A Squandered Opportunity: A Timeline of the APA-ALPA Merger Process

June 29, 2022

A Resolution is Introduced

The APA BOD posted a resolution on its agenda that contemplates the formation of an APA-ALPA Merger Committee. This committee proposed negotiating a tentative merger agreement between APA and ALPA for APA BOD and membership consideration. The resolution ensured merger discussions would not impede negotiations for a new contract for AA pilots. The resolution also ensured that if a merger were to occur, the interests of APA and its pilots were protected.

July 19, 2022

A Debate, A Survey, and an Invitation

According to an APA BOD member, the Board received more Sound Offs advocating for a merger negotiation between APA and ALPA leading up to this meeting than anything related to contract negotiations since APA opened in January 2019 through the July Special BOD Meeting. Key events that happened at this meeting included:
- The APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution continued in its Drafting Committee.
- The APA BOD directed a survey of the membership on the topic of an APA-ALPA merger.
  - The APA BOD unanimously passed a motion to invite ALPA President Joseph DePete to address the APA BOD and membership its next at the Special BOD Meeting.

August 2, 2022

Invitation Rescinded

Since too many APA BOD members planned to miss the August Special Meeting, the invitation for ALPA President Joe DePete to address the APA BOD and membership was postponed to a later date by mutual agreement.

August 9, 2022

A Survey Fails to Launch

The APA BOD spent 45 minutes debating how to evaluate survey questions for the ALPA survey. No ALPA survey was approved for the membership.

August 31, 2022

ALPA Survey Approved

After significant pressure from the APA membership, the APA BOD approved the questions and publication for an ALPA Survey. Read the minutes. Listen to the debate.

September 9, 2022

A Muted Survey Launch

The APA released the ALPA Survey on Friday, September 9, 2022. The only initial announcement was in the body of an APA Weekly News Digest. No end date to the survey was provided. 

September 12, 2022

Dedicated Announcement of the ALPA Survey

The APA sent email and text message communications to the AA pilot group about the ALPA survey being open. The APA announced a close date of October 7, 2022.

October 7, 2022

The ALPA Survey Closes

The ALPA Survey closes. 53% of the membership participated, which was on par with the most recent Negotiating Survey participation of 55% participation.

November 4, 2022

A Unity Statement

Over 80 past pilot union leaders endorse the following statement:

As fellow American Airlines pilots who have centuries of union leadership experience between us, we believe a merger between APA and ALPA will create a more effective trade union. A combined APA-ALPA will strengthen the pilot profession as a whole. A merger will also combine the best aspects of both associations to improve the governance of and advocacy for the pilots of American Airlines.

We urge the APA Board of Directors to pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. Start the process and give the pilots of American Airlines the opportunity to make an informed choice about their representation.

November 7, 2022

AA Pilots Voice Their Support to the APA BOD

Ten APA members addressed the APA BOD and National Officers; nine of those members specifically urged the APA BOD to pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. The most members that had addressed the APA BOD at a Membership Hour in times past was six.

November 7, 2022

A Convincing Survey

Professional pollster Phil Comstock in conjunction with UNH debriefed the ALPA Survey Results to the APA BOD. Key takeaways included:

- The survey was deemed reliable and Mr. Comstock recommended the BOD pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. He also noted the participation in this survey was equivalent to the last contract survey conducted by APA.

- 67% of the AA pilot group are in favor of exploring what a merger between APA and ALPA looks like. 52% of AA pilots were strongly in favor. Only 18% of AA pilots are strongly opposed to seeing what a merger with ALPA looks like.

- This survey was conducted while APA leadership was consistently telling the membership that a contract TA vote was imminent. Mr. Comstock commented that if the survey was conducted after the events of the last two weeks, then the survey would likely have been more favorable to an ALPA merger discussion.

Watch the Debrief

November 11, 2022

The APA-ALPA Merger Process is Born

The APA BOD significantly changed the wording and process of the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution by adding an “Exploratory” step to the process. Read the resolution.

December 8, 2022

The Election of the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee

The APA BOD elected the following members to the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee before their January deadline:

Captain Thomas Duncan (Chair)
First Officer Pat Clark (Deputy Chair)
Captain Eric Ferguson
Captain Robert Hamilton
First Officer Ryan Mauldin

Watch the committee debate and election.

January 4, 2023

APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory SMEs Hired

APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee Chair CA Tom Duncan reported that his committee has engaged in initial discussions with ALPA General Manager Dave Krieger and is planning to attend the ALPA Leadership Conference slated for Feb. 7-9. He also noted that the committee is planning to submit a data request to ALPA, and that it is reasonable to expect a similar request from ALPA to APA. As part of the committee’s presentation, the Board approved the following motions:

- To direct the President to execute a retention agreement with Allison, Slutsky & Kennedy, subject to review and approval by the Senior Director of Legal Affairs, for the purpose of providing advice and counsel.
- To direct the President to execute a retention agreement with Jalmer Johnson Consulting, subject to review and approval by the Senior Director of Legal Affairs, for the purpose of providing consulting services.
- To set the committee’s budget at $362,452 as presented by the committee.

February 9, 2023

The Committee Communicates with the Membership

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee communicated with the membership directly, providing a summary of its charter, its members and Subject Matter Experts, and the committee's recent and upcoming activities, including the committee's ALPA Leadership Training Conference.

March 7, 2023

Summary of the ALPA Leadership Training Conference

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee had the following update for the APA BOD at the March 7-9 Special BOD Meeting:

- A summary of the committee's attendance at the ALPA Leadership Training Conference
- Mention of a potential merger between the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) and ALPA based on conversations at the Leadership Training Conference
- A description of the committee's activities in March, including an in-person visit to ALPA March 14-16
- A plan to address the APA BOD at the April Special BOD meeting with updates from the March 14-16 visit and a potential merger agreement between ACPA and ALPA
- A request for the APA BOD to schedule a two-day special meeting dedicated to the presentation of the committee's final report along with its findings and recommendations

March 9, 2023

A Meeting is Scheduled

At the request of the Chairman of the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee, the APA BOD scheduled a Special Meeting dedicated to the Committee's final report, including its findings and recommendations regarding negotiating a merger agreement with ALPA. The meeting was scheduled to take place at APA Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, on 6/1/23-6/2/23.

April 5, 2023

Another Independent Union Announces a Merger into ALPA

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee presented an interim report to the Board, which included an overview of the Air Canada Pilots Association’s in-process consideration of a merger between ACPA and ALPA. Among the highlights:

- The current ACPA Collective Bargaining Agreement would remain in effect
- Dues checkoff would remain in effect
- ACPA supplement benefits programs would remain in effect
- There would be continuity of local elected representatives - The merger would not result in the loss of pre-merger ACPA funds for Air Canada pilots’ use under ALPA
- All ACPA employees on the effective date of the merger would be offered employment at ALPA.

April 5, 2023

A Unanimous Consensus

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee announced a unanimous consensus had been reached:

Our preliminary impression is that ALPA has the resources necessary to support the representation of the American Pilots in many areas, including bargaining, contract administration, legal, communications, air safety, government relations, and strategic planning.

Based on our investigation thus far, the Committee is unanimous that there is merit in proceeding to “Phase 2". A proposed merger agreement would answer how the issues raised in the Resolution might be resolved. The Committee is also unanimous that, as part the due diligence aspect of Phase 2, the Board of Directors consider traveling to ALPA headquarters in order to receive direct, face-to-face input from the relevant ALPA representatives, similar to what our Committee has received. Those direct interactions have been critical in giving us a fuller understanding of ALPA, what it has to offer, and what the structure of a merged union would look like. We believe the Board should have the benefit of the same level of information. 

May 15, 2023

A Call to Build Unity Through an APA-ALPA Merger

An AA pilot addressed the APA BOD at the Regular Spring Meeting's Membership & Guest Hour to advocate pursuing a merger between APA and ALPA, characterizing a merger as “marrying the best of both worlds.” He encouraged the APA BOD to build upon the unity they gained through recent contract activities, such as the strike vote, and take advantage of the common ground proved out in the November ALPA Survey.

May 31, 2023

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee Report

The APA-ALPA Merger Committee's final report is released for membership review.

June 1, 2023

APA BOD Disregards the AAMEC's Recommendations

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee spent an entire business day briefing and summarizing its final report. After recommending the APA BOD proceed to the Negotiation Phase, the BOD elected to end the the APA-ALPA Merger Process.

June 2-3, 2023

Misinformation Published from APA HQ

In response to the overwhelming anger from a disregarded American Pilot membership, APA lied and misrepresented what the Merger Exploratory Committee's Report and Presentation said. They made it clear to the American Pilots they cannot be trusted to negotiate an APA-ALPA Merger Agreement.

Read the Straight & Level Here

We used the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee's Report to set the record straight on the significant amount of misinformation our in-house union published to the membership. Read more!