The threat of a strike is normally the most effective weapon we have. The strike itself can be a double-edged sword, anticlimactic! (The Air Traffic Controllers learned that 10 years ago.) When forced into it, and we were in 1958, we had to go for broke. We gave it everything we had. First we made damn sure the troops were solidly behind us and that our chances of winning were good, real good. The pilots are the only group that can shut an airline down completely.
We were not only successful contractually in 1958-1959 but also in the sense that there was a marked change in the attitude of the Company. C. R. Smith, the President of American Airlines, a guest of the AAL MEC and Negotiating committee on July 22, 1959 said:
"Our basic respect and affection for the Pilots of American should not be in doubt. It is easy and pleasant to recall the earlier days of air transportation, when the majority of our employees were either Pilots or Mechanics, and when we welcomed the opportunity to work together. Those were the really pleasant days in this business, and we should do our best to bring back the spirit which made them pleasant.
I early formed the conclusion, and I have the same opinion today, that the privilege of friendship with the Pilots of American is one of the most refreshing experiences which can come from association with this business.
We have not done well in our mutual relationship of late. We have drifted apart and we have become critical of each other. We have often failed to give the other credit for honest intention. It would be well for us to do better, because it would make our own work more enjoyable and it would provide a better opportunity for us and for our Company. We have wasted too much of our time quarreling with each other. While we have quarreled, our competitors have profited from our lack of attention to the business. That we cannot afford.
The forthcoming competitive situation is gong to end up with some financial wrecks. We want to make sure that American will come out in one piece. The days ahead deserve and require the best of our attention, and if American is to succeed, it would be well for us to go down the line together.
Life is short and we should have some pleasure from it. Those who work deserve at least two things: 1. Pay for their work, with which to pay the bills; 2. The pleasure of association and accomplishment, coming from the work of the day.
It is difficult to have pleasure from the work unless there is respect for the Company with which you are associated. If you feel obligated to knock your employer at the beginning of the day, that day is not likely to turn out to be a pleasant one. You should have respect for your Company, a pride in what it is doing and a feeling of respect for your associates.
There is an equal obligation that your associates should have respect for you. None of these things can be enforced, but they will come readily if they are deserved. We want the Pilots of American to work in an atmosphere of confidence and respect. They deserve that, they should have that and we will do our best to bring it about.
Our meetings with you during the week have been refreshing. They are going in the right direction. This could be the opening of a period of new and better relationship, and I hope that it is. Whether or not this can and will come about depends largely on our willingness and ability to put into practice the splendid objectives which we have discussed together. You can count on it that American will do its part and I am sure that you will do equally well."
Pilots can fight their Companies bitterly, but when it is over, extend their best efforts to enhance the overall welfare of their Companies. We always did that on AAL. It makes real good sense, as our fortunes are so closely entwined.
There were several negotiating sessions in 1959 and 1960 after the strike to handle the many interim problems that arose. We needed supplemental agreements to cover assignment and training on the jet equipment; second officer rules, duties, and training; equipment lock-ins; refinements and improvements to our "E" and "F" rules and credit application; procedures for the closing of two of our bases; copilot bumping rights; rules covering the interchange with Delta Airlines; DC-8 rates of pay; and a "freeze" for the pilots who would be trained on that equipment.
The atmosphere in which our interim negotiations were conducted and concluded reminded us of the "good old days" on American when we could say: We work for "America's leading airline," and deserve the best contract. We had every confidence in our pilots' ability to retain that leadership and respect. They exhibited true professionalism. The opportunities were present to stay ahead of the pack.
On August 1, 1959, one whole year before our contract would be amendable, we negotiated a pay increase and rules improvements which made us again "first" in the industry. All this on our own. The contract was extended to June 1, 1961. Sayen could not prevent it. Other airlines had signed contracts subsequent to ours using us as a springboard. They historically scheduled their contract dates to fall after ours. They made some gains. This time we made it work for us.
We scored no points with the Executive Committee of ALPA. Back when our first strike date was set on April 16, 1958, and we were voted strike benefits, we were aware of their insistent interference in our negotiations. The Executive Committee, being composed of very competitive and politically motivated pilots of other airlines, felt we should toe their mark and function at their direction. They did not relish American or the American pilots being out in front. This is how it was in the power group's arena. Everyone for their own airline's interest. In some cases, for their own prestige. They were liable of being pressured or rewarded by their Company for undermining the competition. Some later assumed management positions.
Our Master Chairman, Gene Seal, in early 1958 had asked the AAL membership for their thinking concerning negotiations. He wrote a letter covering the responses on March 24, 1958. He included some of his personal observations and copied the MEC and Negotiating Committee. The recent substandard contract on National Airlines was mentioned, the adverse effects it could have on us, and the mess the Association was creating by its crew complement policies. He observed that problems would follow and effect many airlines. His analysis would prove prophetic. His letter in conclusion recommended: "Continue our attempt to establish a strike date to obtain an adjustment of rates, rules, and working conditions on present equipment," and "we call an early convention to establish ALPA policy of a reduction in hours on the jets and resolve the flight engineer problem."
The Master Chairman of EAL and DAL brought charges against our Master Chairman in May of 1958 because of the letter. They demanded that he be expelled from ALPA. They further requested that his hearing be held before the Executive Committee. This was against Association policy, as that stated such hearing be handled by local base officers. Following all this, one of the regional vice presidents from another airline sent Sayen a letter of resignation.
"In view of grave personal misgivings concerning the matter of implementation of our policy regarding the third crew member on turbine driven aircraft, I feel I am no longer in a position to properly act as an officer of the Association, therefore I wish to return to my previous status of active member in good standing.
I would like to make one point clear - I do not differ with our basic policy on this matter and subscribe whole-heartedly to its purpose and intent. I do think however, that like the Supreme Court ruling on integration, the implementation must proceed in accordance with the principles of wisdom, justice, integrity and tolerance.
It is my feeling that in some areas a certain amount of brainwashing and thought control is being exercised. I also feel there has been complete neglect and disregard of intelligent minority thinking, and a continuing suppression of all forms of divergent opinion. Perhaps this has to be, but I find myself unable to subscribe to this approach to our problems.
I hereby tender my resignation as ALPA Vice-President, Region IV to become effective immediately on receipt of this letter."
Our MEC passed the following resolution:
"WHEREAS, it is the opinion of this MEC that such charges are unwarranted, without proper foundation, and serve only to undermine the relationship of all pilot groups - lending itself to some purpose not spelled out in such charges, and
WHEREAS, Mr. Seal is the duly elected Chairman of this MEC, we feel that any charge against Mr. Seal is not a charge against an individual, but a charge against the entire AAL pilot group,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this MEC gives their unqualified support to Mr. Seal regarding such charges and that any further action by any individual or group against a Master Chairman on AAL will be dealt with as an attack on the entire AAL pilot body."
One of our pilots wrote to Hopkins and Sheridan:
"Your 'preferring charges' letters of May 1 and May 6 against our Master Chairman Seal are masterpieces of ALPA Politics.
Our Mr. Seal, a Master Chairman with initiative and backbone, is truly representative of all his American Airlines fellow pilots. He has my wholehearted support. He is well thought of by other AAL pilots, both Captains and Copilots, met daily over our system and I am sure the majority of all the American Airlines pilots support his actions as do I, a 24 year pilot and ALPA member.
It might be pointed out that some of your own EAL and Delta pilots, in conversation with AAL pilots, at home and abroad, voice similar opinions as I.
It is my opinion that you would represent your own constituents better by dealing with your own problems rather than being led afield."
Gene was with us all the way, helping to obtain an early strike date. On his request, after the 1958 Convention, he was succeeded as Master Chairman by Paul G. Atkins from our Committee.
The Executive Committee had injected itself into our negotiations in early January of 1958. By resolution, they told us in effect we had to negotiate "Jets" and crew complement. Board members from UAL and PAA so advised the AAL Negotiating Committee in no uncertain terms.
When we had our next meeting with the mediator from the National Mediation Board on January 15, he asked us whether or not we had the benefit of the conferences of the previous two weeks between Mr. Sayen and Mr. Kayser. Kayser was the Vice President of Personnel from American and now in charge of negotiations. This was the first time we had heard anything about this. We had to set things straight with Sayen, not so politely! Sayen of course was in the Executive Committee's web. This would not be the last time that crucial information would be withheld from us or that underhand or behind our back meetings would take place.
There was substantial evidence that our Company was led to believe our Committee could be controlled and there would be no strike. Later, after there was a strike, that it would be ended by the first of the year. The proposed merger between AAL and EAL was very much in the picture at that time. Sayen and the EAL pilot committee used the idea which had been prevailed on C. R. Smith, for a fourth crew member and quickly settled with Rickenbacker of EAL on January 1, 1959. We were on strike for much more than that substandard settlement.
After the "threat" advantage had been taken away from us we had to "gut" it out. The Executive Committee representatives came to Washington to keep the pressure on us. (Shades of 1951) They passed resolutions on December 31, 1958:
"The Executive Committee has examined in detail the strike situation on American Airlines, the unresolved issues between the parties, and the proposal of the National Mediation Board to resolve the dispute, and has evaluated these problems against the overall industry situation as it affects the present and future welfare of the pilots of American Airlines, the members of the Association, and the piloting profession as a whole," further: "Therefore, the Executive Committee is of the opinion that every possible effort should be made to bring the strike action against American Airlines to a conclusion as soon as possible, consolidating the gains that have been made to date and acquiring such additional gains as may be possible without seriously jeopardizing the position of the Association, its reputation, its financial integrity, its prestige, and the position of the pilots of American Airlines."
"The Executive Committee recommends that the President of the Association and the pilot representatives of American Airlines conclude an agreed program to accomplish the foregoing as soon as possible and proceed in accordance with the foregoing philosophy and recommendations with the understanding that the Executive Committee will review the entire matter again within ten days or less."
The AAL MEC became aware of what was happening. They alerted the Negotiating Committee, and fortified the stand necessary for us to complete our assignment. It took another ten days to convince our Company Management that the strike would continue until a satisfactory agreement was reached with the pilot-elected AAL Negotiating Committee. It was only then that most of our gains were achieved.
While our MEC was in the process of ratifying the contract and the back to work agreement, three members of the Executive Committee visited our meeting. One was the same person who had previously brought charges against our Master Chairman. Another was a UAL pilot who had been made Vice President from the Western Region V. Due to the questionable conduct surrounding the election, the AAL member of the Ballot Certification Committee refused to sign the results of the election. There was a tie vote. Mr. Mac Murray broke the tie. Mac Murray was a former UAL pilot, now inactive, who Sayen hired as his Executive Vice President after becoming President. The Secretary of the Association was also a UAL pilot. UAL had a powerful influence on the Executive Committee.
These gentlemen were asked why the AAL pilots had not received their strike benefit checks that had been previously voted them by the Board of Directors. They told our MEC that the matter was being studied by a sub-committee they had appointed on December 15, 1958. We would be told when the sub-committee completed its task. That committee was chaired by another UAL pilot. It did not report back until the Convention in November of 1960. We did not get our benefits, but we were fully assessed for benefits paid the EAL pilots, who were not on strike. We questioned the assessments. These were also against policy in force during our strike. The AAL pilots went out on strike without any knowledge of a change in the rules. Several MEC Resolutions were passed attempting to correct the retroactive denial. Our MEC remembered what was said by the Board of Directors in their resolution of 1958 concerning benefits paid Capital Airlines pilots: "Whereas lack of any benefits would seriously undermine the organization of the Capital Airlines pilots at a time when unity within the Association is of vital concern to all members."
Our strike was publicly announced on November 21 to occur on November 25, 1958. The flight engineers and mechanics struck EAL November 24. Our date was delayed by injunction. Sayen sent a ballot to the Board of Directors after that on December 5 which in effect denied us the benefits which they had previously voted us. It was so worded that a vote for the EAL assessment was automatically a vote against AAL receiving benefits even though we were on a legitimate work stoppage. Not half of the ballots were returned by the deadline. It was decided by a majority of those sent in. This was long before any study was made. Was the Board's previous concern for unity within the Association still so vital? Our pilots wondered.
In summary for our appeal, since the MEC felt they had been treated unfairly and inequitably, presented the following reasons:
- "National, Western, Capital and Eastern pilots received benefits when they were out of work as a result of another craft being on strike.
- When the AAL strike ballot was circulated, benefits were authorized and computed in a different manner.
- The computation of benefits were charged in a manner which adversely effected only the AAL pilots.
- The rules were changed before a committee authorized by Convention action had an opportunity to study and recommend policy on this problem.
- The rules were changed only after a strike date was stopped by injunction action.
- Rules were changed by a ballot containing more than one question with only one allowable answer.
- Rules were changed by a ballot allowing only a week for members to be advised and express their opinions.
- An assessment was levied against the AAL pilots while they were on strike, in violation of existing policy."
In strike benefit policies, administration, and payments were creating an open rebellion throughout the entire membership of ALPA, by being denied complete and accurate facts. A large segment of the Association was being placed in bad standing and ultimately expelled. On AAL alone we had 27 pilots expelled in one week. Our number of non-members, so far, grew to 166.
Four pilots, three from other airlines, UAL and TWA with our Wylie Drummond, formed a group called the "Airline Pilot Group" designed to correct the situation and give back to the pilots control over their own affairs in ALPA. They were former Chairman, Master Chairman, and Vice Presidents. Wylie had been Region V Vice President in the mid fifties. They wished to change the "pay up or get out" edict. The group claimed that 80% of the membership was in bad standing because of non-payment of one or both of EAL and Capital assessments, whose pilots were not on strike themselves.
Protesting did no good so the Group, now including pilots from other airlines, filed an injunction to prevent the start of expulsion proceedings against the non-paying pilots. They encouraged those pilots to pay the assessments during the injunctions so they would stay in ALPA. When the injunction was lifted, this effort had been somewhat successful.
On September 15, 1959, the UAL Master Chairman, among others, filed charges against the four original protestors and fifteen of the co-plaintiffs who replied:
"On September 15, 1959, charges were filed by TWA, OZA, and UAL MEC chairman against the four original protestors and fifteen of the co-plaintiffs.
In accordance with ALPA By-Laws, three LEC's heard these charges and found all members heard (9 out of the 19) as not guilty as charged. However, these hearings were declared null and void by the hearing board and the appeal board on the basis that the LEC's did not have jurisdiction. The hearing board then held its hearing and found all nineteen charged members guilty. Their decision for all co-plaintiffs to the lawsuit was a $100 fine and a one-year suspension; for the four original protestors a $500 fine a two-year suspension. During the period of suspension the suspended members are to pay dues but will receive no representation regarding violations, grievances, etc.
To prevent a repetition of the chaotic condition that existed in 1959, we make the following recommendations:
- Clarify our constitution and by-laws to limit what the membership can be assessed for. We strongly recommend that you exclude benefits to those pilots who are out of work due to actions beyond the pilots' control.
- Clarify the constitution and by-laws and make it mandatory that a majority vote of the total Board of Directors is necessary for any assessment against the membership when requested by mail ballot. (Not a majority of ballots returned as was the cause in the EAL assessment.)
- Include a new section in the constitution and by-laws that requires that each ballot will include only one proposition for each vote. (A vote for the EAL assessment in 1958 was automatically a vote against AAL receiving benefits even though AAL was on a legitimate work stoppage in furtherance of their own agreement.)
- Amend the constitution and by-laws to require a hearing by the LEC in the first instance with an appeal to the hearing board and the appeal board. (The appeal board to be appointed by the Board of Directors when in convention.)
- Separate judicial functions from the legislative and administrative by creating a regional board of justices to interpret the by-laws whenever an internal dispute arises. An internal unbiased hearing board will then exist to handle all internal grievances and prevent wholesale disregard of the by-laws as the Illinois Court recently ruled regarding the illegal trusteeship imposed by our President and Executive Committee on ALSSA [ALPA stewardess organization].
You should carefully look into the matter of voting policy changes which find a way into our policy manual which, in turn, negates and nullifies our constitution and by-laws. The constitution and by-laws should be hard and fast rules of procedure which cannot be easily and frivolously changed.
Regarding the charges against us and the decision of the hearing board as it stands today, we want you to know that the co-plaintiffs had absolutely nothing to do with the filing of the lawsuit, and they did not participate in printing or distribution of the publications of the Air Line Pilots Group. That has all been done by the four of us. Even though certain provisions of the constitution and by-laws were not followed in the processing of these charges, it was made clear by the hearing board in their decision what the real charge was, and it is'. . . and shall cease all publications. . . .'
We fear the future for our ALPA with officers bent on stamping out any dissident group by placing a fine and suspension on the right to disagree, and we take this opportunity here and now to say to you that we are not paying one penny for this right or accepting one day of suspension. If this is the type of ALPA you support, then we will take it to mean that you are expressing the will of the majority of all members and we will take our leave of such an organization.
We were motivated by a desire to protect those who had not paid the Capital and Eastern assessments in order to maintain maximum ALPA membership, and protect the integrity of our constitution and by-laws. We do not believe it will be healthy to have a large group of non-member pilots flying the airlines. This can only lead to a union or agency shop (ALPA presently requesting such on PAA). This, in our opinion, will further lower the prestige of the airline piloting profession.
You will be making some important decisions for the future of ALPA and it is our sincere wish that you look into the items covered in this letter seriously and carefully.
The Air Line Pilots Group was never at any time organized as a political setup. It does not and it has not endorsed any candidate for any office, and whether we agree or disagree with some candidate or particular policy presently being carried out is a matter which we answer individually. As a group, we have fought for the right to dissent and freedom of speech within ALPA. We have been told these rights do not exist as a condition of continuing our membership. The future of ALPA will be in your hands at the November Convention."
Paul Atkins, our Master Chairman, wrote to all AAL pilots on September 4, 1959:
"Many of you have expressed dissatisfaction over some actions of the Association. The MEC and myself have done our best to represent you in this regard. No one represents the Association to be perfect and able to satisfy the opinions of every pilot on every issue. With maturity we recognize that no Council Chairman, no Negotiating Committee, no MEC, no Master Chairman, no Association, no organization, nor any political party can satisfy all the people they represent in each and every instance. Knowing this, all members must exercise their vote to see that democratic processes are utilized to every extent possible in determining majority opinions. You must be a member to exercise your vote. A fighter does not throw in the towel just because he has lost one round unless he is so badly beaten he can not continue. Surely none of you are in such sad shape.
The MEC, fully recognizing the situation, passed the following resolution at its last meeting:
BE IT RESOLVED that the MEC strongly recommends that AAL pilots promptly pay all dues and assessments, as this is necessary to maintain our strength and unity."
We wanted to be at full voting strength during the 1960 Convention.
We had to contend with the grounding of the Electras, introduction of the 990s, and a bad business slump in 1960. We learned of a furlough coming on AAL. Fifty-three pilots would be furloughed October 1, 1960. There were about 1,000 pilots on furlough in the industry with several hundred more expected within the next few months. Available figures showed EAL, PAA, TWA, BNF, CAP, NWA, NAL and WAL hurting too. Many had predicted this.
Other airlines had started to awaken to the problems in ALPA, particularly among the more junior pilots. Some Eastern pilots had formed a committee to encourage James M. Landis to run against Sayen for President. They were joined by sponsors from sixteen other airlines. Landis was a former Harvard Law School dean who was well connected politically. He was an in-house advisor to President Kennedy and a former CAB Chairman. He was denied mailing lists of the Board of Directors as had members of the Board themselves been denied.
There was an all out attempt to discredit him. He mentioned in his campaign newsletter handed out at the Convention, which was held in Miami Beach beginning November 14, 1960:
"Finally I am disturbed by the excessive centralization and domination that characterizes your Association. Fair play should characterize it if you expect to achieve fair play from others. For example, my supporters have been denied access not only to the list of your membership but to the list of your Board of Directors as well as the right to communication through your Association to you on the utterly spurious ground that I am not a "bona fide" candidate. This appears an utter disregard of the responsibilities placed upon your Association by the Landrum Griffin Act.
More than this, however, this domination and centralization is producing interference with local elections, with communication between various pilot groups on matters of mutual concern and even between members of the same local council, with the handling of grievances at the local level at a time before they become festering sores. Such centralization is not only unnecessary but works against efficient operation. It stemmed from early origins, but appears now to me to continue as a means to insure control. My whole record of administration runs counter to such policies."
The AAL pilots would have enthusiastically supported him if he had been allowed to run. Because he was not a pilot, 2/3 approval of the Board was necessary under the procedures used. He was denied even a chance to speak to the Convention while in session. The old power bosses and the Executive Committee worked overtime and prevailed on a voice vote. We certainly wanted a chance to vote for somebody who would not "knuckle under" to ALPA's internal politics or to airline managements, but Sayen was reelected President.
The Convention prevailed in a move to take stewardesses into ALPA. Braniff, United and TWA stewardesses, with the help of their pilots, were the main advocates. The AAL stewardesses would not be involved. On the regional and national level, flight attendants would have a full voice in all Association affairs. Their members would vote in the elections of Regional Vice Presidents. Flight attendant's Master Chairman would be members of the Executive Board. They would have a full voice in the election of ALPA Officers as well as a place on the Executive Committee. The AAL pilots fought hard against this but lost again. ALPA would be sorry later, after a tremendous cost.
The most important issues for the AAL group were (1) a change in policy to recommend a straight reduction in monthly flying hours, and (2) a clarification of the Crew Complement policy with some "give." We accomplished nothing here either.
The Wage and Working Conditions Policy Committee was composed of some of the same pilots who had been on the committee establishing ALPA policy in 1956. Their report to this Convention stated: "Flat reduction and mileage limitation have far reaching implications and are such complex subjects they should not be put to the membership for a vote or decision unless and until accompanied by a complete factual background of the record. Both of these items have actually been live issues as far as some members are concerned but dead issues as far as hopes of accomplishing anything in these specific ways is concerned since about 1951." Whether it was pride of authorship, belittling Behncke's approach, or just a slap at the AAL pilots; we suspected all three. They touted the Board that a reduction in hours could very well worsen working conditions at a cost to most of the pilots; that little was owed to the furloughed pilots; and that anyway it would be impossible to obtain.
That Committee was hand-picked by the President and the Executive Committee, as were all Convention Committees. Our MEC recommendations of AAL pilots to be on such Committees were usually ignored. They would put a pilot of AAL on some Committees, but one who had no following, no chance of every being recommended for anything to do with representing our pilots' interests. This was especially provoking. We did manage to get Paul G. Atkins elected as Secretary of ALPA. Paul was so well though of on many airlines that the power brokers, in this instance, were ineffective. Paul was the second stalwart AAL pilot to be on the Executive Committee. Wylie Drummond was the first. Nicholas J. O'Connell, Jr. was elected to take Paul's place as Master Chairman of our MEC.
With the little "end run" on Sayen in August of 1959 which he could not refuse to accept, we were now behind the pack in contract timing. We had a new opening date of June 1, 1961. The openers were due April 1. The pilots were polled for their input and direction. The survey put working conditions, reduced hours, and retirement out front as "musts." The AAL pilots always put working conditions first, unlike some other airlines. Top pay was never forgotten but was down the list. Tax free benefits, such as retirement and time off, were more important.
ALPA was embroiled in one of the worst periods of its history. It would bring on near bankruptcy and the fight would become bloody. A jurisdictional battle erupted because of the successful Class and Craft election on UAL. The flight engineers feared it would spread to other airlines and they would lose their identify and representation rights. There were more pilots than flight engineers.
The Flight Engineer International Association (FEIA) shut down seven airlines for six days on February 17, 1961. They were PAA, EAL, NAL, TWA, AAL, WAL, and Flying Tiger. President Kennedy established a commission on February 21, 1961, Professor Nathan P. Feinsinger, Chairman, to "recommend solutions to the complex issue which have created discord among flight engineers and pilots for the past 5 years." UAL had a strike of 51 days in 1955, CAL 93 days in 1960, EAL 39 days in 1958-1959; WAL an elongated disruption with 130 flight engineers fired after a wildcat strike; and trouble too on NAL.
The Commission in its report of May 24, 1961, reviewed the background and made recommendations. In their background discussion they point out the different approaches the airlines took in their hiring practices since the flight engineers came on board in 1948. Some airlines have three-man crews, not necessarily all pilots. On UAL there is dual representation. Others have the four-man crew concept. They described the industry pattern today as patchwork, quoting: "The carriers, ALPA and FEIA all agreed before the Commission that safe operation of turbojets requires no more than a crew of three men. The disagreement arises over the proper qualifications of the third man. The cost of carrying a fourth crew member is substantial and places American, Eastern, Pan American and TWA at a significant competitive disadvantage in the industry. These carriers are, understandably, anxious to reduce their jet crew from four to three men." They observed that there must be a just and lasting settlement, fair and equitable to all parties giving due consideration to individual job equities and the human values involved. "The controversy has been marked throughout by irresponsibility and unreasonableness." "The most obvious solution to this problem is merger or some form of consolidation. In the considered opinion of the Commission, neither peace nor safety on the airlines will be fully assured as long as there are two unions in the cockpit." "It is important that this merger approach has received the repeated endorsement of the AFL-CIO. Every disinterested observer, governmental or private, who has expressed an opinion to the Commission shares the view that the flight crew should be represented by one union."
"This is ALPA's 'fail safe' flight crew, one in which every member is fully qualified to perform all flight duties. This concept was adopted as mandatory policy at ALPA's 14th Biennial Convention in 1955, following the form: Be it further resolved that the Board of Directors are the 14th Convention adopt as mandatory ALPA policy, that no turbo-prop or jet turbine powered aircraft will be operated unless and until it is manned at all flight stations, by a qualified pilot in the employ of the Company as a pilot..."
"In 1958, ALPA amended this policy to eliminate the requirement of three qualified pilots on turboprop equipment, although this was retained as a policy objective. A minimum of three pilots on pure jets was continued as mandatory policy."
"In their discussions with the Commission and in meetings with representatives of both unions and the Commission, the other carriers (not including Western) also stated that the third crew member of jet aircraft need not possess any qualifications or ratings other than those required by FAA regulations, and more specifically that he needs neither a pilot license nor an A&P license. These carriers agreed with National that the ALPA position unnecessarily involves the carriers in substantial training costs."
Among the Commission recommendations: "The Commission's recommendations provide a framework for negotiations looking toward a final peaceful settlement of all issues in dispute. The Commission asks at this time that the parties undertake to bargain within that framework." "Broadly speaking, the Commission's recommendations do not effect a displacement of any employees from their current jobs, whether pilots or flight engineers."
"The Commission endorses the proposal of the Carriers for reduction of the present four-man crew on turbojet equipment to a three-man crew, as is the fact in the remainder of the industry." They also tie that in with adequate protection for displaced crewmen. "The Commission recommends the establishment of a 'Joint Committee on Inter Union Cooperation' by ALPA and FEIA." That each airline form such a committee. Conclusion: "The Commission will not at this time go beyond recommendations in the nature of guidelines for bargaining among the three groups involved. Implementation of those recommendations will require bargaining not only between the Carriers and their two unions but between the two unions as well. In our considered judgement, intelligent bargaining, including a measure of restraint and using the Commission's recommendations as a framework for negotiations, can produce a settlement which will constitute a significant step in the direction of enduring peace in the cockpit." "Finally, it may be observed that at times it may take more courage to say "yes" than to say "no." This may be such an occasion, courage accounts for the magnificent job performed by the pilot and the flight engineer in his occupation. The public trustfully places its lives in their custody. Today, the Commission entrusts a formula for long-range peace in the cockpit in that custody."
There was no recommendation that an flight engineer presently on jets need a Commercial and Instrument (C & I). It said: "Specifically, with respect to the flight engineer now occupying the fourth seat on the turbojet, that employee will retain his job on the jet and will not be required to take any pilot training." A final report of the Commission would come later. It was submitted to the President on October 17, 1961. It recommended a C & I. This would result in further disruptions by FEIA particularly on EAL.
The negotiations on AAL had gone very slowly. The company was stalling to see what Feinsinger would recommend. We had not opened on the Crew Complement issue and we were content with our four-man crew. On June 5, 1961, the Company advised the Government that it had accepted the Feinsinger Report. The Negotiating Committee assured the pilots protection of their job security and job opportunities. This would become our prime objective. We would keep that promise.
Working with the Commission we had meetings with the Flight Engineer Negotiating Committee. Nothing much was resolved but it was friendly. We had always enjoyed the most harmonious relationship with our flight engineers. In fact, it was the best in the industry. What was happening on other airlines gave us deep concern. It was obvious that working conditions and other benefits were being sacrificed to Crew Complement. PAA and TWA were involved with various Boards, fact finding and arbitration.
We went back to negotiations to arrive at an agreement covering an Interchange of Equipment with EAL pending the outcome of the merger. We had previously tried to negotiate rules to cover a shuttle type service but were unsuccessful. The Company would not bargain realistically on our basic working conditions and retirement proposals. They were obsessed with Crew Complement and industry pattern. On November 9, 1961, the NMB docketed our case. Many sessions were held in Mediation but now were recessed until after the Convention in 1962.
There was trouble within the Executive Committee itself. Arguments were bitter, ugly and quite heated. Sayen had threatened to resign the Presidency. During a meeting of the Committee they refused to adjourn unless Sayen stepped down immediately. This he refused to do, as John Carroll (TWA) was the First Vice President and would automatically, under the By-Laws, become President. Sayen did promise to call an early Board of Directors meeting for May of 1962 and resign in mid-term. This he formally advised the Board on October 31, 1961. Paul Atkins, a member of the Executive Committee, kept us fully informed. Paul at this time was elected to fill a vacancy on our Negotiating Committee by our MEC.
Before Convention time we had an exchange of correspondence with Sayen. PAA was allowed to arbitrate certain issues in their negotiations which we became aware of. The Negotiating Committee wrote him:
"We have studied the issues to be arbitrated by this Board and one of these issues and we quote: "Qualifications which will be required on the job which will replace the two jobs in question."
"Pilot jobs are in jeopardy. The Flight Engineers remain on the airplane without even being a party to the arbitration or being bound by the Board's findings. Finally, we still have two unions in the cockpit. We cannot see how the Association's mandatory policy on crew complement could, under ALPA policy, be put by the Association to a binding arbitration.
Despite the action taken in this dispute, you can be assured the American Airlines Negotiating Committee has no intention of negotiating away, or placing the job rights of 200 American Airlines pilots to a determination by any Arbitration Board. No other pilot group should be bound by the arbitration decision, nor will the American Airlines pilots consider themselves a party to these proceedings. We insist, under Association policy, on the rights to bargain for our own pilots, on our own property. We regret that your actions are making this extremely difficult. We are aware of ALPA policy on individual bargaining and we are aware of ALPA policy to avoid public judgements.
In view of your handling of this matter, as President of our Association in the Pan American dispute, we consider it necessary to bring these facts to your attention."
"I am certain that you must also be aware that I have a full comprehension of Association policy as do the pilot representatives for the pilots of Pan American Work Airways. You must also be aware, since representatives of the American pilot group participated in joint meetings with the other Master Chairman involved in this problem, that our position throughout its entire course has been that the problem had to be processed under our historical practice making agreements on an air line by air line basis and on a bilateral basis between the pilots and the company. The Pan American agreement is precisely such a document."
The 1962 Convention convened in Miami on May 29. The big question was, who would replace Sayen? We were solidly behind John C. Carroll of TWA. Paul Atkins was running again for Secretary. We were 100% behind him. We lost on both counts. There would be less representation of our interests on the Executive Committee, although Harold Miller from our Negotiating Committee would be elected Region IV Vice President on July 1, 1962. A stewardess was now on the Executive Committee as a result of the 1960 Board action.
The politics of the convention were fierce. Sayen was determined that Carroll not be President. All stops were pulled out for character assassination. He pulled in all his markers. The old bosses from the Behncke days, who always showed up, were active long before the Convention. The Capital-UAL merger had just gone through which made UAL the largest carrier with the most pilots. They would retain that position until 1988, when AAL would again be #1. They had to find someone to run against Carroll. They tried Chuck Beatley, now on UAL, a former Captial pilot. He was luke-warm. Some big guns from PAA, EAL, and NAL brought to the floor Charles H. Ruby from NAL. Ruby had been a stalwart in the 1948 strike on NAL and was well-known. He said he was somewhat reluctant to run but was pressured into it. He won the Presidency. We knew him as honest and tough, an hororable guy, straightforward with a pilot's type thinking. He admitted being somewhat unprepared for the job. We hoped he could negate some of the politics rampant in ALPA. The AAL MEC was first to call for the vote to be unanimous and we promised our cooperation and support. Paul Atkins would not have lost his bid for Secretary-Treasurer but for the fact we had 300 pilots in bad standing who could not vote. The margin was less than that.
The EAL flight engineers went out on strike June 23, 1962. It took three ballots of the Board of Directors before the EAL pilots finally were voted strike benefits. TWA was trying to get an agreement ratified which was not completely in conformance with policy. PAA engineers were under a court restraining order. The hearings concerning the EAL-AAL merger ended June 20.
The NMB after more mediation in our case proffered arbitration, which we refused. A ballot went out from President Ruby to all AAL pilots for a strike vote with a return deadline of July 30, 1962. We seemed to have a good rapport with Ruby. He had successfully put an end to the two plus year old strike of Southern Airlines. He had gotten a handle on the financial mess the Association has been suffering. We were optimistic.
Our Negotiating Committee was requested to meet with Secretary of Labor Goldberg in Washington, D. C. on Monday, July 16, 1962. Impressive was the urgency of bringing this whole controversy between flight engineers and pilots to a lasting and honorable settlement. We had several weeks of meetings with the AAL Flight Engineer Neogtiating Committee. Our relationship was very much different than that on EAL. It was as good as theirs was bad. There was a common goal of encouraging the Company to bargain realistically. It appeared to us that if we could convince the Company that pilots and flight engineers would get together in the same union, it would not only solve ALPA's problem, but put pressure on the Company to "deal."
There were so many changes in the company's spokesman during these negotiatings that nothing much had been accomplished. When Mr. Whitacre became Vice President - Personnel and Mr. A. DiPasquale, Assistant Vice President-Labor Relations returned, things seemed to get a little better but a long way to go. Mr. Whitacre was tough to deal with but realistic. We had dealt with DiPasquale since 1947. He did not always give us the answers we wanted to hear, but he was always straightforward and imaginative, a man of his work. He probably knew the determination of the Committee better than anybody else in the Company. Nothing but a superior contract would do!
After the successful strike vote there was a thirty day "cooling off" period. During this time the NMB requested further meetings in a process called "Super Mediation." Chairman Leverett Edwards of the NMB was present during these negotiating sessions where some progress was made. There were further separate meetings with the flight engineer Committee and with the Company. A framework for a solution was taking shape. The Company had signed a long-term agreement with the FEIA. They would honor that commitment. The Company had made a corporate decision to reduce to a three-man crew on jet aircraft as had other airlines, except PAA who retained four. We had made a commitment to our pilots that their jobs would be protected. The Government agencies were committed to peace in the cockpit, so Leverett Edwards was the personal representative of the Secretary of Labor to protect the public interest.
The crew problem on AAL was different than that of any other airline. AAL had some 600 flight engineers who were basically mechanic trained. Originally, the mix was half and half, but the furloughed pilot flight engineers were later recalled as pilots. Going to a three-man crew would create some 200 surplus pilots. Our solution was a reduction in flight hours.
During our discussions with the Company and NMB, "facts of life" were brought forth. There were strikes and bloodshed on other airlines. AAL could be put in that same box. Different Boards on other airlines had recommended possible solutions to their peculiar situations. Their non-binding suggestions were not always followed but led to negotiated settlements. These recommendations in no way could apply to us. Court cases had been won on this point. The cost of providing a C & I for the flight engineers on American would be much greater than that of any other airline, unless of course you figure in their costs of strike involvement. A quick C & I for a mechanically oriented flight engineer was such that airlines which had recently provided that training, somewhat questionably, would not allow such "qualified pilot" to "legally" sit in a pilot's seat or touch any of the primary controls. There had been flexibility of interpretation of ALPA's policy in the past and other airlines had been allowed to handle their own problems in their own fashion. There were several policy exceptions made. The costs already encountered by ALPA, if repeated, would break it financially. We thought Ruby would understand and agree.
We continued our efforts to juggle all the balls in the air. It was not easy. Time, patience, and a hell of a lot of cajoling was necessary. A tentative understanding for a complete solution to the Company's problems, the flight engineers and our own, was reached. It was taken to our MEC and explained thoroughly. They liked it and sent us back to complete the job. They passed a resolution: "that this MEC disagrees completely with the Executive Committee's position that public bodies, public judgements, and settlements made in 1962 establish a new and different policy from that adopted in 1956, and directs the Master Chairman to use all proper means to convince the Executive Committee and all other pilots of the correctness of our position, the soundness of our approach, the benefits to all pilots, and of the requirement that our crew complement be solved for once and for all."
The Executive Committee had tried to take over our negotiations on October 24, 1962, while we were attempting to work out a merger with our engineers. They had been told by Nick O'Connell of our priorities when he was summoned before them the previous day. They passed a resolution: "that the Executive Committee in keeping with its responsibilities inform the MEC Chairman O'Connell and the American Airlines Negotiating Committee that Association policy with respect to the qualifications of the third crew member in a three-man jet crew requires a Commercial and Instrument Rating and a level of training comparable to those articulated in the Decision and Award of the Arbitration Board on PAA composed of George Taylor, Edgar Kaiser, and George Meany dated May 21, 1962, and this concept must be met prior to operation of jet aircraft with a three-man crew." Our collision was not far off.
Negotiations continued and much progress was being made with the Company and the NMB. We were at a very critical stage when in late November the Executive Committee turned up the heat. They removed Hardenrider, the Association staff Negotiator and Coordinator assigned to our Committee. They wired the NMB to suspend our negotiations. The NMB would not oblige ALPA. They summoned our Committee to meet with them and wired us that negotiations were recessed. ALPA staff members were sent to our Company to negotiate in our place.
There was already an agreed-to document concerning crew complement reduction from four- to three-man crews. The flight engineers would join ALPA. All future hires would be pilots. It was initialed by the Company, Manning, the President of the Flight Engineers, and our MEC Chairman on December 1. It was given to the NMB and our MEC was called into session.
They met with President Ruby and presented cogent arguments why he should accept our approach. He did like the one union in the cockpit concept, but he was hung up with new interpretations of the policy. One union was the basic motive for the ALPA policy from the beginning which nobody would admit. Two unions in the cockpit, either one of which could shut an airline down, just could not be tolerated. The MEC had directed our Chairman to use all proper means to make available to the Board of Directors the full story. It was not possible as mailing lists were denied us. The MEC felt there was a good chance of convincing Ruby if it were possible to get around the Executive Committee.
The negotiations were recessed until January 1963. The company was told that negotiations would be resumed on the same basis as before the recess by direction of our MEC. All AAL pilots were sent thorough and factual information of what had been so far accomplished in negotiations and the stand of the Executive Committee.
The MEC was invited to meet in joint session with the Executive Committee. This meeting took place January 8 through 11, 1963. Nick reported on his meeting with twelve other MEC Chairmen on December 19. There was no solace there. They had been well programmed. The joint meetings with the Executive Committee lasted some eight hours over two days. When asked what their solution was, the executive Committee proposed that we negotiate for a C & I rating at this time and pick up the reduction in hours four or five years down the road. They added that it was our problem and we should work it out. The MEC argued our solution was more in line with the original policy than any other so far; that one union and peace in the cockpit would be a reality instead of the bitterness still rampant elsewhere; that the training we proposed for the flight engineer would be more "fail safe" than what they had negotiated in other contracts; that our settlement would be in line with what the Secretary of Labor and the AFL-CIO had recommended for labor peace. They stated there would be no argument or debate.
The MEC passed unanimously a Resolution: "that the AAL MEC, speaking for the entire AAL pilot group, goes on record as authorizing the AAL Negotiation Committee to conclude a contract and further to advise AAL management that the AAL pilots are agreeable to implementation of said contract with or without formal approval of the ALPA." A further Resolution: "that any charges preferred against the Master Chairman of the American pilots and/or the Negotiating Committee are to be considered charges against the American Airlines MEC and the American Airlines pilots they represent." The meeting was recessed rather than adjourned.
Negotiations were resumed by NMB direction and participation until a final document was ready for signing by ALPA. Ruby refused to sign. The Executive Committee cut off all expenses and flight pay loss for the MEC Chairman and the Negotiating Committee. Strike benefits previously voted were rescinded. They demanded that our Negotiating Committee cut two members to a total of three. They sent ALPA staff to negotiate with our Company. Those tactics were rebuffed by AAL. Ruby wrote numerous letters to all AAL pilots. This did him more harm than good as much of what was said was not quite factual. Our pilots knew better, resented it, and stiffened their stand. Letters and wires were sent to the NMB, Company, and the Flight Engineer Group, stating that any negotiations with our pilot committee were illegal and would not be recognized by ALPA. This would delay our getting together with the flight engineers, but not prevent it.
The forces at Headquarters were reinforced by the old clique who were there during the Behncke debacle in 1951. The same type ultimatum was given the AAL pilots. The Executive Board confirmed ALPA's position. The futility of recourse through the Association procedures had been clearly learned by what happened to the Drummond, et al, appeals.
The AAL-EAL merger was disapproved, fortunately, as our Master Committee had informed us we would be stuck with ALPA's merger procedures. The EAL Master Chairman had written that EAL pilots would not fly with our three-man arrangement.
The Air Transport Association was fighting our reduction in hours with every means at their disposal. American Airlines felt the heat. The pilots of other airlines were led to believe that our approach to a Crew Complement solution through a reduction in hours was not in their best interests.
Many attempts by the Company and by us were made to have ALPA sign our agreement. Perhaps it was expected of us to come "begging." The AAL pilots would never do that. There were others who attempted, without success, to influence Ruby. John Carroll, former First Vice President and a member of the original Crew Complement Policy Committee wrote to him on February 2, 1963. Part of what he said:
"You have made quite a point of the recommendations of the various boards as to third man qualifications. I can scarcely believe that David Cole, Dr. Feinsinger and associates or Professor Taylor and friends ever contemplated that this third man should be forced to learn to fly and then be forbidden to ever do so. Having attended most of the Feinsinger hearings as an observer, I heard them repeatedly stress that labor peace and one union in the cockpit was a prime objective to be obtained.
So, one can see that we are far from realizing our 1956 policy objectives even on the so-called "all pilot" airlines.
In your letters, you have quoted extensively from various policy proceedings. I hope you have been provided more accurate information than has apparently been given to you on modification of our crew complement policy on Turbo-prop equipment. I contest that our policy has actually been modified to allow a mechanic flight engineer to serve on Turbo-prop equipment. The only ballot of which I have any knowledge is the one circulated to the Board of Directors at the time of the EAL Emergency Board decision. It was specifically and sharply confined to the EAL situation so as to allow for solution of the pure jet crew issue. As you point out, FEIA rejected the EAL Emergency Board decision but accepted our giving up the turbo-prop. ALPA seems to have just given up elsewhere without ever amending the policy. I would surmise that we never actually amended the policy because the outcome of that EAL decision was so embarrassing.
Although my bringing up the circumstances surrounding ALPA's surrender of the Turbo-prop policy is certain to revive bitter old memories, the main point is to demonstrate my belief that the actual current existing Turbo-prop policy is not as you have described it.
In summation, my major premise is simply that we are far removed from true implementation of ALPA crew complement policy. Our January 14, 1963 News Bulletin states "at the close of 1962, American was the only major carrier left with the crew complement problem." To me this means only that they have not yet signed a three-man agreement with the same type of non-compliance as some of the others. Without any implication that it applies to the current problem, General Counsel Weiss has stated that it would indeed be miraculous for us to obtain a uniform solution of the crew complement problem on all airlines. My view coincides with his; I think that reality dictates that the most we can now obtain in the way of uniformity of settlement is one union in the cockpit and certain fail-safe training for the third man.
The Association has always provided each MEC with a certain degree of latitude in representing their own pilots. We have always had some "States Rights" or autonomy on each airline.
The present pressures which have been exerted on the AAL pilot group without giving them the same forum for presentation of their side of the story will inevitably destroy the Air Line Pilots Association."
A past MEC Chairman and Jet Committee Chairman on TWA wrote to Ruby on February 3.
"As I understand the proposed AAL Agreement the third man would at least be a member of ALPA. This is certainly more than has been accomplished on some other carries, including our own.
In essence I am trying to point out that the AAL group are not the only pilots who have not complied with policy.
Our By-Laws very specifically give the Board of Directors the final authority in matters of policy. It does not seem consistent with the By-Laws for the MEC Chairman of the trunk carriers to interpret policy. It seems equally inconsistent with the By-Laws for these same MEC Chairmen to attempt to impose limitations and conditions on any Negotiating Committee.
I recognize that the By-Laws give broad powers to the Executive Committee. It does appear unusual that six years after the Board adopted its crew complement policy that the Executive Committee believes qualified pilot means Commercial and Instrument rating. Has this now become the law of ALPA or an opinion of the Executive Committee?
Mr. Ruby, I am not inferring a complete endorsement of the actions of the American pilots. I do believe that the membership has only been presented one side of the story. Before the American pilots are adjudged guilty I would like the Board of Directors and the entire membership to understand just what has happened on UAL, PAA, TWA as far as crew complement is concerned.
There has been unrest and dissension in our ranks since 1956. I believe democracy is a slow and painful process. I believe the democratic processes have not been fully utilized in the present crisis. I believe it would be unwise to drive the American pilots away from the Association over a policy which has been bent and twisted beyond all recognition by various other airlines. I am a great believer in principle, but I believe equally strong that in a democratic organization there must be compromise. It will be a sad day if the Association founders on the rocks over this issue."
Manning responded to Ruby that because of the disagreement between ALPA and the pilots, the engineers could not presently consider a merger. He referred with some bitterness to ALPA's "failure to intervene" at EAL, where pilots took over the jobs of the flight engineers. He warned that for ALPA to "press" its disagreement with the American pilots might lead to a strike or to lengthy litigation, either of which would be "unfortunate," and he suggested a request for help to the Secretary of Labor and to Chairman Edwards.
Our flight plan needed an alternate. Seven former AAL Master Chairmen, going back to the early forties, reviewed the situation and gave Nick O'Connell a written statement declaring that "nothing should be allowed to delay or interfere with the implementation of this agreement." Much of what is said here comes from the official records of the "Opinions of the District Court." The case was heard before Judge Inzer B. Wyatt. There were 21 days of testimony and 3,200 pages of transcript. Nick did a great job of defending our position in court. A summary judgement in favor of the defendant and of the additional defendants against plaintiffs was granted on August 12, 1963. ALPA appealed the decision. That was denied but ALPA attempted an appeal to the Supreme Court.
In the written opinion of the Court is found:
"To give the ALPA national organization, controlled by employees of other airlines, a veto power over contracts negotiated by the American pilots who must work under the contract is not consistent with democratic procedure on the American air line system 'itself'."
"There is no evidence that the Company suggested, encouraged or even knew in advance about the determination of the American pilots to leave ALPA over the 'C and I' issue and from their own organization."
The appeal Judge found no interference or coercion.
The MEC met in New York City at the Commodore Hotel on March 19, 1963. They were presented a completed agreement containing the hourly reduction and the improved retirement benefits agreed to on March 15. This covered the flight engineers as well and was prepared for Ruby's signature. Two days of thorough discussion followed. Nick's meetings with the past Master Chairmen; Mr. Kirkland, Assistant to Mr. Meany AFL-CIO; Leverett Edwards, Chairman National Mediation Board; and Ruby were reviewed. The Flight Engineer Negotiating Committee and their lawyer; Marion Sadler, President of AAL; and Ruby were asked to address the meeting separately. The agreement was unanimously ratified. Ruby was asked one more time to sign it. He refused and stated that ALPA would not recognize any agreement negotiated by the pilots committee, and that he could not and would not sign any agreement that did not provide for a C & I for flight engineers.
The MEC passed several more resolutions: Set up a temporary organization, chose the name Allied Pilots Association (APA) to become the representing entity for the AAL pilots; the Agreement to be ratified by all AAL pilots after a "road show" explanation; assess our pilots to cover all expenses necessary; circulate Authorization to Act cards for NMB approval; provide for temporary officers, Nick O'Connell President, Bob Hoyt Vice President; and Paul Atkins Secretary-Treasurer.
Authorization to Act cards were sent out on April 12, 1963. The cards returned initially showed 84% of our pilots desired APA. The numbers climbed quickly and reached into the high nineties. By May 3, there were 1,285 of our members in bad standing or expelled from ALPA. On April 24, an application was filed with the NMB for recognition as the collective bargaining agent of the pilots on AAL.
On April 26, five of us were expelled from ALPA; Nick O'Connell, J. R. Lyons, Paul G. Atkins, Joe Garvey, and Bob Guba. We had continued to negotiate with the Company. This was against the orders of the Executive Committee, backed up by the Executive Board. It violated their policy.
After the March meeting the MEC was now a temporary Board of Directors of APA. The engineers would have no part of a joint agreement. We went back to negotiations to secure the benefits previously agreed to, for the pilots alone. All references to flight engineer were deleted. The engineers went back to their own negotiations.
Marty Seham, a young New York lawyer fresh out of Harvard, was hired to represent our legal needs. He was taking a chance with us as we had very little money to pay him at the time. It proved to be a very fortunate relationship. He has been protecting and advising us to this day. Ralph Harkenrider was hired by us, since he had been fired from ALPA over our situation. He was of invaluable assistance with all the administrative tasks we would be facing. A Board of Directors meeting on June 4 and 5, approved John Reddington's proposal for Loss of License insurance with Mass Casualty. Jim Quinlivan provided the other insurances. They still provide these valuable insurance services and benefits for APA's pilots and retirees.
There was a request by ALPA that the NMB defer passing on the certification application of APA until after a decision by the Court. On May 24, the NMB denied their request. On June 12, the NMB reported that of the 1,571 pilots eligible to vote, APA had authorization from 1,334. The NMB ordered an election. ALPA took injunctive action against the NMB. It was denied and lifted by court action on September 16.
Our By-Laws were adopted, pending ratification by all pilots on AAL, during our Board meeting on October 22 through 25, 1963, in San Francisco. The proposed By-Laws were put together in Joe Gumber's bar, The Swinging Door, by Bob Hoyt and Chick Luna among others. George Hof wrote the Preamble. They were ratified by the membership on November 26 and became official.
Although the official certification would not be given APA until November 13, 1963, American Airlines recognized APA as the collective bargaining representative for all AAL pilots and copilots on July 9, 1963 by signing our contract. We had accomplished the first hourly reduction, with no reduction in pay, since 1934. The 75 hours would be phased in on the jets first. Later we would include all equipment. There was a dues check-off provision included in our contract which would alleviate our financial bind and stop the temporary assessment setup. Our Retirement Plan was made completely non-contributory with a 10% "B" plan.
The Negotiating Committee had an "opportunity" when the Company placed the BAC 111 in service in late 1963. The Company wanted to fly it with a two-man crew. By mutual consent, the contract was opened early for this purpose as well as bringing our Electra and piston pay up a bit. An agreement was signed unanimously on November 19, Nick's birthday, which brought pay on all equipment to the highest in the industry. It was estimated to cost the Company in excess of 4% increase in payroll.
A Board of Directors meeting in Phoenix, February 18, 19 and 20, 1964, set up various committees and named nominees for the election of National Officers. The elections by the entire membership were verified by the Honest Ballot Association and the first elected National Officers were Nicholas J. O'Connell, President; J. Richard Lyons, Vice President; and Paul G. Atkins, Secretary-Treasurer. On June 1, APA moved into its new home office in the Chrysler Building in New York City.
Negotiations had been going on for some time during late 1963 and most of 1964 in an effort to complete the full understanding which would settle once and for all the Crew Complement question on American Airlines. We had told the court we did not want the flight engineers in our union unless it be of their own free will.
The eventual agreement (known as the "Tripartite"), exactly as written in the Supplemental "C" of the current agreement, was signed by all three parties on December 11, 1964. This peaceful settlement after years of public hearings, strikes, threats of strikes, and acrimony on other airlines was a tribute to all concerned including American Airlines and the NMB. It was the first permanent settlement in the industry. Basically, the flight engineer pay is a fixed percentage of copilot pay; they accept the same rules and working conditions as we may negotiate for our pilots and pay a service fee. There is a no strike clause for the flight engineer. All future hires are pilots on the pilots seniority list and are represented by APA. The engineers did not want to join the pilots retirement plan, so they negotiated that feature by themselves and otherwise just conformed their contract with ours. As part of this settlement, the American pilots have agreed to respect the independence of the flight engineers and their Association. This arrangement has worked well for 25 years, with no problems.
During the many negotiating sessions held to accomplish the Tripartite agreement, we negotiated several additional benefits in the working condition area, i.e., the Substitution of Equipment protection. We obtained an additional 1% of a pilot's gross earnings to be put in the pilots "B" fund for a total of 11%, July 1, 1965. A nice little "kicker" just before the amendable date of July 8, 1965.
The next three contracts put us well ahead of the industry in all departments while we doubled our pilots numbers. Basically, the same team of Negotiators were there from the fifties. It has been 30 years since the last strike on American Airlines. The "prophets of gloom" were wrong.
Next: 25 years of success for APA Presidents
Nick O'Connell 1963-1976; J. R. Lyons 1976-1979;
Robert Malone 1979-1985; Fred Vogel 1985-1991;
Richard T. LaVoy 1991-1994; James G. Sovich 1994-1997;
Richard T. LaVoy 1997-2000; John E. Darrah 2000-Present