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O’Melveny’s Siegel Quoted in The Washington Post on American-US Airways Merger

March 04, 2013

O’Melveny & Myers LLP partner Robert Siegel recently spoke to The Washington Post about a pivotal labor agreement reached ahead of the announcement of the proposed US$11 billion merger between American Airlines and US Airways. In the March 4, 2013, article “American-US Airways Merger is ‘A New Way of Doing Business’” the paper notes that the labor deal is among the ways the merger is setting precedent.

Prior to the merger announcement, the unions representing pilots at both airlines reached a joint agreement establishing that members of both unions would receive the same pay and working conditions following the merger. Siegel, a Los Angeles-based member of O’Melveny’s Labor and Employment Practice who represents US Airways in labor negotiations with the Airlines Pilots Association, called the pre-merger labor agreement “a unique feature you don’t see in most of the other mergers.” He added that the process of negotiating a combined labor contract, which in previous mergers did not begin until after the deals were completed, often takes years. Siegel previously handled contract negotiations in the US Airways-America West and United-Continental mergers, and labor litigation in the Delta-Northwest merger. According to Siegel, the advance agreement reached in the proposed American-US Airways merger, by contrast, means that “the pilot groups are treated the same from day one, instead of starting with two different status quos.” He also noted that it created more predictability about cost structure.