General Topics

Here are some common topics of discussion we have heard come up when discussing an APA to ALPA merger on the line.


The pilots of American Airlines need union representation with the resources worthy of the largest airline in the US. A merger between APA and ALPA will provide our elected union representatives with the training, tools, and support they need to successfully advocate for our pilots.

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A Tale of Two Mergers

ALPA's Merger Policy provides more protection for member pilots in a corporate merger between two ALPA-member airlines than federal law provides in a corporate merger involving one or more non-ALPA airlines.

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Dues at ALPA vs. APA

As Warren Buffett has said, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." The dues rate paid to is the price, and the resources provided is the value. Read more on the differences in the price of representation below.

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Previous Union Mergers into ALPA

Over the past 25 years, the pilots of Continental Airlines, FedEx Express, AirTran Airways, and Frontier Airlines all joined ALPA via a merger process. This article summarizes the four executed merger agreements.

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Frequently Asked ALPA Questions

Since the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution posted on the upcoming APA Board of Directors agenda, we have received a lot of great questions about ALPA, the merger process, and misconceptions about what joining ALPA would mean for our pilot group. We address them below. Please continue to bring questions to our attention as you think of them!

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Previous FedEx Pilots Association President on Merging with ALPA

Captain David Webb (Retired) was the FedEx Pilots Association (FPA) President that led the FedEx pilot group back to ALPA in 2001. We reached out to retired FedEx Captain David Webb to hear his thoughts on bringing the FedEx pilot group back to ALPA in 2001. Enjoy the read!

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Flight Pay Loss at ALPA vs. APA

While both APA and ALPA compensate pilots for trips lost to union work, ALPA’s system improves on APA’s in two key respects. Click to learn more!

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Both APA and ALPA provide resources to its membership, volunteers, elected representatives, and staff. What are the differences?

ALPA's Resources Guide

Here is a summation of the ALPA's resources. We will compare these resources with APA's resources with our future updates to this website.

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Contract Negotiations Under ALPA

ALPA is making industry-level decisions today affecting not just ALPA pilots, but also the pilots of APA by default. Unfortunately, as members of an independent union, we have no inputs on those decisions impacting us. It is time we do.

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E&FA at ALPA vs. APA

ALPA’s E&FA Department has an enduring “built to last” infrastructure with a vast wealth of experience and credibility. APA’s E&FA Committee consists of voluntary members with outstanding financial credentials but will likely have significant turnover resulting in a loss of institutional memory.

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Elected Officer Training

The Leadership Conference ALPA provides is extensive, with a broad range of professional training intensity and networking opportunities with elected officials at other ALPA carriers. By contrast, APA provides a short orientation for new Domicile Officers that requires on-the-job training to fill in any gaps.

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Election Administration

ALPA's electronic balloting process is battle-tested and fully compliant with DOL rules with very few election protests. By contrast, APA's mail-in ballot process is cumbersome, difficult to use, and exposed to numerous pitfalls that affect how many pilot voices are heard.

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Grievances 101

ALPA International has an extensive grievance process, backed by full-time staff to include experts in contractual and legal matters. This results in a powerful union that not only negotiates a contract but also enforces that contract…providing member pilots with the full support required when a dispute arises.

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Legislative Programs

ALPA Governmental Affairs brings lobbying muscle and advocacy to Washington, D.C. backed by over 60,000 pilots and AFL-CIO membership. APA is represented in its lobbying efforts independently and as a part of CAPA, which represents approximately 30,000 pilots. Imagine the power and influence available to the pilots of American Airlines and the airline pilot profession in the United States if these efforts were combined into one organization.

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ALPA's Recent FFDO Support

ALPA International’s President, Captain Joe DePete recently hosted a Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) symposium at ALPA Headquarters, attended by ALPA pilots, pilots of other unions, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) FFDO Office, Federal Air Marshall Service (FAMS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Read more below!

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ALPA's Major Contingency Fund

ALPA’s $100 million war chest, known as the Major Contingency Fund, or MCF, provides the ability of any member airline to fund contract negotiation and/or other efforts vital to pilot representation.

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Strategic Planning at ALPA vs. APA

ALPA has resources that train, equip, and support its member airlines with a Strategic Plan that reflects the pilot group’s desires and environment while being mindful of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

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APA and ALPA have similarities and differences in their representational governance. Let's talk about them!

Local Representation

This article will focus on the top of the hierarchy of both structures: The Membership. 

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Role of the Officers

The officers' primary role under both unions is to implement the direction of their governing body. The structure plays a significant role in how well the union functions.

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Domicile Structure

This article helps explain the “domicile” representation structure. Although this structure is common to both APA and ALPA, there are some key differences that will be explained here.

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ALPA and Large Governing Bodies

The system that is “baked in” at every large ALPA carrier ensures there are opportunities for every viewpoint to be represented. ALPA support simplifies workload division amongst officers and effectively prevents micromanagement.

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Check Airman Representation

Check Airmen at most airlines are union members, and the Check Airmen of American Airlines are no exception. This article addresses how Check Airmen are represented at AA and contrasts that with representation options at ALPA carriers.

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Intro to "ALPA National"

We will have every bit as much autonomy to engage our airline under ALPA as we do now. ALPA National's governing bodies deal with other issues. For those issues, we would have substantial influence. At the moment, we have none.

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ALPA National Governing Bodies

ALPA operates under three branches of government. These bodies work in concert to conduct ALPA’s business and advance its goals and objectives. Every ALPA pilot group is represented in all three branches.

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ALPA National Officers

ALPA's four National Officers supervise and coordinate ALPA's affairs and its functions. They also execute the strategic direction for the piloting profession set forth by the ALPA BOD and guided by every airline's MEC Chairman.

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ALPA Executive Vice Presidents

ALPA’s EVPs represent their respective pilot groups on the Executive Council. The AA pilots will be afforded an EVP position when they rejoin ALPA. These positions ensure representation of every pilot group on a routine basis at ALPA National regardless of which pilots are elected to be the National Officers.

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ALPA's Constitution & Bylaws

ALPA's C&B is the governing document that all ALPA member airlines fall under. We will publish more information soon comparing APA and ALPA's governance structure.

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APA's Constitution & Bylaws

APA's C&B outlines the rules of the road for the association. We will publish more information soon comparing APA and ALPA's governance structure.

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Trip Trade with DDR

Our union’s rules permit reps to send any unelected pilot (with no election or training) in for union meetings they are unable to attend. ALPA reps must use elected pilots, who typically have received leadership training, when they miss meetings.

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Past APA to ALPA Merger Efforts

The have been two attempts since 2000 to initiate a merger between APA and ALPA. Both efforts lacked a critical element: the engagement of the pilots of American Airlines. 

The 2001 ALPA Exploratory Committee

The APA Board of Directors published the attached report for consideration in March 2001. Between a pending merger and 9/11, this effort was overcome by events before the membership was engaged by the Board.

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The 2018 Contemporary Airline Benchmark Analysis Committee Report

Several domiciles passed resolutions to form a Merger Exploratory Committee with ALPA in 2017. In response, the APA BOD created the CABAC and follow-on report. A Merger Exploratory Committee was never formed.

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ALPA and APA History

Historical accounts of both APA and ALPA are in this section. We will endeavor to add more recent history of both unions as we collect more information.

Flying the Line, Volume I

This is ALPA's account of the first 50 years of its history, starting with its beginnings in 1931. Chapters 21 and 22 give ALPA's account of the origins of APA.

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The Legacy of AA Pilot Unionism

This is APA's historical account of the AA pilot group's union activities from the 1930's through its 1959 contract. 

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APA's Founding

This is APA's accounting of the AA pilot group's split from ALPA in 1963.

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APA's History through 1979

This is APA's accounting of its first couple decades of history up until the airline industry changed forever due to deregulation.

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Flying the Line, Volume II

This is ALPA's account of the airline industry's period of deregulation in the 1970's through the early 1990's. Chapter 16 gives ALPA's account of the origins of the notorious "B-Scale."

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