ALPA Pays $53 Million To Ex-TWA Pilots
The Air Line Pilots Association will pay $53 million to settle a lawsuit in which former TWA pilots alleged the union failed to properly defend their seniority rights. The pilots were working for TWA when it was bought out of bankruptcy by American Airlines. Many of the TWA pilots were put on the bottom of the American seniority list and in the air travel slump after the 9/11 attacks they were the first to be laid off. ALPA represented the TWA pilots but the Allied Pilots Union represented American pilots.
Some of the affected TWA pilots launched a suit in 2002 and a jury ruled in their favor in 2011. The trial to determine damages to be paid by ALPA was to begin in March but the union offered to settle instead. ALPA told its members that much of the settlement, which will also pay the legal costs of the pilots, will be covered by insurance and the remainder won't affect day-to-day operations of the union. "With initial damages sought in the billions, this settlement, while significant, is far less than what the plaintiffs pursued," ALPA President Lee Moak said in a letter to members. "And because of our preparation and risk management, ALPA will make our portion of the payment without impairing our operations or services, without assessing our members, and without raising dues." A judge has to approve the settlement and both sides in the suit will figure out how to distribute the money.