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More on the USAir/American Airlines hearings

For those of you who’ve been following the US Airways / American Airlines merger  (Tweets are courtesy of @JasonWhitely from @wfaachannel8)

June 20:

7:24pm: UPDATE: AmericanAir says it’s “disappointed” the board of its pilots union did not let AA’s 10,000 pilots vote on AA’s final offer.

7:25 pm: UPDATE: AA’s final offer included pay increases, furlough protection, profit sharing, a frozen pension and an equity stake in the new AA.

8:07 pm: UPDATE: Pilots say they’re close to a deal w/ AmericanAir but need clarity on scheduling. They hope to keep negotiating.

June 21

5:16 pm:BREAKING: Two sources tell WFAA that AmericanAir and its pilots asking bankruptcy judge to delay canceling union contracts for another wk.

5:22 pm: BREAKING: Sources say AA, pilots talked to bankruptcy judge in NYC this afternoon. He was supposed to rule on canceling contracts in the AM.

5:24 pm: More than 7,000 union jobs at AA remain at stake in ruling. Pilots say they’re close to an agreement. AA wants to talk to TWU, flight attendants (APFAunity)

5:49 pm: BREAKING: AA bankruptcy judge has postponed ruling on American’s Section 1113 motion for all unions until June 29.

5:50 pm: BREAKING: AmericanAir says the extension will not change the terms of our final offer to the pilots union.

6:54 pm: UPDATE: Pilots union will vote again on @AmericanAir’s final offer on 6/27. AA not renegotiating but will answer questions & clarify.

05/16/2012 US Airways/ American Airlines Merger continues…

Tweets are courtesy of @JasonWhitely from @wfaachannel8

05/16/2012

9:12 am: The Allied Pilots Assoc. to finish its case against American Airlines canceling their contracts. Jim Eaton finishes testimony this AM.

9:12 am: Waiting for judge to begin. It’s a thinner crowd in the overflow room today. Lots of folks have left.

9:18 am: Judge is in the courtroom. Court is in session.

9:24 am: Pilots have 2 witnesses left. Jim Eaton testifying on valuations this AM. AA will argue against Chris Heppner as an expert.

9:24 am: After Heppner and whether the judge allows him to testify, the pilot’s case is complete. Flight attendants will start this afternoon.

9:29 am: Cross-examination of APA’s Jim Eaton is underway. Currently discussing pilot outsourcing to regional jets.

9:30 am: Judge Lane taking a long lunch today so he can hold another hearing via conference call. But he said we’re staying late for APFA testimony.

9:36 am: APFA (flight attendants) President Laura Glading said she expects to testify this afternoon when pilots complete their case.

9:42 am: The unions case will finish by next Wednesday, May 23, judge said. TWU to present Friday or Monday. Next wk is most likely.

9:44 am: Rebuttals by American Airlines and its three unions will now happen on May 25 and then on May 29. Case is going slower than expected.

10:20 am: I did not know Flight Attendants generally not paid to board, deplane passengers, stow luggage, and help before departure, deplaning.

10:31 am: Cross-examination of APA’s Jim Eaton drilling down on AA wanting to fly regional jets. Mainline pilots argue it outsources their jobs.

10:33 am: AA says larger regional jets create jobs, fly add’l passengers to 5 big hubs. Regional feed today provides 10% of AA traffic, airline says.

10:45 am: Cross-examination of Jim Eaton is done. Re-direct was only a few questions. Now judge is considering what to do about Chris Heppner.

10:47 am: Pilots want to call Chris Heppner to talk about medical benefits. AA questions him as an expert.

10:49 am: Judge letting Heppner testify. Told AA to address whether it thinks he’s an expert on medical benefits in cross-examination.

11:24 am: Judge breaking until 1p central time so he can hold another hearing via conference call. Tweets will resume then.

[Break for Lunch  > Stay Tuned for More this afternoon]

1:11 pm: Court back in session. Direct examination of Chris Heppner resuming.

1:56 pm: Re-direct underway on Heppner. His credibility & expertise on medical benefits attacked by AA is being built up again by pilots.

2:04 pm: Judge Sean Lane is impressive. He listens to all the testimony and sometimes follows up atty ? w/ his own questions. No jury. He’s it.

2:09 pm: Testimony from Chris Heppner is complete. Judge to now hear from each side whether his testimony can be considered as an “expert.”

2:12 pm: AA atty on Heppner: “He just knows what his computer tells him.” Airline said pilot’s expert doesn’t know details of what he testified.

2:18 pm: Judge on Heppner: “Is he an expert to talk about the utilization rates to the value of the [retiree medical benefits] plan design?”

2:21 pm: Judge on Heppner: “He doesn’t appear to take ownership of that anaylsis and that’s what troubles me.”

2:22 pm: Judge on Heppner: “He’s not able to put intellectual heft behind it which discounts his opinion.”

2:24 pm:  “There are some weakenesses with that particular bit of testimony,” Judge Lane said on Heppner. Still, testimony is allowed in as evidence.

2:28 pm: Attorneys are adding exhibits and cleaning up a few things from pilots case. Flight attendants case to begin momentarily.

2:28 pm: Pilots case has taken two and a half days.

2:33 pm: “I have a lot of paper,” judge told attys. “I do have a blizzard of details. Judge asked attys to summarize & distill written arguments.

2:40 pm: We’re in a brief break – flight attendants about to start arguments. APFA President Laura Glading testifying first.

2:49 pm: AA UNION JOBS AT STAKE: 4,600 – TWU, 2,300 – Flight attendants, 400 – Pilots.

2:59 pm: AA JOB LOSSES: 12,800 union and non-union jobs to be eliminated as AA reorganizes. Most are union positions. That’s why they’re in court.

3:05 pm: AA and flight attendants say they can get APFA Pres Laura Glading on & off the stand by 5p today.

3:11 pm: Flight attendants beginning their opening statements.

3:12 pm:Flight attendants told me this morning the union has a live feed of testimony, too. For more on FAs, follow @APFAunity, too.

3:18 pm: Glading to testify about AA’s demand of $230M in concessions & how she believes fellow flight attendants will receive that.

3:19 pm: “What is on trial here is the [AA] proposal,” APFA atty Robert Clayman said. AA is asking flight attendants for $230M in cuts annually.

3:20 pm: “If AA’s cuts are imposed,” APFA atty said, flight attendants would make 30% below competitive rates.

3:21 pm: Attorney for flight attendants said AA’s proposed cuts on labor: “It far outstrips any other stakeholders sacrifice.”

3:25 pm: “If the company’s plan doesn’t work … obviously alternatives have to be considered,” said Robert Clayman, attorney for AA flight attendants.

3:28 pm: APFA said if AA is exploring a merger then its current standalone business plan is nothing more than a placeholder.

3:33 pm: APFA atty: AA doesn’t have the luxury of time. There’s an urgency it now must confront. Only cure is consolidation.

3:35 pm: APFA opening statements complete. Laura Glading called to the stand now.’

3:41 pm: LAYOFFS: 5,500 AA jobs already gone in bankruptcy. 2,900 TWU jobs eliminated w/ vote Tues. 2,600 more non-union jobs to be phased out, too.

4:02 pm: APFA’s Laura Glading said the last time @AmericanAir hired a flight attendant was 2000.

4:04 pm: Glading said she agreed to deep cuts in 2003 bc the company needed it and believed in AA’s business plan then. Not now.

4:04 pm: Glading said AA is asking for $230M in cuts from flight attendants. “It’s almost putting a gun in your hand and saying shoot me,” she said.

4:07 pm: Glading on AA’s proposal to cut $230M annually for next 6 yrs.: “It would be physically and financial impossible to get to that number.”

4:08 pm: Glading on AA’s reorganization plan: “You always want things to be successful. To work out. But I don’t believe this can.”

4:16 pm: Direct examination of Laura Glading is complete. AA beginning cross-examination right now.

4:33 pm: Like it did to pilots, AA pointed out that the flight attendants agreement with @USAirways is essentially just an agreement to agree.

4:38 pm: Laura Glading is done. Judge taking a two-minute break.. “so don’t wander too far,” he said

4:50 pm: American’s attorney said flight attendants dismissed the airline’s proposal before the entire plan was ever released.

4:51 pm: AA proposing $230M annually in cuts to flight attendants. @USAirways proposing $153M in cuts to them.

5:07 pm: Had to step out to record a report for our 6p news in DFW. Flight attendants lead negotiator, Anne Loew, is on the stand now.

5:09 pm: Loew said AA’s cuts over a 6yr period were beyond palatable. Direct is done. AA is beginning cross-examination now.

5:35 pm: Flight attendants refuse to eliminate premium pay for serving meals on domestic flights. FAs still set up carts, serve snacks, Loew said.

5:36 pm: Judge Lane said “this case isn’t going to be decided on snacks.” Urged attys to stick to salient points.

5:37 pm: Anne Loew is done. Two witnesses of the five flight attendants plan to call are finished.

5:43 pm: Flight attendants attorneys say they will finish their case on Friday. TWU to begin then. It plans to call 3 witnesses. TWU done by Mon/Tue.

5:44 pm: Rebuttals to begin next Tuesday.

5:47 pm: Court is adjourned until 9:30a Central time Thursday. “This has become a marathon, not a sprint,” Judge Lane said.

[Thursday 05/17/2012 Transcript of tweets via @JasonWhitely Will be posted in a new blogpost.  For previous transcripts of this hearing follow our Blog and go to our USAir/AA Merger category under “Of Interest”

US Airways/ American Airlines Merger continues…

Tweets are courtesy of @JasonWhitely from @wfaachannel8

[My apologies, as I may have missed a few tweets.]

Monday May 14, 2012:

10:41 am: Direct-examination of Neil Roghair just completed. Court is in a ten minute recess.

10:43 am: Before the break Roghair testified that pilots union agreed to $240M in cuts to @USAirways. Offering $270M to @AmericanAir. It wants $370M.

10:44 am: ROGHAIR: “What’s been driving the decline of AA over the last couple years is the migration of business accts over to Delta and United.”

10:47 am: ROGHAIR ON @USAirways: ““We want to hitch our careers to a thriving and successful business plan.”

10:55 am: Judge Lane has returned. Cross-examination of Neil Roghair is beginning.

11:10 am: In cross-examination, @AmericanAir attorney grilling Neil Roghair on valuations, codesharing specifics.

11:55 am: AA attorney picking apart the pilots deal with @USAirways saying all details incldg seniority & $240M in savings have not been worked out.

12:00 pm: Pilots lead negotiator, Neil Roghair, admitted pilots gave @USAirways things it refuses to give to @AmericanAir.

12:01 pm: Judge taking a 1:15 lunch break. AA attorney has few more questions for Roghair when court resumes at 1:15p Central.

More to come…..

01:16 pm: Just got back up to court from a quick lunch. Awaiting Judge Lane to call court back to order. AA cross-examining Roghair a few more mins.

01:28 pm: Court resumes…

2:04 pm: Judge gave attorneys a brief recess to sort out a procedural issue.

2:25 pm: Both sides are done with Neil Roghair. Yearley and the NY firm he works for aid companies, employee groups in restructuring.

2:49 pm: Yearley on AA’s future profits, while slashing labor costs: “Analysts would be shocked at this level of profitability” in the future.

3:01 pm: Yearley said this isn’t the forum to weigh benefits a merger. But AA has a network problem. It’s never been an if but when AA consolidates.

3:08 pm: Yearley questions how AA decided this was the right time to invest in 460 new aircraft. And did AA consider alternatives to it?

3:10 pm: AA has said the largest aircraft order in history will reduce maintenance costs, be more fuel efficient & attract back high value customers.

3:18 pm: Yearley said no need canceling contracts should be rushed through the court right now especially as AA sits on $5-billion in cash.

3:19 pm: Yearley added AA has bragged recently that the airline’s recent performance [under existing labor contracts] has been the best in years.

3:57 pm: Yearley conceded that AA’s aircraft, products lack when compared to big competitors like Delta and United. Harder to attract biz customers.

3:58 pm: Yearley agreed with American Airlines attorneys that adding new aircraft and new amenities should help attract the high-value customer.

4:08 pm: With an hour left in the court day, AA attorney said he would not finish cross-examination of Andrew Yearley this evening.

4:09 pm: Pilots have four more witnesses to call after Yearley. Doubtful pilots will hand off to flight attendants by tomorrow.

4:11 pm: Judge taking a brief recess.

7:02 pm: Court recessed at 6:15p. Both sides done with Andrew Yearley. APA’s Allison Clark to testify Tues. about the company’s proposals.

7:05 pm: Big development Tues. will be whether the TWU ground wrkrs, mechanics accept or reject AA’s final offer. Results due at 8:30am-ish on Tues.

Will be continued in new post tomorrow 05/15/2012

More on the American Airlines / USAirways Merger

Source WFAA’s   @JasonWhitely

04/26/2012 ~4:26 @AmericanAir still expected to finish presenting its case to cancel labor contracts in NY Bankruptcy court this Friday.

04/26/2012 ~4:28 @AmericanAir exec Jeff Brundage finished testimony in NYC bankruptcy court. He talked about need for cost reduction, history of negotiation.

04/26/2012 ~04:28 @AmericanAir pilots, flight attendants, and ground workers unions begin presenting their cases against cancelling their contracts on May 14.

Will post as more available

Continuing Story: American Air Bankruptcy/Merger

This is the continuation of yesterday’s tweets via @JasonWhitely.  To see yesterday’s story go to http://wp.me/p2epql-6R

9:07am Judge entered courtroom. Allied Pilots Association cross-examining @AmericanAir witness Jerry Glass, an airline analyst. #aawfaa

9:26am Cross-examination of the airline analyst is mundane so far. Flight attendants atty is questioning Jerry Glass’ testimony, expertise. #aawfaa

9:31am PIC: Here’s a pic and bio of Beverly Goulet – @AmericanAir’s 1st of 3 executives who will testify this morning. bit.ly/IBCwI8 #aawfaa

9:37am AA atty objecting to Flight Attendants atty for not keeping questions on AA biz plan. The judge got a few laughs with his response. #aawfaa

9:38am JUDGE: “We’d like to finish this hearings sometime this calendar year. That’s why I want [attys] to connect the dots.” #aawfaa

9:41am JUDGE: “We seem to be hopscotching around.” APFA: “One of the probs the court is experiencing is you’re dealing with 3 diff groups.” #aawfaa

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1:29pm TWU sending @AmericanAir’s new contract offer to union membership vote next wk. Tally expected by May 14. Deal saves about 3k jobs. #aawfaa

1:57am AA EXEC GOULET: “I think there are advantages to larger networks. Yes.” But she wouldn’t concede that AA must merge to grow. #aawfaa

AA Bankruptcy and AMR Merger

@JasonWhitely is in NYC tweeting live on the @AmericanAir Bankruptcy & AMR Merger

Here is a transcript of the mornings posts (more will be posted as it is available)

7:44am PIC: 300+ @AmericanAir flt attendants, TWU ground wrkrs staging in NY’s Battery Park b4 rally against contract cuts. http://ow.ly/i/A7S4

7:47am PIC: Laura Glading, pres. of @AmericanAir flt attendants union, 1 of several spkrs at NY rally against contract cuts. http://ow.ly/i/A7VI

7:54am PIC: US Bankruptcy Court in NYC where @AmericanAir will start making its case for canceling union contracts. http://ow.ly/i/A7Y4

8:20am “A merger w/ @USAirways is the path we must take,” AA Flight Attendants Union Pres Laura Glading said at NY rally. “Get this merger done!”

@AmericanAir Union Leader at rally in NYC: “We will not stand by and let the judiciary gut our families.”

8:30am PIC: An estimated 750 @AmericanAir flt attendants, ground wrkrs, mechanics rallying in NYC across from court. http://ow.ly/i/A8dl

8:35am PIC: Press of TWU, @AmericanAir’s mechanics & ground wrkrs: “This isn’t a bankruptcy process. This is a crime scene.” http://ow.ly/i/A8fK

@AmericanAir union wrkrs in NY chanting: “AA got bailed out. We got sold out.” Referencing concessions keeping AA out of bankruptcy in 2003.

8:50am NOW: Large, loud rally of chanting @AmericanAir union employees marches, stands in front of NYC bankruptcy court: http://ow.ly/i/A8nX

9:11am AA BANKRUPTCY: TWU agreed to send @AmericanAir’s last offer to membership for a vote. Tally not known until next wk.

9:11am Just got inside the NY Bankruptcy court. Courtroom is packed. Two overflow rooms w/ TV of proceedings are jammed as well.

9:33am AA BANKRUPTCY: Why is NYC hearing a big deal? Almost $1B in cuts on the line including 13K jobs. @AmericanAir is 1 of largest DFW emplyrs.

9:33am Sources say at least one @USAirways executive attended the @AmericanAir union rally outside bankruptcy court.

9:58am AA BANKRUPTCY: @AmericanAir atty says management earns “below market” salaries while union employees earn above market pay.

10:32am AA BANKRUPTCY: Pilots Union atty: “How we got here is more in the company’s declarations than Mr. Gallagher’s (AA Atty) presentation.”

10:32am AA BANKRUPTCY: Pilots union atty says @AmericanAir pilots took 23% pay decrease in 2003. That’s 1992 levels.

10:35am AA BANKRUPTCY: Pilots union atty tells NYC judge that labor has been betrayed with @AmericanAir executive bonuses & compensation.

10:50am AA BANKRUPTCY: @AmericanAir pilots union atty expects AA to merge post-bankruptcy. Unions suggest do it now and save jobs.

10:52am AA BANKRUPTCY: @AmericanAir pilots atty says these are draconian cuts. Continues to advocate merger w/ @USAirways to the bankruptcy judge.

10:55am AA BANKRUPTCY: Atty for flight attendants giving opening now. Says avg age for @AmericanAir FA is 51. Avg salary is $45K .

10:57am AA BANKRUPTCY: Flight attendants atty says labor went through ‘bankruptcy’ in 2003 – it was out of court. We gave AA exactly what it needed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1:18pm DEVELOPING: @AmericanAir says it offered TWU ground workers new offer that will save “substantial # of jobs.” Membership now voting on it.

1:20pm AA BANKRUPTCY: Attorneys representing all six sides (unions, airline, pension org, and unsecured creditors) finished opening statements.

1:20pm AA BANKRUPTCY: Airline now calling 1st of its 12 witnesses. It’s an analyst detailing @AmericanAir’s performance against competitors.

1:54am DEVELOPING: @AmericanAir quietly made a new offer to TWU ground workers that would save several thousand jobs. Wrkrs voting on it this wk.

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