oversight

Airline Labor Relations: Information on Trends and Impact of Labor Actions

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-06-13.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Chairman, Committee on Commerce,
             Science, and Transportation,
             U.S. Senate


June 2003
             AIRLINE LABOR
             RELATIONS
             Information on Trends
             and Impact of Labor
             Actions




GAO-03-652
                                                June 2003


                                                AIRLINE LABOR RELATIONS

                                                Information on Trends and Impact of
Highlights of GAO-03-652, a report to the       Labor Actions
Chairman, Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate




Labor negotiations in the airline
                                                Since the airline industry was deregulated in 1978, the average length of
industry fall under the Railway
Labor Act. Under this act, airline              negotiations has increased, strikes have declined, and nonstrike work actions
labor contracts do not expire, but              (e.g., sickouts) have increased. After 1990, the median length of time needed
instead, become amendable. To                   for labor and management at U.S. major airlines to reach agreement on
help labor and management reach                 contracts increased from 9 to 15 months. Of the 16 strikes that occurred at
agreement before a strike occurs,               those airlines since 1978, 12 occurred prior to 1990, and 4 occurred
the act also provides a process—                subsequently. All ten court-recognized, nonstrike work actions and all six
including possible intervention by              presidential interventions occurred since 1993.
the President—that is designed to
reduce the incidence of strikes.                Summary of Negotiation Trends Since Deregulation
Despite these provisions,
negotiations between airlines and
their unions have sometimes been
contentious, and strikes have
occurred.

Because air transportation is such
a vital link in the nation’s economic
infrastructure, a strike at a major
U.S. airline may exert a significant
economic impact on affected
communities. Additionally, if an
airline’s labor and management
were to engage in contentious and
prolonged negotiations, the
airline’s operations—and customer
service—could suffer.

GAO was asked to examine trends
in airline labor negotiations in the            Airline strikes have had obvious negative impacts on communities, including
25 years since the industry was                 lost income for striking and laid off workers, disrupted travel plans, and
deregulated in 1978, the impact of
                                                decreased spending by travelers and the struck airline. However, such
airline strikes on communities, and
the impact of lengthy contract                  impacts have yet to be thoroughly and systematically analyzed. The potential
negotiations and nonstrike work                 net impacts of a strike on a community would depend on a number of factors,
actions (such as “sickouts”) on                 such as availability of service from competing (nonstriking) airlines and the
passengers.                                     length of the strike. For example, of two recent strikes, one lasted 15 days
                                                and one lasted 24 minutes.

                                                GAO’s analysis indicates that passenger service has been affected more
                                                adversely by nonstrike work actions than by an increase in the length of
                                                negotiations. Generally, but not always, as negotiation periods increased,
                                                there has been a slight decline in on-time flights. However, the impact of
                                                these negotiations has been unclear because the decline may also have been
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-652.          affected by other factors such as poor weather. By comparison, the 10 court-
                                                recognized, nonstrike work actions more clearly resulted in negative impacts
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.       on passengers, as shown through such measures as a decrease in the number
For more information, contact JayEtta Z.        of on-time flights, an increase in the number of flight problem complaints, and
Hecker at (202) 512-2834 or                     a decrease in passenger traffic.
HeckerJ@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Results in Brief                                                           3
               Background                                                                 5
               Length of Negotiations and Number of Nonstrike Work Actions
                 Have Increased, While Number of Strikes Has Declined                     9
               Airline Strikes Adversely Affect Communities, but Impacts Have
                 Not Been Fully Analyzed and Vary from Place to Place                   17
               Nonstrike Work Actions Have Greater Impacts on Passengers than
                 Lengthy Negotiations                                                   24
               Agency Comments                                                          31

Appendix I     Additional Questions                                                     33



Appendix II    Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                       35



Appendix III   Additional Background Information on the Railway
               Labor Act                                                                38
               Key Provisions of the RLA                                                38
               Collective Bargaining Process under the RLA                              39

Appendix IV    Contracts Negotiated and Ratified or Settled by
               the Amendable Date                                                       41



Appendix V     Airline Strikes That Have Occurred Since
               Deregulation                                                             42



Appendix VI    Court-recognized, Nonstrike Work Actions Since
               Deregulation                                                             43




               Page i                                    GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VII    Number of Presidential Interventions Since
                Deregulation                                                                44



Appendix VIII   Comments from the National Mediation Board                                  45



Appendix IX     GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                      51
                GAO Contacts                                                                51
                Staff Acknowledgments                                                       51


Tables
                Table 1: Unions Representing Selected Crafts or Classes at Major
                         Passenger Airlines as of February 1, 2003                            5
                Table 2: States That Include Binding Arbitration or Last, Best Offer
                         Arbitration as a Dispute Resolution Option                         33
                Table 3: Congressional Interventions in Railroad Negotiations               34


Figures
                Figure 1: Summary of Negotiation Trends Since Deregulation                    3
                Figure 2: Collective Bargaining Process under the Railway Labor
                         Act                                                                  8
                Figure 3: Length of Time Taken to Negotiate Contracts, 1978 to
                         2002                                                               11
                Figure 4: Median Negotiation Lengths by Carrier                             12
                Figure 5: Frequency of Strikes, Presidential Interventions, and
                         Court-recognized, Nonstrike Work Actions by Year                   15
                Figure 6: 2001 Market Shares for Major Airlines at Their Hubs               21
                Figure 7: Spoke Communities Served from Cincinnati and
                         Minneapolis-St. Paul Retain Service from Competing
                         Airlines                                                           23
                Figure 8: On-Time Flight Statistics for American and Delta at
                         Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, August 1998 to
                         December 1999                                                      26
                Figure 9: Flight Problem Complaints for American and Delta from
                         August 1998 to December 1999                                       27




                Page ii                                      GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 10: Passengers Carried on American and Delta at
         Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, February 1998
         and 1999                                                         28
Figure 11: On-Time Flight Statistics for Delta and Continental at
         Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, August 2000 to
         August 2001                                                      29
Figure 12: Flight Problem Complaints for Delta and Continental,
         August 2000 to August 2001                                       30
Figure 13: Change in Passenger Traffic on Delta and Continental at
         Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport in December 1999
         and 1 Year Later during the Nonstrike Work Action in
         December 2000                                                    31




Abbreviations

AFA           Association of Flight Attendants
AIRCon        Airline Industrial Relations Conference
ALPA          Air Line Pilots Association
AMFA          Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
APA           Allied Pilots Association
ATA           Air Transport Association
CAPA          Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations
CESTA         Communities for Economic Strength Through Aviation
CWA           Communications Workers of America
DOT           Department of Transportation
IAM           International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
              Workers
IBT           International Brotherhood of Teamsters
NMB           National Mediation Board
PAFCA         Professional Airline Flight Control Association
PEB           Presidential Emergency Board
RLA           Railway Labor Act
SAEA          Southwest Airlines Employee Association
SWAPA         Southwest Airlines Pilots Association
TWA           Trans World Airlines
TWU           Transport Workers Unions
UFA           Union of Flight Attendants




Page iii                                   GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
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Page iv                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   June 13, 2003

                                   The Honorable John McCain
                                   Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
                                   United States Senate

                                   Dear Senator McCain:

                                   Observers of the interactions between airline management and labor have
                                   long characterized these labor relations as contentious and adversarial.
                                   Negotiations between unions and airlines, for example, have taken up to 4
                                   years to complete. Unions and airlines have each prolonged negotiations
                                   for their financial benefit. The importance of labor relations has recently
                                   been magnified by the financial crisis facing many airlines. Since
                                   September 11, 2001, US Airways, United Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines
                                   have entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and American Airlines is fighting to
                                   avoid bankruptcy. US Airways, United, and American have all had to
                                   obtain the consent of their unions for contract concessions to
                                   substantially cut labor costs. At stake, according to industry observers and
                                   financial officials, has been the continued existence of at least two
                                   airlines.

                                   The process under which labor negotiations in the airline industry take
                                   place is substantially different than the process of most other industries.
                                   Airline labor contracts do not expire, and their negotiations can include a
                                   series of steps—including mediation, arbitration, and presidential
                                   interventions—specifically designed to avoid an impasse that would
                                   interrupt the flow of essential commerce. Since 1936, airline labor
                                   negotiations have been conducted in accordance with the requirements of
                                   the Railway Labor Act, which contains an established framework to
                                   reduce the incidence of strikes. Although the act is designed to bring about
                                   settlements without unions resorting to a strike, negotiations between the
                                   airlines and their unions have sometimes been contentious, and strikes
                                   have occurred. Recently, negotiations have at times been marked by
                                   nonstrike work actions, such as sickouts and work slowdowns. These
                                   actions are designed to place economic pressure on an airline.

                                   Because of ongoing concerns about the scope and impact of airline labor
                                   negotiations, you asked us to examine a number of issues concerning
                                   airline negotiations, strikes, and nonstrike work actions. As agreed with
                                   your staff, we examined the following three questions:



                                   Page 1                                       GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
•   What have been the major trends of labor negotiations in the airline
    industry since the industry was deregulated in 1978, including the number
    and length of negotiations and the number of strikes, presidential
    interventions to avoid or end strikes, and nonstrike work actions?

•   What has been the impact of airline strikes on communities?

•   What have been the impacts of the length of negotiations and the
    occurrence of nonstrike work actions on passengers?

    In addition to these questions, you also requested information on states
    using binding and last offer arbitration1 for essential employees and the
    number of times Congress has intervened in railroad labor negotiations in
    the last 25 years. See appendix I for data on states using binding
    arbitration and congressional interventions in railroad negotiations.

    To determine the trends of labor negotiations, we analyzed data on
    negotiations, strikes, and nonstrike work actions from airlines, labor
    unions, the National Mediation Board (NMB), industry groups, and
    academic experts. We also interviewed officials with major U.S. airlines,
    labor unions, the NMB, industry groups, and academic experts. To
    determine the impact of strikes on communities, we reviewed available
    published studies from academics and other experts, and we analyzed data
    on airline schedules. To determine the impact of nonstrike work actions,
    we defined such actions as those in which airlines obtained either
    temporary restraining orders or injunctions against unions to prevent
    various actions. We then analyzed data from the U.S. Department of
    Transportation (DOT) on airline operational performance and passenger
    service. Except where noted, all data collected were current as of
    December 2002. Because of various data limitations, our analyses are
    restricted to major U.S. passenger airlines.2 We did not evaluate the
    efficacy or effectiveness of the Railway Labor Act or the impact of any



    1
     Last offer arbitration is a form of arbitration in which the dispute resolution procedure
    limits an arbitrator to choosing the final offer made by one of the parties.
    2
     DOT defines a “major” airline as one with annual total operating revenues in excess of $1
    billion. For purposes of this report, we include only those major carriers that were in
    business as of 2001 for which we could obtain data (Alaska, America West, American,
    Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, TWA, United, and US Airways). We excluded
    American Eagle, American Trans Air, cargo, and regional airlines, including American
    Eagle, some of which fit the $1 billion criteria, because data for these airlines were not
    available.




    Page 2                                                 GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                   possible changes to the act. Appendix II contains a more complete
                   description of our scope and methodology.


                   Since the airline industry was deregulated in 1978, labor negotiations have
Results in Brief   taken increasing amounts of time and have been marked less by strikes
                   and more by nonstrike work actions. For the contracts we reviewed that
                   had been negotiated between major carriers and labor unions since
                   deregulation, the overall median length for contracts negotiated between
                   1978 and 1989 was 9 months, while the median negotiation time from 1990
                   to 2002 increased to 15 months. (See fig. 1.) However, some carriers such
                   as Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and United
                   Airlines have been more successful than others at reaching agreement
                   with their labor unions in much less time. Of the 16 strikes that occurred,
                   12 took place from 1978 to 1989, and 4 took place since 1990. Various
                   presidential interventions that have prevented or halted 6 strikes have all
                   occurred since 1990, and all 10 court-recognized, nonstrike work actions
                   have also taken place since 1990. Although the complete number of
                   nonstrike work actions is not known because they are difficult to
                   document, our evidence suggests that their use has increased in the past
                   12 years.

                   Figure 1: Summary of Negotiation Trends Since Deregulation




                   Page 3                                         GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
While strikes cause obvious negative impacts on affected communities, we
could identify no published studies that comprehensively analyzed the full
impacts of a past strike. Negative impacts of strikes include the lost
income of striking and laid off workers, disrupted travel plans due to
cancelled flights, decreased spending by the struck airline, and less
spending by travelers. However, the overall economic impact of any past
strike, including direct and indirect effects (and the offsetting effect of
various mitigating factors such as the presence of service from competing
airlines) has not been quantified. Our analysis of past strikes and other
information indicates, however, that a strike’s potential impacts could vary
greatly from community to community. For example, a community with
substantial amounts of service provided by competing airlines is less likely
to be affected than a community that is heavily or entirely dependent on
the service provided by the striking airline, because passengers have
continued access to air service. As a result, a thorough assessment of a
strike’s impact on one community would be difficult to generalize to other
locations.

Our analysis indicates that passenger service has been affected more
adversely by nonstrike work actions than by an increase in the length of
negotiations. Generally, but not always, as negotiation periods increased,
there has been a decline in on-time flights.3 However, the impact of these
negotiations has been unclear, because the decline may also have been
affected by other factors such as poor weather, aircraft maintenance,
runway closures, air traffic control system decisions, or equipment
failures. By comparison, the 10 court-recognized, nonstrike work actions
more clearly resulted in negative impacts on passengers, as shown through
such measures as a decrease in the number of on-time flights, an increase
in the number of flight problem complaints, and a decrease in passenger
traffic. For example, during an American pilot slowdown in 1999, the
percentage of flights that arrived or departed on time declined by 11.6
percentage points. Also, customer flight complaints with DOT about
American nearly quadrupled during the period of the nonstrike work
action, rising from 53 to 203 complaints, while passenger traffic fell by 15
percent as compared to the year before.




3
 DOT defines an on-time flight as one that is less than 15 minutes after the scheduled gate
arrival or gate departure time.




Page 4                                                 GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
             All the major airlines have some union representation of at least part of
Background   their labor force. The various crafts or classes4 that unions typically
             represent include pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and dispatchers.
             Sometimes unions also represent customer service agents and clerical
             workers, aircraft and baggage handling personnel, and flight instructors.
             The extent of unionization among the major carriers varies significantly.
             At Delta, unions represent the pilots and two small employee groups; at
             Southwest, on the other hand, unions represent 10 different employee
             groups. Different unions may represent a given employee craft or class at
             different airlines. For example, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
             represents pilots at United, but the Allied Pilots Association represents
             American pilots. Table 1 summarizes the representation of different crafts
             or classes at the major airlines.

             Table 1: Unions Representing Selected Crafts or Classes at Major Passenger
             Airlines as of February 1, 2003

                                               Flight       Mechanics                      Fleet
                 Airline         Pilots        attendants   and related   Dispatchers      service/ramp
                 Alaska          ALPA          AFA          AMFA          TWU              IAM
                 America West    ALPA          AFA          IBT           TWU              TWU
                 American        APA           APFA         TWU           TWU              TWU
                 Continental     ALPA          IAM          IBT           TWU              (none)
                 Delta           ALPA          (none)       (none)        PAFCA            (none)
                 Northwest       ALPA          IBT          AMFA          TWU              IAM
                 Southwest       SWAPA         TWU          AMFA          SAEA             TWU
                 United          ALPA          AFA          IAM           PAFCA            IAM
                 US Airways      ALPA          AFA          IAM           TWU              IAM

             Legend

             AFA = Association of Flight Attendants

             ALPA = Air Line Pilots Association

             AMFA = Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association

             APA = Allied Pilots Association

             APFA = Association of Professional Flight Attendants



             4
              NMB defines a craft or class as a group of employees seeking representation grouped
             around factors such as their functions, duties, responsibilities, and the general nature of
             the work performed.




             Page 5                                                  GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
IAM = International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

IBT = International Brotherhood of Teamsters

PAFCA = Professional Airline Flight Control Association

SAEA = Southwest Airlines Employee Association

SWAPA = Southwest Airlines Pilot Association

TWU = Transport Workers Unions
Source: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Note: American completed its purchase of Trans World Airlines (TWA) in April 2001, and this table
lists union representation as of February 1, 2003; hence TWA is not included in this table.


In general, airline labor contracts include three major elements: wages,
benefits, and work rules. Work rules generally refer to those sections of a
contract that define issues such as hours to be worked and what work is
to be done by what employees.

Negotiations between airlines and their labor unions on these contracts
are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Railway Labor
Act (RLA). This act was passed in 1926 after the railroads and their unions
agreed to set in place a legal framework that would avoid disruptions in
rail service. The act was amended in 1936, after discussions with airline
labor and management, to include the airline industry and its labor unions.
See appendix III for a summary of the history and key provisions of the
RLA.

Airline labor contracts do not expire; rather, they reach an amendable
date—the first day that the parties can be required to negotiate the terms
of a new contract. Labor negotiations may begin before or after the
amendable date, however. While a new contract is being negotiated, the
terms of the existing contract remain in effect.

Under the RLA, labor negotiations undergo a specific process that must be
followed before a union can engage in any kind of work action, including a
strike, or before a carrier can change work rules, wages, and benefits.5
After exchanging proposed changes to contract provisions, the airline and
the union engage in direct bargaining. If they cannot come to an
agreement, the parties must request mediation assistance from the NMB.
By statute, if the NMB receives a properly completed application for



5
 This limitation on a union’s legal authority to engage in work actions or a carrier’s legal
authority to change work rules is known as “maintaining the status quo.”




Page 6                                                                   GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
mediation, it must make its best effort to mediate an amicable settlement.
If negotiations are deadlocked after mediation, the NMB must then offer
arbitration to both parties. If either party declines arbitration, the NMB
releases the parties into a 30-day cooling-off period. While this process is
set by law, the decision about when the negotiations are deadlocked is left
to the NMB. If the NMB concludes that a labor dispute threatens to
interrupt essential transportation service to any part of the country, the act
directs the NMB to notify the President of this possibility. The President
then can, at his discretion, convene a Presidential Emergency Board
(PEB), which issues a nonbinding, fact-finding report.6 If the President
does not call a PEB, after the 30-day cooling-off period ends the union is
allowed to strike, and the airline is allowed to alter working conditions
unilaterally. These actions are known as self-help. If the President does
convene a PEB, it is given 30 days to hold hearings and recommend
contract terms for a settlement to the parties. The union and the airline
then have an additional 30-day cooling-off period, after the PEB makes its
recommendations to the President, before either can engage in self-help.
After a PEB, Congress may also intervene in the contract dispute by
legislating terms of a contract between a carrier and a union. Congress,
however, has never intervened in airline negotiations since deregulation.
Figure 2 summarizes the key steps in the negotiation process under the
RLA.




6
 The NMB notifies the President that a potential strike would result in a “possible
substantial interference with interstate commerce.” At the President’s discretion, a board
can be established to investigate the dispute between the union and the company and make
recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding on management or
labor. These boards are known as PEBs.




Page 7                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 2: Collective Bargaining Process under the Railway Labor Act




Besides negotiations on contracts that are nearing or have passed the
amendable dates, airline management and labor may also engage in other
negotiations. For example, if an airline introduces a new type of aircraft
into its fleet, management and labor will negotiate “side agreements” to



Page 8                                          GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                      the contract that set pay rates and work rules governing the operation of
                      that aircraft. An example of this situation was when Delta and its pilots
                      settled on pay rates for flying Delta’s newly introduced Boeing 777s in
                      1999. This agreement was an amendment to a contract that was ratified in
                      1996. Conversely, during financially difficult times, an airline’s
                      management and labor may negotiate concessionary agreements before
                      contracts reach the amendable date. For example, since 2001, several
                      airlines have requested pay cuts from their unions due to the precarious
                      financial condition of the airlines. In April 2003, American employees
                      agreed to $1.8 billion in wage, benefit, and work rules concessions to help
                      the airline avoid bankruptcy. In April, United employees represented by
                      ALPA, Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the International
                      Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the Transport
                      Workers Union (TWU), and the Professional Airline Flight Control
                      Association (PAFCA) agreed to $2.2 billion in average yearly savings to
                      avoid liquidation or having all labor contracts abrogated by the bankruptcy
                      court. Through January 2003, US Airways employees, including unionized,
                      nonunionized, and management personnel, agreed to over $1 billion in
                      cuts to avoid liquidation.


                      In the 25 years since deregulation, airline contract negotiation lengths
Length of             have increased while the frequency of strikes has declined, but the number
Negotiations and      of nonstrike work actions have increased. For the 236 contracts that the
                      major passenger airlines negotiated since 1978, available data suggest that
Number of Nonstrike   the median time taken to negotiate contracts has risen substantially since
Work Actions Have     1990, although this varies among the different carriers. In addition, 75
                      percent of strikes occurred prior to 1990. By comparison, all presidential
Increased, While      interventions and all identified nonstrike work actions (such as sickouts
Number of Strikes     or refusals to work overtime) occurred after 1990.
Has Declined




                      Page 9                                      GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Airline Contract           The length of time to negotiate airline contracts has increased since
Negotiation Lengths Have   deregulation. From 1978 to 1989, the median contract negotiation was 9
Increased Since 1978       months while the median negotiation length from 1990 to 2002 increased
                           to 15 months.7 In other words, from 1978 to 1989, half of the contracts
                           were negotiated in more than 9 months while from 1990 to 2002, half of the
                           contracts took more than 15 months to reach an agreement. However, in
                           1978–1989, 6 contracts were ratified or settled by the amendable date
                           where as from 1990–2002, 9 contracts were ratified or settled by the
                           amendable date.8 (In all, during the two time periods from 1978–1989 and
                           1990–2002, the number of negotiations that began before the amendable
                           date were 65 and 51, respectively.) Conversely, the number of contracts
                           that required more than 24 months to negotiate more than doubled
                           between the two periods. Figure 3 summarizes changes in the length of
                           time taken for airline labor negotiations from 1978 to 2002.9




                           7
                            While we measured negotiation length from the date the carriers reported as the start of
                           negotiations through the ratification/settlement date, the NMB measures negotiation
                           lengths from when it first receives a request for mediation services. While NMB’s measure
                           accurately reflects the period of time they are involved in negotiations, our measure was
                           designed to portray the total period involved in negotiations.
                           8
                           See appendix IV for a list of contracts ratified by their amendable date.
                           9
                            We were not able to calculate negotiation lengths for all 236 contracts because key dates
                           were unavailable for 89 contracts: 83 had unknown start dates or ratification/settlement
                           dates, and 6 were listed as first-time contracts.




                           Page 10                                                GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 3: Length of Time Taken to Negotiate Contracts, 1978 to 2002

                                                         1978-89                                      1990-2002
                                                       71 contracts                                  75 contracts
                                                     Median: 9 months                            Median: 15 months


                                                                  Negotiated before amendable date

                                                                                                                12%
                                                          54%             Less than 1 year
                                             8%
                                                                                                       28%
                                                                                                                    29%
                                             24%
                                                                             1-2 years
                                                    14%                                                   31%


                                                                         More than 2 years




                                         Carriers differed in the degree to which their median negotiation lengths
                                         increased—if they increased at all. Negotiation lengths increased at six
                                         carriers that were measured, in some cases more than doubling. On the
                                         other hand, negotiation lengths decreased or remained constant at three:
                                         Continental, United, and Trans World Airlines (TWA). Figure 4 shows the
                                         change in median negotiation lengths at the major U.S. passenger airlines
                                         before and after 1990.




                                         Page 11                                         GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 4: Median Negotiation Lengths by Carrier




Note: America West Airlines was excluded from the measurement because negotiations for this
airline were not listed prior to 1990.
a
 Continental had only one contract pre-1990 that had both a known negotiation start date and
ratification/settlement date.


Contract complexity may play a role in lengthening negotiations. In the
1980s, for example, scope clauses (provisions in labor contracts of the
major airlines and their unions that limit the number of routes that can be
transferred to smaller, regional jets) could be very short—sometimes only
one paragraph. Now, however, such scope clauses can be 60 or more
pages. Also, contracts negotiated during the 1980s tended to consist
mainly of wages and benefits, while those negotiated in the 1990s included




Page 12                                                    GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
corporate governance issues such as code sharing,10 regionals,11 and
furloughs.

Another factor in the length of negotiations is the relationship between
labor and management. According to industry experts who examined
labor relations in the industry, the quality of labor relationships is defined
by the parties’ level of trust, their level of communication, and their ability
to problem solve.12 Those carriers that industry officials and labor-
management experts13 regard as having positive labor relations tended to
have shorter negotiation periods than carriers with acrimonious
relationships. Industry officials noted increased tension within labor-
management relationships during the 1990s, when the industry recovered
from economic hardship to enjoy the biggest boom in its history. An
industry official explained that during the recessionary economic period of
the early 1990s, unions tended to stall negotiations to avoid making
concessions. Conversely, during the peak economic period in the mid to
late 1990s, some airlines’ management tried to further improve their
profits by prolonging negotiations.

Carriers described by industry officials and labor-management experts as
having had positive labor relationships include Continental (following
1993) and Southwest. In the 1990s, their median negotiation periods were
7 and 13 months, respectively. Labor-management experts credit
Continental’s current CEO for creating relationships of trust, and re-
establishing Continental as a profitable carrier after its bankruptcy in the
early 1990s. Industry officials also credit Southwest’s labor relationships to



10
  The Regional Airline Association defines code sharing as when one airline uses the two-
letter designator code of another airline to designate its flights, for example, Comair using
Delta’s designator code (DL) to designate one of its flights.
11
 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aerospace Forecasts defines regional airlines
as those carriers that provide regularly scheduled passenger service and whose fleets are
composed primarily of aircraft having 60 seats or less.
12
 Jody Gittell, Andrew von Nordenflycht, and Thomas Kochan, “Mutual Gains or Zero Sum?
Labor Relations and Firm Performance in the Airline Industry,” Industrial and Labor
Relations Review, (forthcoming), and James Schultz and Marian Schultz, “Northwest
Airlines Strike and Labor Negotiations,” American Association of Behavior Social
Sciences Journal 2 (1999) 254- .
13
  Industry officials represent airline management, airline interest groups and/or industry
sponsored research organizations. Labor-management experts include academics who
study airline labor relations, authors of studies regarding labor relations in the airline
industry and lawyers practicing airline industry labor and employment law.




Page 13                                                 GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                         30 years of profitability while maintaining its original leadership. Both
                         companies have been recognized for extended periods of low conflict in
                         labor negotiations, underpinned by high-trust workplace cultures.14

                         Carriers that have been described by labor-management experts as having
                         had contentious relations with their unions include American, Northwest
                         Airlines, TWA, and US Airways. Also, all have a history of strikes and/or
                         court-recognized, nonstrike work actions. Furthermore, in the 1990s, many
                         of these airlines had negotiations that tended to take much longer than
                         Continental’s and Southwest’s. For example, the median length of time to
                         negotiate contracts at US Airways in the 1990s was 34 months. By
                         contrast, the length of time to negotiate contracts at Southwest was 13
                         months.


Strikes Have Decreased   The incidence of strikes in the airline industry has decreased over time. Of
and Nonstrike Work       the 16 strikes that occurred since 1978, 12 occurred prior to 1990, and 4
Actions Have Increased   occurred subsequently.15 These strikes ranged from as short as 24 minutes
                         to more than 2 years. Figure 5 summarizes the incidence of strikes,
during the 1990s         presidential interventions, and court-recognized, nonstrike work actions16
                         between 1978 and 2002.




                         14
                          Jody Gittel, Andrew von Nordenflycht, and Thomas Kochan, “Mutual Gains or Zero Sum?
                         Labor Relations and Firm Performance in the Airline Industry,” Industrial and Labor
                         Relations Review, (forthcoming).
                         15
                          See appendix V for a description of airline strikes that have occurred since deregulation.
                         16
                           For purposes of this report, we define court-recognized, nonstrike work actions as any
                         labor actions, other than a strike, performed outside of the self-help period and judged
                         necessary by a court of law to warrant a temporary restraining order (TRO) or an
                         injunction. See appendix VI for details on each of these nonstrike work actions.




                         Page 14                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 5: Frequency of Strikes, Presidential Interventions, and Court-recognized, Nonstrike Work Actions by Year




                                         Note: There was one presidential intervention and one court-recognized, nonstrike work action in
                                         2002.


                                         Six presidential interventions have been used to prevent strikes since
                                         deregulation. All six occurred since 1990.17 Not all presidential
                                         interventions were PEBs. In 1993, the President recommended binding
                                         interest arbitration for American’s flight attendant negotiation. In 1998,
                                         and again in 2001, two PEB warnings occurred; one occurred during




                                         17
                                           In the most recent airline strike—the 89-day strike at Delta Connection carrier Comair in
                                         2001—NMB regarded the impact as not significant enough to warrant a presidential
                                         intervention, as they did not believe the strike would substantially threaten to interrupt
                                         interstate commerce to such a degree as to deprive any section of the country essential
                                         transportation service. (The Comair strike was not included in the list of strikes as it is not
                                         a major carrier. See appendix II for additional limitations to the scope of this report.)



                                         Page 15                                                    GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Northwest’s pilot strike and the second for American flight attendants.18
Still, PEBs have been used three times in the airline industry since 1978:
during a 1994 American pilot negotiation, a 1996 Northwest mechanic
negotiation, and a 2000 United mechanic negotiation.

Compared to strikes, the pattern for nonstrike work actions has been the
opposite: their incidence has increased over time. In all, 10 court-
recognized, nonstrike work actions have occurred, each since 1998. Such
actions included various forms of slowdowns such as sickouts, work-to-
rule, and refusals to work overtime.19

According to a labor-management expert, carriers believe there have been
many more nonstrike work actions than the 10 recognized by the courts,
but their existence is difficult to prove. Airline management has been
unable to produce the evidence needed to prove the actions are taking
place.20 Those nonstrike work actions that were not identified by the court


18
 The President can take various measures short of a PEB to put pressure on the parties to
settle. Such measures include sending a presidential representative to meet with the
parties. For example, in the ALPA pilots’ negotiation with Northwest in 1998, the President
sent his Senior Counsel and Transportation Secretary to meet with the federal mediator to
help the parties resolve their differences. The President can also publicly announce his
readiness to empanel a PEB. For example, during the 2001 APFA negotiations with
American, the Transportation Secretary announced publicly that the President would use
all tools necessary to ensure there was no disruption in service. See appendix VII for a list
of presidential interventions.
19
 Slowdowns are an organized effort by workers to decrease production in order to
pressure the employer to take some desired action. Slowdowns can include refusing to
work overtime, sickouts, and work-to-rule. A union official shared that, typically, minor
FAA rules that do not concern safety may be overlooked in order to maintain flight
schedules. According to two labor-management experts, during a work-to-rule action,
airline labor strictly follows such minor rules in order to slow the flight schedule. For
example, pilots may refuse to fly a plane if a tray table does not stay in the upright position.
20
  According to an International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union official, unions do
not participate in nonstrike work actions, although some might admit to performing work-
to-rule actions to put pressure on the carriers. The union official also stated that individual
employees have taken actions into their own hands. For example, IBT reported that
individual employees promoted a Northwest flight attendant sickout in 2000 by using the
Internet. After IBT leadership accessed the Web site, they told their members and the
airlines that the union was not in favor of the members’ actions. In separate actions, the
Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal, ruling on behalf of United and Delta,
respectively, declared that unions are responsible for controlling labor actions. Specifically,
the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that, when Delta’s pilots engaged in concerted
activity in violation of the RLA, “ALPA…ha[d] a duty to end…unlawful action” by its
members. According to the court, that duty is not met by mere statements of policy and
exhortations to refrain from unlawful activity, but must be backed with action, including
union-imposed sanctions (Airline Management Publication).




Page 16                                                  GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                           include a number of highly publicized labor disruptions. For example, the
                           reported, but unconfirmed, nonstrike work action taken by United’s pilots
                           in the summer of 2000 was widely publicized by the media,21 yet the airline
                           never brought the issue before a court of law. Additionally, it has been
                           reported that the reason why these actions are difficult to detect is
                           because a concern for safety often masks the source of such actions.


                           Airline labor strikes have exerted adverse impacts on communities, but we
Airline Strikes            identified no published studies that systematically and comprehensively
Adversely Affect           analyzed a strike’s net impact at the community level. For some strikes, we
                           were able to identify evidence of individual impacts, such as reduced air
Communities, but           service to and from the community, lost salaries or wages by striking or
Impacts Have Not           laid-off airline workers, or lower airport revenues. However, no studies
                           have yet synthesized such information for a thorough picture of a strike’s
Been Fully Analyzed        impact on a community. Our analysis indicates that a strike’s potential
and Vary from Place        impacts would likely vary greatly from community to community, because
to Place                   of differences in factors such as the amount of service available from other
                           airlines. Thus, even if the impact of a strike were to be thoroughly studied
                           at a particular community, it would be difficult to generalize these results
                           to other locations.


Airline Strikes Have Had   With the reduction of air service stemming from an airline strike,
Negative Economic          communities have experienced economic disruptions from a number of
Impacts on Communities     sources. Lost income of airline employees, fewer travelers and less
                           spending in travel related businesses, and less spending by the airline are
                           just some of the ways that local economies have been affected by a strike.
                           For example, canceled flights have lead to the layoff of nonstriking
                           employees, fewer travelers in the airport spending money in concessions,
                           and reduced landing fees for airports. Because passenger traffic dropped,
                           spending at hotels suffered.

                           Local reports illustrated some of a strike’s economic impacts on a
                           community during the 2001 Comair pilot strike. Comair, a regional carrier
                           for Delta, has its main hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky


                           21
                            See, for example, “United Pilots’ Slow Taxiing Causes Delays at O’Hare,” Chicago O’Hare
                           Air Traffic Control, TheTracon.com, July 26, 2000,
                           http://www.thetracon.com/news/times072600.htm, or “United Airlines Scraps Nearly 2,000
                           Flights,” CNN.com, August 8, 2000,
                           http://www.cnn.com/2000/TRAVEL/NEWS/08/08/united.cancellations.ap.




                           Page 17                                              GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                      International Airport. Over the course of the strike, which lasted 89 days,
                      Comair did not operate its 815 daily flights, causing the 25,000 passengers
                      who would normally have been on those flights in an average day to curtail
                      their travel or make arrangements on other airlines. The airline’s 1,350
                      striking pilots, many of whom are based in the area, lost an estimated $14
                      million in salaries, and the airline reported laying off an additional 1,600
                      nonstriking employees in the greater Cincinnati area as well. A concourse
                      at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport closed during
                      the strike. Reports stated that the concourse’s 16 stores and restaurants
                      lost more than $3 million in sales, and that 152 of 193 workers were laid
                      off. The airport also lost $1.2 million in landing fees from Comair during
                      the strike.

                      Impacts can be felt not only at hub communities like Cincinnati, but also
                      at smaller spoke communities that may be served only by the striking
                      airline. When Northwest Airlines pilots struck in 1998, for example,
                      Mesaba Airlines, a regional affiliate, suspended operations as well. At least
                      12 of the communities served by Mesaba during the Northwest strike had
                      no other air service. One of these locations was Houghton, Michigan.
                      According to local reports, travelers to and from Houghton had to drive as
                      far as Green Bay (213 miles from Hancock, Michigan, location of
                      Houghton’s airport) or Wausau, Wisconsin, (192 miles away) to find
                      alternative flights. DOT also recognized the possible impacts of halting all
                      airline service. The department ordered Mesaba to return service to 12
                      communities served from Minneapolis under the terms of Mesaba’s
                      Essential Air Service contract. However, before the order was
                      implemented, the strike ended, and service was restored to these
                      communities.


Full Impacts at the   While the available information indicates that airline strikes can and do
Community Level Are   have adverse impacts on communities, we identified no published studies
Largely Unknown       that attempt to comprehensively measure these impacts at the community
                      level. The kinds of impacts cited above, for example, may have mitigating
                      factors that need to be taken into account. In the Comair strike, for
                      example, union strike funds replaced some of the lost income of strikers.
                      ALPA approved payments of $1,400 per month to striking Comair pilots
                      during the strike period, allowing them to spend at a reduced rate in the
                      community. A study that reliably estimated the impact of a strike at the
                      community level would need to take factors such as these into account.
                      No such study has been done.




                      Page 18                                      GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Another reason for uncertainty about the full impacts of a strike on a
community is that the impact of a strike on passengers’ travel decisions is
often unknown. For example, while more than 100 communities lost
Comair service to and from Cincinnati during the strike, all of these
communities had service to Cincinnati from another airline. Thus,
although hotel occupancy reportedly fell by more than 18 percent in
Northern Kentucky in the strike’s first month, the degree to which this
drop was attributable solely to the strike is unknown.

Apart from community-level analysis of strikes, some studies have
examined the overall economic impacts of aviation on regions or states.
For example, the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, on behalf of an industry
interest group, published a report examining the state-level impact of a
potential loss of aviation service, but this study did not evaluate the impact
of any particular strikes on local or regional economies.22 For example, the
study stated that, in the year ending in March 2002, Delta had 10 percent of
the passenger traffic in Texas and projected that a 10 percent reduction in
aviation benefits would cause a daily reduction of $17.7 million in one
measure of the Texas economy, its gross domestic product (GDP).23

DOT also has on occasion produced wide-ranging assessments of the
impacts of potential airline strikes, but these studies have never addressed
the impacts of strikes that actually occurred. These studies are conducted
at the request of the NMB, which uses them in evaluating whether the
labor dispute threatens to interrupt essential transportation services in any
part of the country. Once the NMB makes this assessment, it notifies the
President, who may, at his discretion, empanel a PEB. If the NMB believes
an airline strike is probable, it may request the department to examine the
possible economic consequences of that strike. The department reports
the extent of potentially lost air service to hub and spoke cities of the
affected carrier, the number of passengers that would have no service if a



22
 We found studies published by Wilbur Smith Associates, Wisconsin Department of
Transportation, and the University of Cincinnati that reported on the total economic impact
of aviation on the United States, the state of Wisconsin, and the greater
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. None examined any strike impacts.
23
 In the above example, one should not equate a strike against Delta with a 10 percent
reduction in Texas’ aviation benefits. Aviation benefits stem from other aviation related
activity such as general and military aviation as well as scheduled airline service. Also, one
would have to assume that all airline flights in Texas were completely filled with paying
passengers so none of Delta’s 10 percent of Texas fliers could be accommodated by other
airlines.




Page 19                                                 GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                         strike were to occur, possible financial impacts on the carrier, indirect
                         impacts on the national economy, and the mitigating and aggravating
                         factors on the impacts of a strike. While DOT’s reviews may examine many
                         areas that could be affected by a strike, they examine only potential
                         strikes and are not conducted after actual strikes.


Community-Level Impact   While comprehensive studies of community-level impacts of past strikes
of Any Future Strike     are not available, one thing that emerges from our analysis is that any
Would Depend Partly on   future strike’s impact on a given community is likely to be affected by the
                         level of service available from other airlines. If alternative service is
Service Available from   greatly limited, travelers may have to take alternative—and less direct—
Other Airlines           routes offered by other airlines, or, in extreme cases, travel great distances
                         to other airports in order to fly at all. Those impacts on travelers and
                         businesses will vary depending on whether the community is a hub or
                         spoke destination and even among an airline’s hubs and spoke
                         destinations.

                         The impact of a future strike at an airline’s hub locations would depend in
                         part on which airline is involved in the strike and its market share at the
                         hub. Some airlines dominate air traffic at their hubs to a much greater
                         extent than other airlines do, and a strike involving an airline with a
                         dominant position at most of its hubs would likely have more impact than
                         a strike involving an airline that is hubbing out of locations where
                         competition is greater. In 2001, the airlines with the most and least
                         dominated hubs (based on the percentage of total available seats
                         controlled by the hubbing airline) were US Airways and America West.
                         (See fig. 6.) US Airways averaged 81 percent of the seats offered at its
                         hubs, while America West averaged 32 percent. Thus, based on the loss of
                         seating capacity at its hubs, a strike at US Airways that halted service
                         would likely have substantially more impact on its hub communities than a
                         strike at America West that halted service.




                         Page 20                                       GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 6: 2001 Market Shares for Major Airlines at Their Hubs




                                         Among a single airline’s hub cities, the impact of a strike would also likely
                                         vary depending on service available from alternate carriers at those cities.
                                         Again, the impact of a strike at the hubbing carrier or its regional partners
                                         would be more substantial at more highly dominated hubs. For example,
                                         in 2001, Delta and its regional partners accounted for 91 percent of the
                                         seats available in Cincinnati, but only 19 percent of available seats at the
                                         Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which has the lowest market
                                         share among Delta’s hubs. Consequently, a strike against Delta would
                                         likely have caused much greater disruption in Cincinnati than in Dallas. In
                                         contrast to the differences among Delta’s hubs, the impact of a strike at
                                         Northwest would likely be felt equally at its Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit,
                                         and Memphis hubs. At each of its hubs, Northwest offered between 77 and
                                         80 percent of available seats.

                                         As at hubs, the impacts of strikes on available air service at spoke cities
                                         would also depend on the amount and type of available alternative service.
                                         Those communities with air service from other carriers have a greater
                                         opportunity to mitigate the potential impact of a strike by enabling
                                         travelers to access the national air system using competing airlines. For



                                         Page 21                                       GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
example, figure 7 shows available air service, as of April 2003, at spoke
communities served by Delta’s regional partner, Comair, from Cincinnati,
and by Northwest’s regional carrier, Mesaba, from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Comair provided nonstop service to a total of 101 U.S. communities from
Cincinnati. All but one of these communities had alternative service to
Cincinnati from another airline—64 with nonstop service, 36 with one-stop
service.24 Thus, if Comair’s operations were to be disrupted by a strike,
passengers at these communities would still have the opportunity for
service to and from Cincinnati. The picture at Minneapolis-St. Paul is
somewhat different. There, 10 of the 47 spoke cities served by Mesaba
would have no alternative service to Minneapolis-St. Paul.




24
  The one exception (Melbourne, Florida) also had one-stop service to Cincinnati, but not
from a competing airline. Melbourne passengers could still have one-stop service to
Cincinnati from a combination of another Delta regional carrier (to Atlanta) and then a
Delta mainline flight to Cincinnati.




Page 22                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                             Figure 7: Spoke Communities Served from Cincinnati and Minneapolis-St. Paul
                             Retain Service from Competing Airlines




                             Note: Data are from airline schedules for the week of April 21-25, 2003.




Other Factors Also           Several other factors could also influence the impact of a future strike on a
Influence the Total Impact   community. The length of the strike is one such factor; longer strikes are
of Airline Strikes           more likely to have an adverse impact. Since deregulation, strikes have
                             varied from 24 minutes for an American pilot strike in 1997 to almost 2
                             years for a Continental mechanics strike (1983–1985). Another likely factor
                             is financial preparation; as already mentioned, the local impact of the
                             Comair strike was likely mitigated somewhat by the union’s payments to
                             striking pilots. Similarly, the ability of airlines to operate through a
                             strike—whether by hiring replacement workers or having union members
                             cross picket lines—could also influence a strike’s impact. For example,
                             during a strike by Continental mechanics lasting almost 2 years, some
                             Continental workers crossed the picket line and continued working. This


                             Page 23                                                     GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                           allowed Continental to continue operation after a shutdown of only 3 days.
                           Tactics used by the striking union can also reduce the overall impact.
                           Alaska flight attendants used a technique called “CHAOS” (Creating Havoc
                           Around Our System) that involved intermittent walkouts of certain crews
                           on certain days.25 This tactic kept certain flights from operating, but did
                           not shut down the entire airline.


                           Our analysis indicates that passenger service has been affected more
Nonstrike Work             adversely by nonstrike work actions than by an increase in the length of
Actions Have Greater       negotiations. Generally, but not always, as negotiation periods increased,
                           there has been a slight decline in on-time flights.26 However, the impact of
Impacts on                 these negotiations has been unclear, because the decline may also have
Passengers than            been affected by other factors such as poor weather, aircraft maintenance,
                           runway closures, air traffic control system decisions, or equipment
Lengthy Negotiations       failures. By comparison, the 10 court-recognized, nonstrike work actions
                           more clearly resulted in negative impacts on passengers, as shown through
                           such measures as a decrease in the number of on-time flights, an increase
                           in the number of flight problem complaints,27 and a decrease in passenger
                           traffic.


Impact of Negotiation      Our analyses found a slight correlation between the length of negotiations
Lengths on Passengers Is   and adverse impacts on passengers.28 We analyzed 23 negotiations between
Unclear                    airlines and pilot unions from 1987 to 2002.29 As negotiations lengthened,
                           the frequency of on-time arrivals declined slightly. However, it is not clear



                           25
                            CHAOS, as practiced by the Alaska flight attendants, was found by the federal courts to
                           be a legal form of self-help and not an illegal work action. The Alaska flight attendants did
                           not engage in this activity until after release by the NMB and the 30-day cooling-off period.
                           26
                            DOT defines an on-time flight as one that is less than 15 minutes after the scheduled gate
                           arrival or gate departure time.
                           27
                            Flight problem complaints include complaints regarding cancellations, delays, or any
                           other deviations from the schedule, whether planned or unplanned.
                           28
                             As a measure of adverse impact on passengers, we analyzed the number of on-time
                           arrivals in relationship to the length of contract negotiations. The correlation between
                           these two items was -.25.
                           29
                             These 23 pilot contracts were chosen because they had the most complete information,
                           including amendable dates and ratification dates. Concessionary agreements ratified before
                           the amendable date, first time pilot contracts, or pilot contracts with missing information
                           were not used in this analysis.




                           Page 24                                                GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                         if the change in on-time flights is attributable solely to negotiation lengths,
                         or if other factors may also have contributed to the on-time performance.
                         DOT’s data on flight arrival and departure timeliness indicate whether a
                         flight is delayed, but not what caused the delay. Common factors for
                         delays include severe weather, aircraft maintenance, runway closures,
                         customer service issues (e.g., baggage and accommodating passengers
                         with special needs, such as those in wheelchairs or youths requiring
                         escorts), air traffic control system decisions, and equipment failures. Thus,
                         despite the apparent relation between lengthening negotiations and a
                         deterioration of service quality, other exogenous factors may explain the
                         change in flight delays.


Nonstrike Work Actions   Available data indicates that nonstrike work actions have had adverse
Have Clearer Adverse     impacts on passengers. While DOT data do not specifically identify these
Impacts on Passengers    actions as the causes for the delays or the reasons for the complaints,
                         increases in the number of late flights, passenger complaints, and
                         decreases in passenger traffic during the period of the actions suggest a
                         clearer relationship than is apparent with these same measures and
                         lengthy negotiations. The periods in which nonstrike work actions occur
                         show decreases in on-time flights, increases in passenger complaints, and
                         decreases in passenger traffic. Two examples of such actions, the
                         American pilot sickout and the Delta pilot slowdown, are described in the
                         next two sections.

American Pilot Sickout   American experienced decreases in on-time flights, increases in customer
                         complaints, and drops in passenger traffic during a pilot sickout. (Under
                         FAA regulations, any airline pilot can take himself out of the cockpit if he
                         is sick, overly stressed, or does not feel “fit to fly.” During a sickout, pilots
                         utilize these regulations to excuse themselves from work in order to put
                         economic pressure on the airline during the negotiation.) In December
                         1998, AMR Corp, the parent company of American, purchased Reno Air,
                         whose pilots were then to be integrated into a single workforce. In early
                         1999, American pilots began a sickout over a dispute involving a side
                         agreement that would integrate Reno Air operations. On February 10,
                         1999, a federal judge ordered the pilots to return to work. Subsequently,
                         the number of flights cancelled increased. On February 13, 1999, the judge
                         found the pilots’ union in contempt of court.30 By February 16, the airline



                         30
                          The judge fined the American pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, $45.5 million for
                         contempt.




                         Page 25                                                GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                          reported a return to its normal schedule but, reportedly, pilots were still
                                          refusing to work overtime and were adhering to work-to-rule practices,
                                          meaning that they would follow every regulation stipulated by the FAA in
                                          order to slow the airline.

                                          Figure 8 illustrates on-time arrival and departure rates at Dallas/Fort
                                          Worth International Airport for the period of August 1998 through
                                          December 1999 for American and Delta, which also operates a hub at that
                                          airport. The on-time flight statistics for the two airlines are relatively equal
                                          prior to the sickout period. During the next several months, American’s
                                          on-time record fell below that of Delta. Both carrier’s on-time rates
                                          declined somewhat, suggesting that other factors such as weather might
                                          also influence flight operations. However, the difference between the two
                                          airlines during this period is greater than in other periods. In August 1999,
                                          when Reno Air’s operations were officially integrated—even though no
                                          agreement was made—the two airlines’ records resumed a more closely
                                          parallel path.

Figure 8: On-Time Flight Statistics for American and Delta at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, August 1998 to
December 1999




                                          Page 26                                           GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                       The American sickout also caused increases in passenger flight problem
                                       complaints. Figure 9 compares the change in complaints against American
                                       and Delta. The complaints began to rise in February of 1999 and, generally,
                                       continued to increase into the summer, when American reached an
                                       agreement with its pilots.

Figure 9: Flight Problem Complaints for American and Delta from August 1998 to December 1999




                                       A comparison of passenger traffic between American and Delta at
                                       Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport indicates that passenger traffic
                                       declined either to avoid the carrier experiencing the nonstrike work action
                                       or due to grounded flights. (American grounded up to 2,250 flights per day
                                       during the sickout period.) (See fig. 10.) During the American pilot sickout
                                       in February 1999, there was a drop in American’s passenger traffic.
                                       Compared to the year before, American’s passenger traffic declined by 15
                                       percent while Delta’s passenger traffic rose by 5 percent.




                                       Page 27                                         GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                       Figure 10: Passengers Carried on American and Delta at Dallas/Fort Worth
                       International Airport, February 1998 and 1999




Delta Pilot Slowdown   Another example of the impact of nonstrike work actions on passengers is
                       the Delta slowdown in 2000–2001. In September 1999, Delta began
                       negotiations with its pilots and submitted a contract proposal, which
                       sought to tie future raises to the company’s financial performance. As a
                       result, Delta pilots began refusing to fly overtime in the winter of 2000.
                       When compared to Continental’s operations at Atlanta Hartsfield
                       International Airport,31 Delta experienced substantial declines in on-time
                       flights and increases in flight problem complaints while also experiencing
                       declines in passenger traffic. Delta first went to court on December 5,
                       2000, and was denied an injunction. The airline then took the suit to the
                       Eleventh Circuit on January 18, 2001, and the denial was overturned and
                       remanded for injunction.




                       31
                        AirTran operates more flights than Continental at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.
                       However, because DOT does not classify AirTran as a major airline, we compared Delta’s
                       operations with Continental.




                       Page 28                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                           Figure 11 shows the percent of on-time flights for both Delta and
                                           Continental at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport for the period of
                                           August 2000 to August 2001. During the slowdown period from December
                                           to January, there is a decline in Delta’s on-time flights relative to
                                           Continental’s. Once the court issued an injunction against the union, the
                                           two airlines resumed a more similar pattern.

Figure 11: On-Time Flight Statistics for Delta and Continental at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, August 2000 to
August 2001




                                           Delta’s pilot slowdown also showed an increase in passenger complaints
                                           during this period. Figure 12 compares the change in passenger flight
                                           problem complaints about Delta and Continental during Delta’s slowdown.
                                           Flight complaints rose sharply in December and January, peaking at 185 in
                                           January 2001, and immediately declining after the union was enjoined on
                                           January 18, 2001.




                                           Page 29                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Figure 12: Flight Problem Complaints for Delta and Continental, August 2000 to August 2001




                                        Finally, Delta’s passenger traffic at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport
                                        also declined during the slowdown, but the pattern was less pronounced
                                        than for the American sickout discussed earlier. (See fig. 13.) In December
                                        2000, when Delta first pursued an injunction in court, Delta’s and
                                        Continental’s passenger traffic dropped by 9 and 4 percent, respectively.
                                        Unlike the American sickout (when up to 2,250 flights were grounded per
                                        day), Delta pilots’ refusal to fly overtime grounded far fewer flights—about
                                        100 to 125 per day—which means less passengers were affected by
                                        cancelled flights as compared to American.




                                        Page 30                                          GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                  Figure 13: Change in Passenger Traffic on Delta and Continental at Atlanta
                  Hartsfield International Airport in December 1999 and 1 Year Later during the
                  Nonstrike Work Action in December 2000




                  We provided copies of a draft of this report to NMB for review and
Agency Comments   comment. NMB indicated it generally agreed with the accuracy of our
                  report, and it provided technical clarifications, which were incorporated
                  into the report as appropriate. The NMB also provided an additional
                  statement, which is included in appendix VIII. We also provided selected
                  portions of a draft of this report to the major airlines and unions to verify
                  the presentation of factual material. We incorporated their technical
                  clarifications as appropriate.


                  As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of
                  this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days from the
                  report date. At that time, we will provide copies to the Honorable Francis
                  J. Duggan, Chairman of the National Mediation Board; the Honorable
                  Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Transportation; and other interested
                  parties. We also will make copies available to others upon request. In



                  Page 31                                          GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please call me at
(202) 512-2834, HeckerJ@gao.gov or Steve Martin at (202) 512-2834,
MartinS@gao.gov. Appendix VIII lists key contacts and key contributors to
this report.

Sincerely yours,




JayEtta Z. Hecker
Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues




Page 32                                      GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
              Appendix I: Additional Questions
Appendix I: Additional Questions


              In addition to the three primary questions, you asked us how many states
              use a system of binding arbitration and last offer arbitration with their
              essential service personnel. You also asked how many times in the last 25
              years has Congress had to intervene in a dispute with railroads and what
              were the outcomes.

              As of November 2002, according to information from officials of Harvard
              University, 23 states—including the District of Columbia—use binding
              arbitration and/or last offer arbitration as arbitration options. (See table
              2.) Of those, none use last offer arbitration as their sole arbitration option.

              Table 2: States That Include Binding Arbitration or Last, Best Offer Arbitration as a
              Dispute Resolution Option

                       State                  Type of arbitration included in resolution options
               1       California             Binding arbitration
               2       Maine                  Binding arbitration
               3       Illinois               Last offer arbitration
               4       Michigan               Last offer arbitration
               5       Oklahoma               Last offer arbitration
               6       Tennessee              Last offer arbitration
               7       Colorado               Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               8       Conneticut             Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               9       Delaware               Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               10      District of Columbia   Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               11      Hawaii                 Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               12      Iowa                   Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               13      Maryland               Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               14      Minnesota              Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               15      Montana                Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               16      Nevada                 Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               17      Ohio                   Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               18      Oregon                 Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               19      Pennsylvania           Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               20      Rhode Island           Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               21      Texas                  Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               22      Washington             Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
               23      Wisconsin              Binding arbitration and last offer arbitration
              Source: Harvard University.



              According to information from the National Mediation Board, in the last 25
              years Congress intervened in railroad negotiations eight times. These



              Page 33                                                GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix I: Additional Questions




interventions occurred between 1982 and 1992. (See table 3.)
Congressional interventions do not involve the airlines.

Table 3: Congressional Interventions in Railroad Negotiations

          Date           Remark
 1        6/26/92        Binding arbitration imposed by Congress
 2        6/26/92        Binding arbitration imposed by Congress; parties reached
                         voluntary agreement
 3        6/26/92        Binding arbitration imposed by Congress in three cases; parties
                         reached voluntary agreement in all others
 4        4/18/91        Terms imposed by Congress
 5        8/4/88         Status quo extended by Congress
          9/9/88         Terms imposed by Congress
 6        1/28/87        Status quo extended by Congress; parties reached voluntary
                         agreement
 7        8/21/86        Status quo extended by Congress
          9/30/86        Terms imposed by Congress
 8        9/22/82        Terms imposed by Congress
Source: NMB.




Page 34                                             GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                 Appendix II: Objectives, Scope, and
Appendix II: Objectives, Scope, and
                 Methodology



Methodology

                 This report examines the following three questions:

             •   What have been the major trends of labor negotiations in the airline
                 industry since the industry was deregulated in 1978, including the number
                 and length of negotiations and the number of strikes, presidential
                 interventions to avoid or end strikes, and nonstrike work actions?

             •   What has been the impact of airline strikes on communities?

             •   What have been the impacts of the length of negotiations and the
                 occurrence of nonstrike work actions on passengers?

                 To determine the trends of airline labor negotiations, including the length
                 of negotiations, the number of strikes, the number of presidential
                 interventions, and the number of nonstrike work actions, we analyzed data
                 from multiple sources. We obtained our data from major U.S. airlines and
                 various labor organizations. The labor groups included the Air Line Pilots
                 Association (ALPA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA),
                 the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the International Association
                 of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), and the International
                 Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). We also received substantial negotiation
                 and contract data from the U.S. National Mediation Board (NMB) and the
                 Airline Industrial Relations Conference (AIRCon), a group funded by
                 major U.S. airlines to facilitate the exchange of contract negotiation
                 information and other labor relations matters among carriers. Because
                 data were not available for commuter (regional) and all-cargo carriers, we
                 originally limited our analysis to passenger airlines that are considered
                 majors by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that were in
                 operation during 2001. These airlines were Alaska, America West,
                 American, American Eagle, American Trans Air (recently renamed as ATA
                 Airlines), Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, TWA1, United, and US
                 Airways. We later were not able to include American Eagle or American
                 Trans Air, which met the DOT criteria, in our analysis because we were
                 not able to obtain information on these airlines.

                 Dates listed as negotiation start dates differ between the airlines, AIRCon,
                 and NMB, therefore, limiting the accuracy of the data collected. A
                 negotiation’s “start date” can be when the carrier’s management or union


                 1
                  American completed its purchase of TWA in April 2001, and TWA no longer exists as a
                 separate entity. Analysis of activity from deregulation through April 2001 is included in this
                 report.




                 Page 35                                                 GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix II: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




exchange a written notice stating that one of the parties desires a change
in rates of pay, work rules, or working conditions or when face-to-face
negotiations actually begin (i.e., when the two parties sit at a table and
verbally negotiate the contract). By contrast, the NMB defines a “start
date” only when it is called for mediation. For the purposes of our data
collection, we first used dates provided by the airlines to AIRCon at the
time the contract was being negotiated. If those were not available, we
turned to the dates provided directly to us by the airlines from their files
when available. We were supplied different dates, including ratification
dates and settlement dates, for the end point of negotiations. We know of
at least one union that did not have its members vote to ratify contract
changes until after 1982. Again, we first used AIRCon provided ratification
or settlement dates, if possible, and, in cases where these were not
available, we used airline provided dates, or dates provided by NMB. We
were unable to calculate a negotiation length for 83 of the 236 contracts
because we could not identify either a start date or a ratification or
settlement date for them. In addition, we did not calculate negotiation
lengths for 6 initial contracts, the first contract a union signs after a craft
or class becomes recognized at an airline.

To obtain information on nonstrike work actions, we also examined media
sources and also reviewed federal court records. Based on the information
we were able to review, we defined court-recognized, nonstrike work
actions as those work actions for which airlines obtained either temporary
restraining orders or injunctions against unions. Officials from the airlines
we spoke with stated that there have been many more nonstrike work
actions than the 10 judged by the courts. Even some union officials stated
that union members have taken actions that they considered legal under
their contract or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. These
same actions, on other occasions, have been found to be violations of the
status quo by the courts. Additional cases of nonstrike work actions,
however, have been difficult to prove. Airline management has either been
unable to produce the needed evidence in court or airlines never took
unions to court. Union officials also strenuously deny illegal activity on the
part of their unions.

We interviewed officials from airlines, labor unions, the NMB, and industry
groups. The airlines we spoke with included American, American Trans
Air, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, Comair, Atlantic Coast
Airlines, Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and Airborne Express.
We only analyzed data from airlines where we could obtain full data. The
labor groups we interviewed included ALPA, CAPA, AFA, IAM, and IBT.
We also held discussions with officials from NMB, the Air Transport


Page 36                                        GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix II: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




Association (ATA), Communities for Economic Strength Through Aviation
(CESTA), and AIRCon.

To determine the impact of airline strikes on communities, we searched
for studies of these impacts from airlines, industry groups, and academic
institutions. Specifically, we talked with United, Delta, Comair, ATA, and
CESTA. Based on suggestions from airlines, unions, interest groups, and
our own research we also talked with faculty at Harvard, the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Cincinnati, and
the University of Kentucky. None of these sources knew of any published
studies on specific impacts of past strikes on any community. In
discussions with NMB, we learned that DOT produces studies, solely at
the request of NMB, on the likely impacts of probable airline strikes on the
airline and local and national economies. We obtained a copy of one of
these studies from DOT. We also analyzed data on airline schedules and
market share from Sabre, Inc.; BACK Aviation Solutions; and the
Campbell-Hill Aviation Group. We also reviewed local media reports from
communities affected by strikes. Due to the lack of published studies or
generally accepted methodology to determine the impact of strikes, we
cannot discount other possible causes for these impacts.

To determine the impact of the length of negotiations and court-
recognized, nonstrike work actions on passengers, we analyzed data on
airline operational performance from DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report
and passenger traffic information from BACK Aviation Solutions. To
determine the impact of negotiation lengths, we compared on-time
performance throughout the course of 23 negotiations between airlines
and pilot unions. To determine the impact of nonstrike work actions, we
compared airlines’ on-time performance and flight complaints between
airlines before, during, and after the 10 court-recognized, nonstrike work
actions. We also analyzed changes in passenger traffic among airlines
during these actions. Though our analysis included performing a
correlation between on-time arrivals and the length of airline labor
contract negotiations, we did not perform any multivariate analysis, and
thus, cannot rule out possible alternative causes.

We conducted our review between August 2002 and May 2003 in
accordance with generally acceptable government accounting principles.




Page 37                                      GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                        Appendix III: Additional Background
Appendix III: Additional Background
                        Information on the Railway Labor Act



Information on the Railway Labor Act

                        The Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151, et. seq., (RLA) was passed by
                        Congress in May 1926 to improve labor-management relations in the
                        railroad industry. In January 1926, a committee of railway executives and
                        union representatives jointly presented a draft bill to Congress that was
                        universally supported by those in the industry. Congress did not make any
                        changes of substance to the bill, and the RLA was signed by the President
                        on May 20, 1926.1 Congress has not altered the basic structure of the act
                        that labor and management use to resolve what are known as “major
                        disputes,” i.e., disputes over the creation of, or change of, agreements
                        concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions. After discussions
                        with airline management and labor the act was applied to air carriers in
                        1936.2

                        As a method to keep labor disputes from interrupting commerce, the new
                        law represented a significant departure from past labor practices by
                        requiring both sides to preserve the status quo during collective bargaining
                        and preventing either side from taking unilateral action. When labor and
                        management representatives drafted the legislation, they agreed that both
                        sides of a labor dispute should negotiate the dispute and not make any
                        change in the working conditions in dispute until all issues were worked
                        out under the deliberate process outlined in the act.


                        The RLA is not a detailed statute. The main purposes of the act are
Key Provisions of the   threefold. First, Congress intended to establish a system that resolves
RLA                     labor disputes without interrupting commerce in the airline and railroad
                        industries. The statute requires both labor and management “to exert
                        every reasonable effort to make and maintain agreements ... and to settle
                        all disputes ....”3 The Supreme Court has described that duty as being the
                        “heart” of the act.4

                        Second, the act imposes on the parties an obligation to preserve and to
                        maintain unchanged during the collective bargaining process “those
                        actual, objective working conditions and practices, broadly conceived,
                        which were in effect prior to the time the pending dispute arose and which


                        1
                        P.L. No. 257, 69th Cong., 1st Sess., 44 Stat. 577 (1926).
                        2
                        45 U.S.C. § 181.
                        3
                        45 U.S.C. § 152.
                        4
                        Chicago & North Western Ry. v. UTU, 402 U.S. 570, 574 (1971).




                        Page 38                                                     GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                        Appendix III: Additional Background
                        Information on the Railway Labor Act




                        are involved in or related to that dispute.”5 This is generally known as
                        “maintaining the status quo.”

                        Finally, the act requires that: “Representatives, for the purposes of this
                        Act, shall be designated by the respective parties ... without interference,
                        influence, or coercion exercised by either party over the self-organization
                        or designation of representatives by the other.”6 That obligation was
                        strengthened in 1934 so as to prohibit either party from interfering with,
                        influencing, or coercing “the other in its choice of representatives.”7


                        The collective bargaining process established by the RLA is designed to
Collective Bargaining   preserve labor relations peace. The carrier is required to maintain the
Process under the       status quo before, during, and for some time after the period of formal
                        negotiations. The union and the employees have the reciprocal obligation
RLA                     to refrain from engaging in actions that are designed to economically harm
                        the company, such as strikes during the same period. These actions are
                        termed economic self-help in the act.

                        Airline labor and management periodically engage in negotiations to reach
                        a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement that will remain in effect
                        for a defined period, usually 2 or 3 years. The parties are required to
                        submit written notices (“Section 6 notices”) of proposed changes in rates
                        of pay, rules, and working conditions. In some cases, parties may agree
                        that collective bargaining is required to proceed according to a particular
                        time schedule. If those direct discussions do not result in an agreement
                        resolving a dispute, either party or the National Mediation Board (NMB)
                        can initiate mediation.

                        The RLA requires both parties to maintain collectively bargained rates of
                        pay, rules, and working conditions while they negotiate amendments to
                        the agreement. This requirement extends the status quo after an existing
                        agreement becomes amendable if no agreement is reached by that time. If
                        mediation proves unsuccessful, the NMB appeals to the parties to submit
                        the dispute to binding interest arbitration. If that is unsuccessful, the
                        statute provides for a 30-day cooling-off period. There can be no lawful



                        5
                        45 U.S.C. §§ 155, 156, and 160.
                        6
                        45 U.S.C. § 152.
                        7
                        45 U.S.C. § 145.




                        Page 39                                       GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix III: Additional Background
Information on the Railway Labor Act




self-help by either side during this period. Even after the termination of the
30-day period, the self-help option is contingent. If a dispute threatens
“substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to
deprive any section of the country of essential transportation services,”
the President, upon notification by the NMB, is empowered to create an
emergency board to investigate the dispute and issue a report that is
followed by an additional 30-day period for final negotiations.

After this process, the parties are left to self-help and further negotiation
to reach a settlement. The only alternative is congressional action, which
has never been used in an airline labor dispute.




Page 40                                       GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
              Appendix IV: Contracts Negotiated and
Appendix IV: Contracts Negotiated and
              Ratified or Settled by the Amendable Date



Ratified or Settled by the Amendable Date


                                                                                      Amendable      Ratification or
                       Carrier                 Union               Craft              date           settlement date
               1       Alaska                  ALPA                Pilots             4/30/80        4/15/80
               2       Alaska                  ALPA                Pilots             4/30/83        3/2/83
               3       Alaska                  ALPA                Pilots             5/1/91         4/29/91
               4       Alaska                  ALPA                Pilots             4/30/93        2/16/93
               5       Alaska                  ALPA                Pilots             12/1/97        10/15/97
               6       American                TWU                 Mechanics          3/1/93         10/7/91
               7       Continental             TWU                 Dispatchers        4/1/99         6/1/98
               8       Delta                   PAFCA               Flight control     1/1/82         1/22/81
               9       Delta                   PAFCA               Flight control     1/1/86         10/25/85
               10      Northwest               ALPA                Pilots             7/1/80         6/28/80
               11      Northwest               ALPA                Pilots             3/1/94         7/6/93
               12      Northwest               IAM                 Mechanics          7/1/88         6/6/88
               13      TWA                     ALPA                Pilots             9/1/95         10/3/94
               14      United                  ALPA                Pilots             11/30/94       7/12/94
               15      United                  IAM                 Dispatchers        11/30/94       7/12/94
              Legend

              ALPA = Air Line Pilots Association

              TWU = Transport Workers Union

              PAFCA = Professional Airline Flight Control Association

              IAM = International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
              Sources: National Mediation Board, airlines, and labor unions.

              Note: At least one union notified us that they did not have their members ratify agreements before
              1982.




              Page 41                                                               GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                                      Appendix V: Airline Strikes That Have
Appendix V: Airline Strikes That Have                 Occurred Since Deregulation



Occurred Since Deregulation


                                                                   Duration of
              Carrier               Union   Craft or class         negotiations             Dates of strike                 Duration of strike
 1            Alaska                IAM     Mechanics              2/17/84-6/3/85           3/4/85 - 5/4/85                 2 months
 2            American              APA     Pilots                 6/30/94-5/5/97           2/15/97                         24 minutes
 3            American              APFA    Flight attendants      11/18/92-10/10/95        11/18/93 - 11/22/93             5 days
 4            American              TWU     Flight instructors     Not available            11/4/79                         1 day
 5            Continental           ALPA    Pilots                 Not available            10/1/83 - 10/31/85              2 years
 6            Continental           IAM     Mechanics              1981-1985                8/13/83 - 4/16/85               1 1/2 years
 7            Continental           IBT     Flight engineers       Not available            9/23/79 - 10/6/79               13 days
 8            Continental           UFA     Flight attendants      Not available            12/5/80 - 12/21/80              16 days
 9            Continental           UFA     Flight attendants      Not available            10/1/83 - 4/17/85               1 1/2 years
 10           Continental           IAM     Flight attendants      1985-1989                3/15/89 - 12/15/89              9 months
 11           Northwest             ALPA    Pilots                 8/27/96-9/12/98          8/29/98 - 9/12/98               15 days
 12           Northwest             IAM     Mechanics              9/29/81-6/16/82          5/22/82 - 6/25/82               1 month
                                            Flight kitchen
 13           Southwest             IAM     Mechanics              Not available            1/13/80 - 2/1/80                19 days
 14           United                ALPA    Pilots                 1/30/84-6/17/85          5/17/85 - 6/14/85               29 days
 15           United                IAM     Mechanics              10/1/78-5/24/79          3/31/79 - 5/27/79               2 months
                                            Ramp and stores
                                            Food services
                                            Dispatchers
                                            Security officers
 16           USAir                 IAM     Mechanics              2/14/90-10/13/92         10/5/92 - 10/8/92               3 days
                                                      Legend

                                                      IAM = International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

                                                      APA = Allied Pilots Association

                                                      APFA = Association of Professional Flight Attendants

                                                      TWU = Transport Workers Union of America – AFL-CIO

                                                      IBT = International Brotherhood of Teamsters

                                                      UFA = Union of Flight Attendants

                                                      ALPA = Air Line Pilots Association
Sources: NMB, airlines, and labor unions.




                                                      Page 42                                                   GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                                     Appendix VI: Court-recognized, Nonstrike
Appendix VI: Court-recognized, Nonstrike             Work Actions Since Deregulation



Work Actions Since Deregulation


                                                                                                             Date of court
          Carrier            Union    Craft               Work action                  Plaintiff request     decision           Outcome
 1        American           APA      Pilots              Sickout                      TRO sought            2/10/1999          Awarded
 2        American           TWU      Mechanics           Slowdown                     TRO sought            2001               Awarded
 3        American           TWU      Mechanics           Slowdown                     TRO sought            1998               Awarded
 4        American           TWU      Mechanics           Slowdown                     Injunction sought     1999               Granted
 5        Delta              ALPA     Pilots              Refuse overtime              Injunction sought     2001               Granted
 6        Northwest          AMFA     Mechanics           Refuse overtime              Injunction sought     5/11/2001          Granted
 7        Northwest          IAM      Clerical            Slowdown                     Injunction sought     2/25/1999          Granted
                                      Flight kitchen
                                      Stock
 8        Northwest          IBT      Flight attendants   Sickout                      Injunction sought     1/5/2000           Granted
 9        TWA                IAM      Mechanics           Sickout and work             TRO sought            1998               Awarded
                                                          stoppage
 10       United             IAM      Mechanics           Slowdown                     Injunction sought     7/1/2002           Granted
                                                     Legend

                                                     APA = Allied Pilots Association

                                                     TWU = Transport Workers Union of America – AFL-CIO

                                                     ALPA = Air Line Pilots Association

                                                     AMFA = Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association

                                                     IAM = International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

                                                     IBT = International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Sources: NMB, airlines, and courts.




                                                     Page 43                                                  GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                                                         Appendix VII: Number of Presidential
Appendix VII: Number of Presidential                     Interventions Since Deregulation



Interventions Since Deregulation


                                                                                              Presidential
        Carrier              Union   Craft                     Amendable date                 intervention date       Actions taken
 1      American             APA     Pilots                    8/31/94                        2/15/97                 Presidential Emergency Board
 2      American             APFA    Flight attendants         11/1/98                        2001                    Presidential Emergency Board
                                                                                                                      warning
 3      American             APFA    Flight attendants         12/31/92                       1993                    President recommends binding
                                                                                                                      interest arbitration
 4      Northwest            ALPA    Pilots                    11/2/96                        September 1998          Presidential Emergency Board
                                                                                                                      warning
 5      Northwest            AMFA    Mechanics                 9/30/96                        3/12/01                 Presidential Emergency Board
 6      United               IAM     Mechanics                 7/12/00                        1/19/02                 Presidential Emergency Board
                                                         Legend

                                                         APA = Allied Pilots Association

                                                         APFA = Association of Professional Flight Attendants

                                                         ALPA = Air Line Pilots Association
                                                         IAM = International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

                                                         AMFA = Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
Sources: NMB and airlines.




                                                         Page 44                                                  GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
              Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National
Mediation Board




              Page 45                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board




Page 46                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board




Page 47                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board




Page 48                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board




Page 49                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
Appendix VIII: Comments from the National Mediation Board




Page 50                                            GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
                            Appendix IX: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Appendix IX: GAO Contacts and Staff
Acknowledgments

                  JayEtta Z. Hecker (202) 512-2834
GAO Contacts      Steven C. Martin (202) 512-2834


                  In addition to those individuals named above, Jonathan Bachman,
Staff             Brandon Haller, David Hooper, Terence Lam, Dawn Locke, Sara Ann
Acknowledgments   Moessbauer, Stan Stenersen, and Stacey Thompson made key
                  contributions to this report.




                  Page 51                                        GAO-03-652 Airline Labor Relations
(544050)
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