APFA Hotline – DOJ Update, DC Fly-In, Capwiz, W9s and Threshold Details
AA/US Airways Merger News
Today, legal counsel for AA/US Airways in the antitrust lawsuit filed a motion with the court seeking DOJ documents from past mergers. Despite previous requests for specifics on the four previous successful airline mergers, the DOJ has not been forthcoming. To read the Motion, click here:
A particularly interesting article from McClatchey sums up the Motion in detail:
“American Airlines and US Airways want the Justice Department to explain why it approved four previous mergers but filed an antitrust suit to block theirs.
The airlines sought in a federal court filing Friday to force DOJ to turn over documents related to those mergers. In the 111-page motion, the airlines accused the government of “a dramatic change in its view of consolidation.”
American and US Airways also wondered, incredulously, why the Justice Department considered the documents in the previous four mergers “off-limits” in the current case.
“DOJ seeks to prevent Defendants from learning the facts on which it approved the other four mergers,” the motion said.
The government filed suit last month against the $11 billion deal, which would create the world’s largest airline. The case is scheduled to go to trial in federal district court in Washington in late November.
An excerpt from the motion:
“Over the past eight years, DOJ has approved four airline mergers similar to the one at issue here. Each time, DOJ issued press releases explaining that, after careful consideration, it had determined that the merger would enhance competition in the airline industry and benefit the traveling public.
“Those mergers—the 2005 US Airways-America West Airlines merger, the 2008 Delta Air Lines-Northwest Airlines merger, the 2010 United Airlines-Continental Airlines merger, and the 2011 Southwest Airlines-AirTran merger—spurred competition and allowed United and Delta to create broad airline networks with global reach.
“But in the Amended Complaint, DOJ alleges that those mergers “hurt passengers” and that the American Airlines-US Airways merger would exacerbate the harm caused by the previous mergers.
“Even more remarkable than DOJ’s abrupt and unexplained reversal is the fact that it contends that the dramatic change in its view of consolidation in the airline industry is off-limits in the discovery process here. DOJ seeks to prevent Defendants from learning the facts on which it approved the other four mergers.
“But DOJ cannot assert that the American-US Airways merger should be blocked because it could cause the same results as the prior mergers, and, at the same time, contend that those mergers have no relevance here. Plaintiffs raised this line of inquiry themselves, and the discovery sought will be used to demonstrate that this merger offers significant procompetitive benefits. Accordingly, Plaintiffs should be compelled to provide the requested discovery.”
Below are some of the most recent news articles this week.
AMR, US Airways Seek Records on Past Airline Merger Approvals (Bloomberg) – 9.20.13
Papers, please: Airlines demand documents from Justice Department (McClatchey) – 9.20.13
IATA DG weighs in on DOJ AA/US merger lawsuit (ATWonline) – 9.20.13
US Airways/American Workers’ Merger Blitz Is Unique, Expert Says (The Street) – 9.20.13
AA US Airways employees lobby in DC for merger (Ft. Worth Star Telegram) – 9.19.13
AMR-US Airways Unions Meet U.S. Official on Merger Suit (Bloomberg Businessweek) – 9.18.13
US Airways, American Airlines looking for merger support on Capitol Hill (Charlotte Business Journal) – 9.17.13
DOJ Airline Lawsuit Is Much Ado About Nothing (The Motley Fool) – 9.16.13
To review documents and news related to the AA/US Airways merger, click here
To reach out to your Senators, Representative and the U.S. Attorney General, click here.
This week, APFA members and union leaders along with APA, TWU and US Airways’ unions and employees took to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional leaders and voice our support for the merger. The message, “Let us compete, together” was shared in more than 300 different meetings in House and Senate offices throughout both days.
While in Washington, APFA President Laura Glading, along with presidents from several other unions, met with Assistant Attorney General William Baer, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. Laura reiterated to the Ass’t AG that this merger is the only path to long-term viability for our airline which is why consumers and employees alike will benefit from it. The events culminated in a widely attended and well-covered press conference in front of the Capitol at which representatives of both companies, the various unions, and members of Congress voiced their support. Among the distinguished guests were: Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), , Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH).
W-9 and the Equity Claim
There are still about 800 FA who have yet to certify their W-9 form. AA has chosen to extend the deadline for now, however, your W-9 must be completed prior to the distribution of shares (which will not happen until AA exits bankruptcy). This, in order to avoid extra deductions from your equity claim payout.
To fill out your W-9, visit www.retireonline.com. If you’ve already completed your W-9 with Computershare, either recently or in connection with a different distribution, there is no need to re-certify since a W-9 does not expire. Visit APFA’s equity claim page for more information.
Thresholds: Employment, Sick, Vacation and Health
Due to the likelihood that we may not see a merger between AA and US Airways prior to December 31, 2013, all FAs should be focused on meeting the current thresholds as outlined in the LBFO.
Employment Threshold: You must have 420 paid hours (or an average of 35 paid hours per active month) during the 2013 calendar year.
Sick and Vacation: You must have 600 paid hours (or an average of 50 paid hours per active month) during the 2013 calendar year.
Health Benefits: Due to the delay of the merger, the decision has been made not to apply the July 31, 2013 look back for 2014 Health Benefits. Rather the threshold for benefits will remain the current 420-paid hours (or an average of 35 hours per active month) on a rolling 12-month look-back basis.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
APFA National Communications Coordinator