Arbitrator George Nicolau ordered American Airlines on Friday to let 35 American Eagle CJ captains transfer to American and begin training by June according to the Dallas Morning News.
In all, 286 senior Eagle CJ captains will be given the chance to transfer to American.
Nicolau's opinion and award wraps up a long dispute involving American, American Eagle, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American's pilots, and the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents Eagle pilots.
The dispute stems from a 1997 agreement that allowed some American Eagle pilots the option to transfer to American as opportunities arose.
After Sept. 11, American was forced to furlough nearly 3,000 pilots, including many that had come to American from Trans World Airlines.
ALPA said that when American recalled some furloughed ex-TWA pilots beginning in June 2007 and through March 2009, the slots should have gone to American Eagle pilots per the 1997 agreement.
A previous arbitrator had agreed with ALPA, but that decision didn't determine how the problem would be remedied.
With one group of American pilots furloughed in late February and others possible, Nicolau's decision made this provision:
"There shall be no furloughs as a result of these transfers. If, for other reasons, a furlough is deemed necessary during 2010, 35 pilots furloughed shall receive two additional months furlough pay in the amounts set forth in the AA/APA Agreement."
For other details on Nicolau's decision and remedy, here is the document:
Below is the American Eagle MEC's interpretation of the Nicolau decision:
Fellow American Eagle Pilots:
As you are all now aware, this morning we received Arbitrator Nicolau's remedy award. We have spent the better part of today reviewing the award. While we strongly encourage you to read the award for yourselves, we are now able to provide for you this initial bullet point summary:
1. 244 American Eagle pilots will transfer to AA with the following:
a. In determining their initial equipment, the Arbitrator's opinion requires that their initial equipment be determined no differently than the transfers that had previously occurred under Letter 3.
b. Their initial pay scale will be determined by when they should have flowed to AA under Arbitrator Nicolau's initial award (October 2009). For example, if the pilot should have transferred to AA in June of 2007 and actually transfers to AA in June of 2010, he will be placed on the 4th pay step upon his arrival at AA.
c. Their A-Fund vesting will begin based on when they should have transferred to AA under Arbitrator Nicolau's initial award but their "time of service" for A-Fund calculations won't begin until they actually arrive at AA. When a pilot retires from AA, his A-Fund benefit is determined by a calculation that includes his 'final averaged earnings' and his time of service. There is also a vesting requirement in order to participate in the A-Fund. Under the award, these pilots will receive retroactive credit for vesting, but not for time of service.
d. Upon transfer to AA, pilots will have their B-Plan fund retroactively credited at 11% of 73 hours per month at MD-80 First Officer rates of pay. The applicable rate of pay will begin at first step based on the date pilots would have transferred to AA under Arbitrator Nicolau's original award and increase one pay step for each year thereafter.
e. Their sick bank will be adjusted to reflect AA's higher accrual and higher cap. Therefore, pilots transferring to AA will transfer their sick bank hours and have additional hours to reflect the appropriate level of the sick bank had the pilot transferred to AA under Arbitrator Nicolau's initial award.
f. Their vacation bank will be adjusted to reflect any higher accrual rate at AA had the pilot transferred to AA under Arbitrator Nicolau's initial award.
2. To determine the 244 pilots who will receive the items listed in paragraph 1 above, the most senior 286 flow-through pilots will be asked to decide whether or not they are willing to transfer to AA under these provisions. Once 244 out of the 286 have been identified, that will constitute the maximum number of pilots who will receive the transfer benefits listed in paragraph 1 above.
3. Once the 244 pilots from paragraph 2 have been identified, the most senior 35 will transfer to AA in June of 2010. AA may accomplish this transfer in one or two training classes, but must complete the transfer in the month of June.
4. Following the June transfer of the 35 most senior flow-through pilots who accept transfer, AA will offer recall to all of the pilots furloughed on February 28, 2010.
5. Once the most junior AA pilot furloughed on February 28, 2010 has been offered recall, all flow-through pilots will be permitted to transfer to AA in strict AA pilot seniority order, but only the most senior 244 who accept this transfer will be provided with the additional benefits identified in paragraph 1 above.
6. Once AA has offered recall/transfer to all pilots on the AA pilot seniority list, including all Eagle flow-through pilots, 1 out of every 2 new hire positions will be offered first to American Eagle pilots. American Eagle will not be required to release more than 20 pilots per month but is required to make every effort to meet this ratio.
7. Once 824 Eagle pilots have transferred to AA under the provisions of paragraph 6 above, AA will not be obligated to transfer any additional pilots to AA.
8. The Arbitrator has ordered the affected parties to negotiate the specifics associated with accomplishing the transfer of 824 Eagle pilots to AA, noted in paragraph 6 above.
We are fully aware that there are additional questions surrounding this award and we are diligently working to provide answers. We will post this bullet point letter on the ALPA.org website and update it with a working Q&A as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience as we analyze this award and determine the answers to your questions.
EGL-MEC Vice Chairman