The independent Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing American Airlinespilots has decided to seriously explore a merger with the largest United States national pilots’ union - the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The APA board, on November 11, formed a committee to study the idea, with a final report expected back by Spring 2023.
Independent of ALPA, for now
The Allied Pilots Association is like Southwest Airline Pilots Association (SWAPA) - an independent bargaining agent from the main national pilot’s union. Nonetheless, the pilot’s unions network with each other to improve working conditions.
Now that the resolution has passed, there will be an initial APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee that will be tasked with investigating issues related to the matter. Issues for the committee to review include, but are not limited to, benefit plans, financial impacts, governance issues, and seniority.
The resolution states if the final report is received on time at the Spring 2023 board of directors meeting, then the APA Board of Directors should vote. It will take a 2/3rds vote of the APA Board of Directors to negotiate a merger agreement with ALPA for Board review.
There exists a group of grassroots boosters for a merger in “AA Pilots for ALPA”. The group of American Airlines pilots is pushing for this in the name of gaining better resources to help with bargaining with American Airlines’ management.
AA Pilots for ALPA interviewed Captain David Webb (Retired) who helped bring the then-independent Federal Express (FedEx) pilots union back to ALPA. Webb said,
“There is no question that the resources and assistance we received as an ALPA property were superior to what we could have done alone. The plethora of experienced staff at ALPA were instrumental in the preparation of openers, the evaluation of the financial stability of our employer, the analysis of risk to our exiting retirement and insurance benefits.
“Additionally, the communication staff worked diligently to assist us in making extremely complex issues understandable for all our pilots. Coupled with the extraordinary unity demonstrated by the pilots before and during the negotiations, we were positioned to win.”
Webb went on to amplify the need for pilot unity being the driving force. The union would merge, not be acquired; therefore APA could retain staff and dignity.
According to a recent Zoom call, AA Pilots for ALPA had another reason why they support a merger. That is ALPA's on-staff labor negotiators that can fly in and help the locals negotiate a contract with management. ALPA also has economic analysts on staff as well as trained communications professionals.
Furthermore, for AA Pilots for ALPA,
We have established that the pilots of American Airlines deserve to belong to the world’s largest and most effective pilot union; joining ALPA would ensure the future of our pilots’ representation, give us a bigger voice in global industry issues, and provide our representatives and staff with the tools and guardrails they need to be successful.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying