On Jun. 23, U.S. Dist. Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas held the Allied Pilots Ass'n, its president, Rich LaVoy, and its vice-president, Brian Mayhew, jointly and severally liable for $45.5 million in damages for violating a court order to call off a sickout against American Airlines, Inc., in Feb. 1999. The amount was aimed at compensating American for the losses sustained by canceling thousands of flights. "By their deliberate and contemptuous actions, these Defendants inflicted millions of dollars in financial losses on Plaintiff American and needlessly disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of travelers," wrote Kendall.
LaVoy had the audacity to lash out at a U.S. Dist. Judge for enforcing a court order. LaVoy accused Kendall of making "highly derogatory and totally gratuitous remarks" and portraying the pilots as undeserving of sympathy. APA said that Kendall appeared more interested in pushing "political hot buttons." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
A state racketeering indictment against the Newspaper & Mail Deliverers Union of N.Y. that was tossed out of court in 1996 has been reinstated. The indictment of NMDU resulted from a 1992 probe by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau which led to charges against 29 bosses for crimes including systematic theft, extortion and beatings. In an unprecedented legal move, Morgenthau charged the union itself with "pervasive and extreme" criminal conduct. Reportedly, NMDU top boss Douglas LaChance and others made deals with the Bonanno and Luchese crime families.
Initially, the case was dismissed by the late trial court judge, Harold Rothwax, who held that a union wasn't a "person" under the law, and it couldn't be charged. But an appellate court overruled Rothwax in Dec. 1998, and in Mar. 1999, N.Y.'s highest court declined to reconsider it. Top Morgenthau prosecutor Daniel Castleman said the ruling is an important legal victory: "It gives us the authority to indict a union." NMDU lawyer Kenneth O'Conner claims the union would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Daily News 4/19/99]
U.S. Dist. Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas fined the Allied Pilots Ass'n at least $10 million Feb. 13 for ignoring his back-to-work order and continuing a sickout that stranded tens of thousands of passengers. Kendall said the fine could be well over $10 million because it was intended to reimburse American Airlines for losses due to the sickout. Kendall stated, "Unfortunately, the radical element that appears to be in control of [APA] seems determined to fly American Airlines into the side of the mountain, taking themselves, the company, their co-workers and their customers with them." Kendall also held bosses Richard LaVoy and Brian Mayhew in contempt for halfheartedly telling pilots to end the sickout. LaVoy was fined $10,000 and Mayhew $5,000. [N.Y. Times 2/14/99]
QUOTABLE QUOTE "Looking out the window, it sure looks cold out there... A typical rotten February weekend... Comforting, isn't it, to think that top...labor leaders are meeting in Buffalo this week, feeling our pain? Oh, wait a second. They're not in Buffalo? They're [in Miami] for the annual AFL-CIO meeting?