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US Airways pilots union to hold recall vote

The union representing US Airways pilots plans to hold a vote in the coming weeks to decide whether to recall its president and vice president, according to a spokesman.

There are about 1,500 US Airways pilots based in Charlotte, which is US Airways’ busiest hub. The carrier, Charlotte’s primary airline, plans to close its merger with American Airlines on Monday.

The pilots are represented by the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, an independent union representing the carrier’s more than 7,500 pilots. The union has been split for years, following the 2005 merger of US Airways and America West. Pilots from the two groups, known as “East” and “West” pilots, never reached a unified contract and still fly separate planes under different work rules and pay rates.

The merger with American offers a chance to resolve the long-standing seniority dispute between the two groups of pilots, but also presents the challenge of merging with American’s larger group of pilots.

USAPA spokesman Capt. James Ray declined to say what led to the recall vote. He said ballots will be given to members in the coming weeks, and a simple majority vote is required to remove President Gary Hummel and Vice President Stephen Bradford.

US Airways pilots aren’t the only work group undergoing some turmoil before the merger.

Flight attendants at US Airways and American are fighting over which union should represent the employees of the combined carrier, and what their merged contract should look like. And the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is lobbying members of Congress to put pressure on US Airways to reach a new contract with its workers before they merge with their counterparts at American.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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