Pilots object to terms of merger - East Valley Tribune: Business

Pilots object to terms of merger

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Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2005 7:35 am | Updated: 9:32 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

ARLINGTON, Va. - The union representing pilots at US Airways and America West filed an objection Friday to a provision in the airlines’ proposed merger that the union believes would limit its ability to contest the merger.

The motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by the Air Line Pilots Association is not an objection to the merger itself but seeks to preserve the union’s rights as the merger moves forward.

A judge will hear arguments on the issue Tuesday, when he is expected to establish a framework and timeline for approval of the proposed merger between the nation’s seventh- and eighth-largest airlines.

The association said a provision sought by the airlines would unfairly prevent them or anybody else from taking action to prevent the merger while the approval process is under way.

‘‘Persons are entitled to take any legal action to protect their rights, including . . . the transactions contemplated in accordance with the Merger Agreement,’’ said association lawyer Richard Seltzer.

When the two airlines announced their merger plans last week, the executives acknowledged that one of the challenges they faced would be merging their pilot groups. Nearly all US Airways pilots have greater seniority than pilots at Tempe-based America West, so many pilots at America West are worried that they could find themselves losing out in a merged company.

JR Baker, chairman of the association’s America West unit, issued a statement when the merger was announced that integrating the lists based on seniority would be viewed ‘‘as a completely unworkable solution for the America West pilots.’’

Jack Stephan, spokesman for the association’s US Airways unit, said Friday that the pilots’ filing in bankruptcy court was not an indication that the union has any plans to try to scuttle the merger.

‘‘We’re not objecting to the merger. We’re just stating that we’re not waiving any of the rights we enjoy in collective bargaining,’’ he said.

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