also stapled to the bottom of the list. How many other classes did they staple at the bottom?


2. As if being stapled to the bottom of the list and furloughed next month was not enough, the APFA completely sold out these furloughed FAs by giving up their severance pay for credit against the $320 million in negotiations. Basically, the APFA decided that relatively few (the TWA FA furloughees) taking on a lot of pain (no severance) was better than a lot (the AA FAs who would remain on payroll) taking on a little bit of pain (i.e. making one more work rule change). To me, that seems like a pretty low blow.

What is really a low blow is for AA to hire off the street and not notify the laid off TWA mechanics of the openings. The TWU gave another low blow by saying the laid off mechanics were not part of AA even though the mechanics have an AA employee number and they continue to collect dues from the few remaining TWA mechanics that are still working.

Legally, I''m not sure if there''s anything the U.S. Senate can or will do about it, but I must admit, something does smell like a rat here. I feel for the TWA FAs about to be furloughed, heck, I feel for all the AA/TWA employees who have already or will soon be without a job. Thoughts and prayers go out to you. I sincerely hope that things turn around and AA can call you back soon.

Maybe the Senate can''t do anything but all the laid off TWA mechanics can do something and that is file a class action lawsuit against TWU and AA.


----------------​
Evil reigns when the good people remain silent.
 
Aug 19, 2002
1,062
737
The JFK
www.usaviation.com
On 6/16/2003 3:46:38 PM Workingman wrote:



The mechanics were also stapled to the bottom of the list. How many other classes did they staple at the bottom?


Then how did MCI-E and STL retain 100% occupational?

How about the 25% locations?

That doesn't quite align with your assertion that all were stapled now does it?
 

Buck

Veteran
Contributor
Aug 20, 2002
7,322
1,576
www.fairtax.org
----------------
On 6/16/2003 4:38:39 PM JFK Fleet Service wrote:


On 6/16/2003 3:46:38 PM Workingman wrote:



The mechanics were also stapled to the bottom of the list. How many other classes did they staple at the bottom?


Then how did MCI-E and STL retain 100% occupational?

How about the 25% locations?

That doesn''t quite align with your assertion that all were stapled now does it?








----------------​
No the mechanics were not stapled to the bottom of the list. The case went to arbitration and Mr. Kasher decided how it would be. The decesion for arbitration was based on the TWU contract and Allegheny-Mohawk and accepted by the IAM.
 

twaokc

Senior
Aug 19, 2002
336
0
OKC
John Ward and Don Carty must be brothers. They both know how to lie in front of Congress.
How can any F/A for AA want to be represented by this man? He needs to be kicked out today......
 

Workingman

Member
Nov 6, 2002
62
0
Taken from the Armitration opinion and award of April 29th 2002

"On December 17, 2001 the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and American entered an agreement granting all TWA-LLC flight attendants an occupational seniority date at American of April 10,2001. Later seniority dates would be granted to TWA-LLC employees who had not completed training or who had not commenced flying as of the April 9,2001."

So if they have those seniority dates and are stapled to the bottom it stands to reason that the mechanics with the same occupational seniority dates are also stapled to bottom of their seniority list.

If that is not bad enough AA hires off the street in 2002 while not notifing the laid off mechanics of those openings.
 

AAmech

Veteran
Aug 22, 2002
766
1
While I agree the TWA FA''s got a raw deal that probably won''t hold up to a Courts review, where does Sherry Cooper get off on blaming AA and Don Carty? The unions determine seniority. Period! And Workingman quit your whining. Kasher gave the former TWA mechanics an overly generous deal thats caused a lot of heartburn on the AA side. I''m sure the FA''s would kill for a similar deal!
 

Hopeful

Veteran
Dec 21, 2002
5,998
347
I don''t hear any sympathy for the mechanics at JFK getting laid off while there are a dozen of TWA mechs at JFK enjoying their place in the middle of the seniority list with preferred vacations and shifts.
 

MCI transplant

Veteran
Jun 4, 2003
5,311
587
----------------
On 6/17/2003 10:16:31 AM AAmech wrote:


While I agree the TWA FA''s got a raw deal that probably won''t hold up to a Courts review, where does Sherry Cooper get off on blaming AA and Don Carty?  The unions determine seniority.  Period!  And Workingman quit your whining.  Kasher gave the former TWA mechanics an overly generous deal thats caused a lot of heartburn on the AA side.  I''m sure the FA''s would kill for a similar deal!

----------------​
Now who''s whinning? And you have a Law Degree from Harverd? Well, well, well! As for the Company not being involved in this! Sorry but they have been conspiring with the TWU in this well before the deal was started! Carty showed his colors when he pressured Sen. Bond to drop his proposed "Manditory Arbtration" bill! He through a fit, and threatened to fight it with all the resorces of "American Airlines"!!!As for your opinion of the Kasher ruling, that''s just what it is! Your opinon!!!
There will be no closure!!!!
 

L1011Ret

Veteran
Oct 31, 2002
1,326
0
I wonder what posters here think of the idea that AA can force transfers and regular transfers to a different company, TWA LLC, on a different operating certificate, when the F/A contract says nothing about such issues.
 

TransWorldONE

Advanced
Jun 11, 2003
172
0
www.usaviation.com
I wonder what posters here think of the idea that AA can force transfers and regular transfers to a different company, TWA LLC, on a different operating certificate, when the F/A contract says nothing about such issues.

I''m sure this is something that Sherry "Norma Rae, Erin Brokavich," Cooper is working on.
I''m just glad she''s on the good guys side.