It is said History repeats itself! Mistakes can repeat too, if something is not learned the first time.
A brief history of the American Airlines pilots' contribution to solid unionism may be helpful in understanding your roots, and why the Allied Pilots Association now represents you.
Prior to the 1930s, there was no protection at all for pilots. They were at the mercy of Company management who would fire them at will. They were pushed to fly in weather against their better judgement. They sometimes had to fly more than 120 hours a month. The pay was ridiculously low. It was cut even further when the job market could provide enough pilots willing to work for less. Not many dared speak up. If they did, they were fired.
David L. Behncke, a great leader and a pilot's pilot, was the founder of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). In 1930, he swore a small group of pilots to secrecy and they met to set up an organization. They would have been fired if their names became known. Officially and publicly, ALPA was born April 1, 1931.
The AAL pilots were well-represented among the key men and founders. Their stories of the early days, the hardships and sacrifices, the many problems to overcome, the guts it took to survive, would fill volumes. Many of these pilots were still flying on AAL in the forties and fifties. Knowing them, flying with them, learning first hand of their experiences, was a stirring influence. Six of the twelve pilots who signed the formal copy of the ALPA's AF of L International Charter were AAL.
Soon after its formation ALPA would be tested. In the midst of the depression, E. L. Cord, owner of Century Airlines, began cutting salaries. In February 1932, the first airline strike was called. The pilots stood fast and, after many months, prevailed. Through stock manipulation, E. L. Cord would later gain effective control of American. He placed C. R. Smith in charge of operations. Pilots closed ranks.
Early in September of 1933, airline operators formally announced they were instituting a new lower pay system; ALPA be damned. They also wanted pilots to fly up to 140 hours per month, 160 hours for copilots. Behncke threatened a national strike. It was a desperate gamble, one which would have destroyed ALPA if it had actually come off and was lost. The National Labor Board (NLB) agreed to take on the airline pay dispute. The strike was called off.
After the crisis, Behncke admitted that if there had been a strike, ALPA would be finished. He also said: "I believe American Airways was the best balanced. They were pretty much together, and I believe they would have walked out to the last man. TWA would have collapsed completely, and I know that on United everything south and east of Chicago would have gone out, and west of Chicago it would have been just about half. The only way you can keep a striking element in line is to keep them informed. I figured it would cost $1,000 a day to conduct a strike, and our treasury had $5,000, so we would have lasted about five days. After that, our communications would have been cut, we would have been completely broken." Behncke carefully laid plans to enhance and secure the professional status of all pilots including their working conditions and overall safety.
Behncke's plan required protective Federal legislation to set safety rules, minimum salaries, and flight time limitations. He used clever public relations and political savvy. His many contacts with politicians were of great help. The fight went on through the period of the airmail cancellations of 1934 when one third of ALPA's membership was out of work. This led to Decision 83.
NLB hearings in 1934 before Judge Bernard Shintag of the New York State Supreme Court resulted in a decision which became the basic cornerstone of how first pilots should be paid. Copilots were rather overlooked. It did set the monthly maximum flight time at 85 actual hours. This was a real victory for Behncke.
Decision 83 written, by reference, into the Airmail Act of 1934 was without real legal standing. It became law in 1938 as part of the Civil Aeronautics Act. The next step was to be included under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) for a means of settling disputes. Behncke, with foresight, knew that without improving the formula, pilots would not share in productivity gains from newer, faster, heavier equipment. This problem would be tackled later, as would Behncke's constant pleas for more consideration for copilots, which up to now had gone unanswered.
The American pilots has always been Behncke's tough guys. His solid supporters. They were the first to organize 100%, and the first to negotiate a contract in May of 1939. They were called "the Rock on which ALPA was built." The first seniority list on AAL in November of that year showed 309 names. Eastern did not sign their contract until two years later. The last of the major carriers' contract to be signed was not until 1945 on Pan American.
Things were rather quiet in ALPA until after the war. Patriotically, the maximum flying hour limitation was increased from 85 to 100. The number of ALPA members increased from 1,400 in 1940 to 5,730 at the end of World Ward II. 90% of all airline pilots were members. American doubled its number to over 1,200 pilots.
The President of American Airlines, Ralph Damon, (C. R. Smith was made a General during the war) gave us his written word on December 3, 1945, that "in order to place four-engined aircraft into operation as promptly as possible, and to do so without harming the rights of either party, we will expect our pilots to fly such equipment under the pay rates applicable in our domestic pilot's agreement during negotiations, and we pledge the settlement of the question of pay for pilots of four-engined aircraft retroactive to the date such aircraft were first placed into scheduled operation." They repudiated their word during negotiations that had begun in 1945. We began mediation on January 7, 1946. The company had DC-4s which had been operated on our overseas contract operation, but now were assigned back to domestic. The trouble began.
In 1944, we copilots had only ½ a vote in ALPA and were limited as to what offices could be held. Prior to 1939 they had no vote We were still "second class citizens" for sure. We had to change the situation in ALPA before we could hope to catch up pay-wise. Most senior pilots in ALPA considered copilots only apprentices, as did the Chairman of our own Negotiating Committee, W. H. Proctor.
Since 1934, Dave Behncke had done all he could to help the copilot's cause and was in our corner. Our Master Executive Council (MEC), similar to the Board of Directors of APA, decided to beef up the copilot representation on our Negotiating Committee. I was added as a member in 1945. Much time was spent at the home office in Chicago talking with Dave about all the problems. He had had a crash landing in 1934 and landed in a tree. Ten years later almost to the day, my DC-3, after a mid-air collision, landed in a snow bank. He had also been a test pilot. We had a lot in common.
TWA was the most advanced through the steps in the RLA in 1946. They had completed direct negotiations and mediation, turned down arbitration, so finally a Presidential Emergency Board was appointed by Harry Truman.
The Board's report was confusing and unclear. They refused to interpret their own findings. ALPA's comment in rejecting the report said: "Never in the history of RLA has there been a more marked failure to settle any dispute." The pilots of TWA were forced to strike on October 21, 1946. On November 16, the strike ended after three weeks with an agreement to arbitrate. (George Spater represented TWA, a senior TWA pilot for ALPA, and a neutral, F. M. Swaker.) After agreement by the parties, the judge reviewed the copilots settlement and said "you sure screwed them."
The TWA settlement did little to advance negotiation on AAL, as we were now faced with the Company's determination for industry-wide bargaining, which Behncke would have nothing to do with. Still no help for copilots.
The 1946 ALPA Convention, its ninth, was convened February 18 to 24, 1947 in Chicago. The TWA affair and Behncke's health problems contributed to the delay. There was a surprise in store because Proctor of AAL came from the floor running for President of the Association against Dave Behncke. Proctor did not have all of our senior captains backing him, and certainly got very few of those ½ votes.
Our copilot problems would have to wait until the 1948 Convention when we got the full vote, but only after four years of service. At the next Convention, in 1950, the full vote would be obtained for all. Hopefully, no more discrimination within ALPA after that, but more patience would be required in securing our pay and benefits from the Company.
Behncke made another plea for copilots: "Special consideration should be given the copilots" he told the company, "for four important reasons: 1) copilots are a vital and important part of the pilot-copilot team; 2) they are in the status of copilot for a much longer period of time now than formerly; 3) the copilots have had too little pay for too long a period of time, and; 4) greater skill and responsibility requirements of flying the larger and faster equipment must be and is shared by the copilot."
We were in mediation for more than a year with our first contract after the war, and it was not signed until April 18, 1947. We had to battle the industry-wide bargaining ploy headed by Ralph Damon, acting as Chairman of the Airlines Negotiating Conference. We had been saddled with the TWA copilots settlement and could do little about it. The captains did a bit better, but at least we all returned to the 85 hour maximum month. The industry had fought hard to retain the 100 hour maximum after the war. They forgot their promises.
American began what they called a "screening" program. It was suppose to take another look at the pilots who were hired during the war, some with minimum qualifications, although they were well past probation. It turned out to be designed as a "washout" program, not just for copilots, but for some very senior captains as well. Captain Wayne Allison of our System Board, with Behncke's strong support, turned this into a humiliating defeat for the Company. Nobody was fired except Allison, at a later date.
After the war, American had purchased American Overseas Airlines for their European routes. The pilots gave C. R. Smith such a hard time concerning the merging of seniority lists that he finally sold the routes to Pan American.
The 1948 negotiations were concluded on July 17 after five months of negotiations, during the Mediatory Process. This time, we had strong support from the captain members of the Committee. Important gains were made for copilots in working conditions and some in flat pay increases. The most welcome change was to be able to bid "trips" on the same basis as captains. This was a first! Rules were added for copilot qualification on equipment, protection of base seniority, moving expenses, sick leave, meal expenses, and vacation allotments. The problems on AAL were much more acute than on other airlines. We were the largest and had lots of big plans, with more coming fast. The pilots were regrouping as a solid force. There had been massive furloughs on AAL in the late forties and we were hurting.
Dave Behncke had spent many days and weeks working closely with us during these negotiations. He was well known as a skilled negotiator. We had time to learn much about him, and from him: technique and strategy; leadership and determination; patience and timing; wait for the right opportunity; seize the initiative; hold on like a bulldog in your own best interests; know when the iron is hot! It was said about him: "he never gives up fighting, but a defeat today, only prolongs the battle, for he will be back to fight another day." Solid support is essential and necessary. Things we never forgot.
The Airline Pilot Magazine of March 1949, carried an article by Dave Behncke saying: "Technological unemployment is quite visible here, probably most notably on American Airlines whose large, faster, and more productive equipment has resulted in the reduction of pilot personnel from 1,265 to 753 without any reduction in route mileage. On other airlines the trend is the same. Out of necessity the airline pilots will soon project a realistic plan to meet this situation which will inevitably become industry-wide." The September 1949 issue contained these words: "The selfsame situation is unmistakably being evidenced in 1949 as was so clearly evidenced in 1934 and it remains for the same group to do something about it in 1949 as met the issue so staunchly and so unflinchingly in 1934." Further on quoting from the preamble to the actual Decision 83 by Judge Shintag, dated May 10, 1934: "If pilots were to fly in the future the same number of hours as in the past and were paid on the same monthly basis, their monthly earnings would be greatly increased. Similarly, were the mileage basis to be continued and the hours of actual flying reduced, there would be no change in monthly earnings, notwithstanding the sharp reduction in monthly hours." The article ends with "The airline pilots have been patient, but their patience like the sand in the hour glass of time, has run out and now there must be a change and the work 'must' is all significant."
Mileage Limitation, Mileage Increase Determination, whatever terminology was used at the time, meant only one thing - a reduction in the number of flying hours per month with no loss in pay. It was intended to mitigate the effects of the more productive, faster equipment, now and in the future. The idea was scoffed at, not only by airline managements as unnecessary at this time, but by some senior pilots of other airlines as impossible of attainment. It might cost them an opportunity to advance their own earnings.
Our contract was amendable on July 1, 1949. It took 28 months to reach an agreement. We had direct negotiations, mediation, arbitration rejected by the Company, strike date set, and a Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Truman on January 13, 1951. David L. Cole was appointed Chairman. We encountered every conceivable delay along the way. We had to negotiate a Korean airlift agreement on short notice. We had to threaten not to train on or fly the new DC-6 B, arriving soon. This latter problem was ultimately given to the Cole Board for resolution.
The major issues on AAL had been reduced hours and copilot pay. The reduced hours were denied as well as a pay increase for first pilots. Our captains were content to receive the same pay for the reduced hours, and had not asked for an increase. That was the Board's reasoning for denial. It did find, however, that when the Company ordered planes with a speed of more than 325 MPH that a study should be made to determine the effects it would have on unemployment. The copilot's pay findings were very good. The Board recommended incentive pay on the same type formula as first pilots; equipment differential for the first time, that after two years copilots be paid 55% of captain's flight pay. The Board issued its finding on May 25, 1951. It would take until November to finally arrive at an agreement satisfactory to all pilots.
The copilots, with Behncke's help, and because of actions taken at the 1950 Convention, were now at full voting parity. The makeup of the Executive Board was reduced in size so that only one member from each airline would represent the whole group. A captain and a copilot would alternate years. The year 1951 saw copilots representing all the pilots of the two largest airlines, AAL and UAL.
Behncke was working closely with us on our presentation before the Board in New York, while trouble was brewing back at Headquarters in Chicago. Clancy Sayen, a Braniff copilot, had been made Executive Vice President of ALPA at the 1947 Convention. During our hearings, he was directed to handle the staff problems which were getting out of hand. They insisted on their own union within a union. A committee of senior captains, not American, got in the act. Together with Sayen, staff members, and the outside legal counsel for ALPA, they were quite formidable. While our hearings were in full swing, Behncke was forced to return to Chicago. That was the first step toward his ouster as President of ALPA. Political power was being utilized to the fullest. The ultimatum to Behncke was much the same as that which the AAL pilots would receive in 1962. They sent Sayen and a watchdog committee to New York to make sure our hearings continued as they wished. We were shot down!
Usually, personal friends can unite to fight common problems but with the political charged atmosphere of the "Behncke Barbeque," as it was called, we were poles apart. Each airline group is normally loyal to the best interests of its own airline, i.e., team spirit, right or wrong, informed or not. This time, the senior "heavyweights" from other big airlines had it well-orchestrated. They were good. When the Executive Board was called into session on June 12, recessed to July 12, 1951, the staff fronted for the movement. The second act for Behncke's demise would soon begin.
The Executive Board represented some fifty airlines in ALPA. When in session, each airline had only one vote, unlike the Board of Directors who when in session (Convention), voted their entire membership. Under the By-Laws, the Executive Board was simply an advisory committee. Six small airlines with only a handful of pilots could negate the vote of six of the largest airlines with 90% of the membership. Only 20 representatives were present on June 12. The purpose of the meeting was supposedly to discuss the Cole Board decision on AAL. That discussion never took place. The thrust immediately turned to an attack on Behncke personally, and why he should not be allowed to continue as President of ALPA. The staff was allowed to take over and the massacre was on. The senior "big guns" made sure of the outcome.
While we went back to our negotiations to rectify the gross inequity of the first pilot pay recommendations of the Cole Board, Behncke was in the fight of his life. He still managed to give us every support in our endeavor, even while the so-called "revolutionaries" were organizing an intensive campaign against him. They stole membership mailing lists from Headquarters and grubbed up every farfetched bit of dirty linen they could imagine.
A special meeting of the Board of Directors to meet in Convention was hastily called for July 16, 1951. Under the By-Laws, this was the only group who could recall Behncke. Most of the Board arrived totally uninformed, but were soon set straight by the revolutionaries. Behncke was recalled and Clancy Sayen put in as President. This did not stop Behncke's struggle for survival. The legalities of the tactics used, some very questionable, were taken to court. The legal battles continued for over a year. Behncke put up one hell of a fight. At one time, the group supposedly in charge attempted to set up a new pilots union called Air Transport Association. The end was near.
Our negotiations continued while ALPA's legal entanglements played out. AAL was adamant in following the Cole Board's recommendations precisely. In a letter to all pilots on September 17, 1951, C. R. Smith stated: "In the meantime, ALPA has made an agreement with Eastern Airlines. That agreement says, in net effect, that the position of ALPA is that the money should be divided between the copilot and the first pilot; that ALPA is willing to accept less for the copilot if the first pilots also receives an increase." The letter further stated the position of the Company: "If ALPA insists on a substantial increase for the first pilots, there should be an opportunity to reevaluate the copilot scale, and the relationship between compensation for the first pilot and copilot. (This was evidently ALPA policy in the Eastern Airlines agreement.)" We on the Negotiating Committee did not find ourselves in a very comfortable situation. We were had, again! The captains on AAL had helped us in 1948 and we were not going to let them down this time. Nothing was going to destroy our solidarity. The copilots did get formula type pay and equipment differential, but not 55%. Captains did get their raises. Probably the only time we ever gave anything back. We would later recoup that and more. The agreement was signed on November 5, 1951. Improvements in the working conditions area included 48's, maximum duty times, and minimum off duty breaks.
Sayen had taken over ALPA and set up the regularly scheduled 1952 Convention for October 8. Behncke had lost his last fight. He was tired, sick and alone, almost. He was pressured to resign but he never admitted that the "rump" sessions were either legal or binding. The Behncke era was finished. Six months later he died, most old timers believed, of a "broken heart." ALPA would never be the same again. The AAL pilots' influence within ALPA would not be either. We tried for ten years but never made it.
H. Bart Cox, a well respected AAL pilot, challenged Sayen for the Presidency at the 1952 Convention. Unlike Proctor, he had the wholehearted support of all of us. He lost to the "power block" behind Sayen. The "lip service" paid to "democratizing" ALPA would only solidify that power behind the throne. They controlled the Super Weapons: communications and committee appointments.
The 1953 contract negotiations on AAL headed by Wylie Drummond, as Chairman of the Committee, secured improvements for copilots. They were tied directly to first pilot pay in all respects, by a fixed percentage. This would make future negotiations easier. The Company could no longer play one group against the other. There were improvements for all pilots in working conditions and benefits; pay for all exceeded industry standards.
1954 brought another crisis down on AAL. We had the DC-7 nonstop coast-to-coast flight which could not be flown westbound under eight hours. The eight hour rule stemmed back to 1931. The Company was flagrantly violating the rule, as did TWA and UAL. When American and the industry attempted to get the rules changed in Washington and continued to operate the trips over eight hours with no consideration of the pilot concern over violation of long-standing rules, the pilots revolted. Although all three airlines took strike votes, it was scheduled only on American. The strike started on August 1. AAL pilots were rock solid. This was the first strike on AAL and we lost it. The Company brought actions in court against ALPA. There was the weak link. The strike was terminated by Headquarters on August 21, which led to the submission to the Neutral, David Cole, of the issues raised in this controversy. Reference his Interim Report and Preliminary Recommendations of October 25, 1954:
- For all flight hours scheduled in excess of eight, the pilots be given a credit for all purposes as to both pay and flight time, of twice the amount of these excess hours;
- That an additional pilot be assigned to such flights qualified to relieve part of the time the captain, the copilot, and the flight engineer.
These were listed as two of the possible terms or conditions to be applied to the nonstop flights scheduled in excess of eight hours. Neither one of these recommendations were included in the settlement. Only the time over eight hours was paid on the basis of $1.50 an hour for first pilots and $1.00 an hour for copilots. One and one half pay for overtime versus the two for one recommended. There would be no additional crew member. Pilots thought the principle had been sold out for a pittance, after such a strong stand by AAL pilots.
A letter to the President of ALPA, by a TWA pilot sometime later, expressed it well: "When the eight hour nonstop agreement was signed on AAL a number of years ago, many of AAL's pilots felt they had been sold down the river. There were pilots on other carriers who felt equally strong about the eight hour rule. For reasons which you know as well as I, we lost the eight hour fight."
The negotiations, which began late 1955, were significant in the fact that it was the first contract on AAL to be signed in direct negotiations with our Company without the intervention of the Mediation Board or a neutral. It did take 14 months to complete, but there were many new benefits: Pay increases for first pilots; 2% added to the copilot relationship; full retroactivity; a duty time formula; reassignment protection; and improvements in most all benefit related areas. Working conditions had been targeted as a "must" item for improvement. Retirement was another critical item that had to be addressed. Improvements were made there too, adding a "B" or variable fund to the Company plan. Two of the negotiators on that committee were pilots who will be heard from many times again, Paul G. Atkins and Nicholas J. O'Connell, Jr.
The 1956 ALPA Convention was held in Chicago, November 5 through 12. Wylie Drummond, a previous negotiator and Master Chairman on AAL, was enthusiastically endorsed to run against Clancy Sayen for the Presidency of ALPA. Drummond came close, but the usual opposition was effective. A previous Master Chairman said it correctly: "The AAL pilots' previous dominance produced something of a backlash that manifested itself by the late 1940s in an almost automatic anti-AAL voting block in most Conventions." Wayne Allison, who had done so much for the AAL pilots back in 1947, had been fired because of a long-standing vendetta by top management. Despite pleas by Drummond and our entire group for consideration of his case, the Convention washed its hands of the affair. Sayen's well-known attempts to undermine and go around the AAL pilots' elected representatives did not set well with the rank and file. Our Master Chairman, Gene Seal, said some rather unkind things about Sayen. It was only what most of our pilots wanted to express themselves, and did whenever they had the opportunity. This tenuous relationship carried over to our next negotiations.
In 1956, AAL purchased procedural trainers for simulator type training for which we had no contractual provision. UAL had such an agreement covering simulators as a result of their pilots refusing training. That hard stand had accomplished for them what we needed. Our MEC gave the Negotiating Committee a mandate to secure such coverage before any pilot of AAL would take the training.
A message contrary to what was requested was sent out of the home office to all AAL pilots. Take the training but under protest. It went out over my signature as Chairman of the Committee. No such authorization was ever given or for the use of my name. We demanded a retraction and the proper instructions were then sent out. We had a tough group on the Negotiating Committee and made it clear to Headquarters that they were not running our show. American later sold the trainers without them ever being used. That was only round one. Before a new basic contract would be agreed to for 1957, there would be other disagreements with Headquarters, all steps of the RLA, a Presidential Emergency Board, and a strike. We won that one, although we went through another 18 months of battling on all fronts.
Our main thrust in this negotiation was for a quick contract with few open issues. We wanted our turn at bat. Money for present equipment was the major item. New or different approaches to industry problems would not be tried on AAL at this time. For pilot solidarity, we sent frequent Bulletins so that everyone was kept fully informed of all the facts and happenings. The Company's insistence on enlarging the issues created much delay. Jets were still down the road in 1957, but Sayen wanted us to include the crew complement issue as part of any settlement. This we refused to do. Several other airlines soon concluded agreements on present equipment and soared past us in pay and working conditions.
Our position: pay and working conditions on equipment we are now flying and implemented first. Then, work on the preparation, discussion and negotiations concerning jets. We had been through several steps of the RLA, and did not want to repeat the built-in delays of the Act. Of course the thorny crew complement issue was in Sayen's mind, and he did not agree with our approach. We liked our timing, the right opportunity for reduced hours would not be until later. We would not agree to compromise our legal position. We had pressures from the Company, the National Mediation Board, and from ALPA. We had to hang tough!
A strike date was initially set for April 16, 1958. A Presidential Emergency Board was created on June 19, 1958, James J. Healey, Chairman. Although the Board found that the problem of turbine powered equipment was not a part of this controversy, it also found that the jet issue should be "faced up to." It recommended further negotiations. The Board's final report was not issued until September 3, 1958. We had, up to this time, been through at least four Mediatory Sessions. We refused any arbitration. We had learned that lesson. We took strong objections to the Company's "Positive Pay Plan," which was an attempt to do away with the increment pay system built up over the years. Each of their proposals grew regressively worse, and more arbitrary. American had announced a proposed merger with Eastern Airlines, which was a topic of discussion at ALPA's 15th Biennial Convention in Miami, Florida from November 3 to 9, 1958.
Our MEC was becoming very demanding of a strike date. It was finally set for November 25, 1958. Paul Atkins, the new Master Chairman on AAL, and myself, worked very hard on Sayen for the date. He was reluctant. The Company secured an injunction in court against the strike, which meant further delay. We were released from that on December 9.
There was a mutual assistance pact in the picture at this time among the large airlines. Under its terms, if one airline lost money during a work stoppage, the others would make up for some of that loss. ALPA, of course, would fight this arrangement. It smacked of the old Industry Wide Bargaining Ploy. There had been a previous strike on Capital Airlines by the flight engineers. This was happening on other airlines as well. Eastern Airlines flight engineers struck the Company on November 24, 1958. The Board of Directors voted strike benefits for those pilots with the reasoning that they were out because they were protecting ALPA policy on Crew Complement. The Executive Committee composed of all National Officers and five regional Vice Presidents, did not appreciate the AAL pilot situation. The Boeing 707s were sitting on the AAL ramp and pilots were being threatened to take training. We were to be first domestically to fly them. This was our opportunity!
The Company's strategy was to bargain jets against our present equipment, a losing proposition. We had no alternative but to stick to our guns. After several more days of everybody trying to get into the act, there were attempts to go around the Negotiating Committee. We met with the Company in the presence of Leverett Edwards, Chairman of the National Mediation Board. The attempt for any last minute "give" on the part of the Company was futile. The strike at one minute to midnight on Friday, December 19, was on. The AAL pilots would receive no strike benefits from ALPA during this strike!
The AAL pilots, 1,491 in number, did everything just right. They had a long wait but they were solidly there when we needed them. Our MEC was called into Washington, available and ready at all times, while the Negotiating Committee wrestled with the Company and the NMB, and some of the Executive Committee's interference, which was aided by the chief Council of the Association. Twenty-two days after the strike began, we had a contract on January 10, 1959, and a back to work agreement. We had broken new ground in several areas.
American agreed to three qualified pilots on our 707s "plus" a Professional Engineer, a crew of four. That solved two problems; (1) we would take care of any pilot layoffs, and (2) we had provided ALPA with a way to avoid all the unpleasantness with the flight engineers while conforming to ALPA policy. PAA, EAL, TWA soon followed by adopting the four man crew concept. We also obtained the highest rates of pay in the industry on present and future equipment, fully retroactive, the top copilot pay raised to 63% of captain pay. Working conditions, duty time, and away from home relationship credits comparable to the best negotiated anywhere. All credited hours would count toward the 85 hour maximum month. The Company agreed, as a condition of going back to work, that they would honor System Board decisions, past and future. This was a sticky point that, by itself, could have caused another strike action.
Our foot in the door for reduced hours was particularly important. Pilots flying jet aircraft could opt for 75 hours if they so desired. We had won a big one. The solidarity of the AAL pilots made possible the biggest gains ever accomplished in any one negotiation. It would be to the benefit of all pilots in the Association, but certain political concerns within ALPA did not find the AAL approach acceptable. Two intangibles were established: AAL management was now aware they would have to deal directly with the elected AAL pilot representatives; ALPA could not push us around forever.
The next round of negotiations would be most interesting. The contract was amendable July 21, 1960. It would take over three years to accomplish. ALPA would not be the representing organization to sign it. They had thrown five of the AAL pilots out of that organization. The MEC and the vast majority, over 90% of the AAL pilot group, felt thrown out too.
Future history will have to judge where the wisest decisions were made and by whom. It is ironic, however, that the men of great influence within ALPA were still there making the decisions at that time. They were the so-called "big guns" and visionaries of the future who made policy for ALPA. They were from Braniff, Continental, National, Pan American and especially Eastern, which had the largest number and had more say and control.
The five members who would be expelled for life from ALPA in 1963 were Nick O'Connell, Paul Atkins, Bob Guba, Joe Garvey, and Dick Lyons.