DOJ Hearing Update
In a joint press release issued last evening, APFA along with TWU, APA, USAPA, AFA and CWA called for a speedy trial date in the AA-US Airways merger litigation process. US Airways and AA filed a Motion yesterday afternoon to set a trial date as early as November 2013.
This morning, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the judge assigned to the DOJ's merger lawsuit, ordered a scheduling conference for next Friday, August 30th in her courtroom. This conference, which will be attended by both US and AA's legal teams as well as the DOJ will begin the process of setting a trial date. The judge has stated that she has a criminal trial set to begin January 14th that is expected to last up to two months. She noted no scheduling conflicts between now and January 14th.
APFA Statement to Bankruptcy Court in Support of Merger Filed Today
to read APFA's pleading in support of the confirmation of AA's Plan of Reorganization, as requested by Judge Lane on August 15th.
Joint "Amicus Brief" Supporting the Merger Filed Today
Today, APFA along with three other unions representing employees of American Airlines and American Eagle, filed an ‘amicus curiae” brief
in support of American’s and US Airway’s motion asking the District Court to start the trial of the Justice Department’s lawsuit on November 12. (“Amicus curiae” means “friend of the court” and is a procedure which allows individuals or entities, who have an interest in the litigation but are not named parties, to advise the court of their position and unique perspective through the submission of pleadings.) DOJ and the six states plus Washington, D.C. which have joined the government want to delay the hearing until February 12, 2014.
Here, the Unions explained to the Court that the seventy thousand employees they represent want this case resolved as soon as possible; that their careers and livelihoods are “inextricably linked” to the outcome of the trial; and that the merger with US Airways is the linchpin which will enable American to compete effectively.
The Department of Justice’s action leaves these airlines in “competitive limbo”, not knowing with any certainty which strategic direction they are headed. As stated in the brief, “And American cannot adopt a long-term strategy until it knows whether or not it is going to be permitted to acquire a network to compete with United and Delta. The damage to competition in the airline industry as a result of a less competitive American must be minimized by a decision on the merits on as prompt as schedule as possible.”
The Unions also point out that American’s market share over the past several years has eroded as United’s, Delta’s and Southwest’s has expanded as a result of their government-approved mergers with Continental, Northwest and Airtran. That disparity will continue for as long as the Justice Department blocks American’s merger with US Airways and keeps these airlines from taking a competitive position on a playing field devised by DOJ.
It is anticipated that the Department will submit a response to the airlines’ motion early next week and the District Court will issue a scheduling order shortly thereafter.