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Summer/Fall issue US Airways Retirees LAS Chapter Newsletter

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August 2013

Merger hits turbulence

Airlines vow to fight Washington action
Leaders at US Airways
and American Airlines had expected to spend the second half of September putting the finishing touches on their projected merger. But the 11th-hour objection by the U.S. Department of Justice threatens to upset the merger, or at least delay it. The DOJ, joining attorneys general for six states and the District of Columbia, sued to halt the merger, arguing it would stifle competition, drive up airfares and reduce services. US Airways and AA immediately vowed to fight the DOJ action. Legal teams swooped into action. We are extremely disappointed in this action and believe the DOJ is wrong in its assessment. We will fight them, US Airways chairman Doug Parker said in a letter to employees. I am certain that our proposed merger is the best path forward for both airlines and all of our stakeholders. The betting was that the merger would become a reality in the third quarter of 2013 thats now but both airlines now expect the DOJ move to delay it until the end of the year. Until this matter is resolved, US Airways Retirees Assn. and our friends at the American Airlines retirees organization, the AA Vanguards, will operate under the assumption that the merger will happen Accordingly, we are continuing our plan to merge our two groups. Continued on Page 2

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: A US Airways jet leaves as an American Airlines plane readies for takeoff. The photograph is a metaphor for the impending merger.

Whats up at our meeting?

That handsome fellow in the middle of this story is Tony Priebe, national president of AA Vanguards, the retiree organization of American Airlines. Youll meet him at our next general meeting an event you must not miss. Please note the day has been changed to Monday, Oct. 7 from the preDatebook details
Who: Don Honeycutt and Tony Priebe, national leaders of the US Airways and American Airlines retiree associations. What: Theyre talking about important things that matter to you. Where: Enterprise Library, 25 E. Shelbourne Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89123 When: Monday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Why: Because things are changing rapidly and you need to stay on top of the merger as it happens if it happens. It will affect your hard-won retiree flight benefits. You really need to be there to find out whats going on.

hope) our retiree association is merging with the Vanguards. Both Tony and Don Honeycutt, national chairman of US Airways Retirees, will be on hand at our fall meeting to explain developments. Don and Tony will be available to answer any questions you may have about the merger . Continued on Page 3

Tony Priebe

viously announced September date. Just as US Airways becomes part of the new American Airlines, (we

THE WAY THINGS USED TO BE? Passengers at a US Airways counter soon, perhaps, to be a thing of the past.

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THE WAY THINGS ARE: Treasurer Georgia Latimer listens intently as AA Vanguards chief Tony Priebe explains a few things that might be helpful in merging with our US Airways Retirees Assn. Georgia attended the Vanguards bimonthly meeting recently.

Airlines vow to fight

Continued from Page 1 Both US and AA have mergers under their belt. So we hope they have learned from experience and can blend the best practices of both carriers seamlessly into one protocol for the new American Airlines. The merger will not now be closed by the time gardus, Jr., who worked for the western diviof our Oct. 7 meeting, and airline representa- sion of the airline. It had 28 members. tives must be close-mouthed for legal reasons. The name Vanguard, which means a group in the forefront of an action or movement, was So the only way we are likely to learn much of chosen by member Capt. Captain Cecil anything about what is happening is through Hefner. The Vanguards claim almost 25,000 out own representatives. members today. While we wil become part of the Vanguards, your LAS board believes we also should retain an independent group of US Airways/America West retirees to organize and plan strictly social activities. There is precedent for this within the Vanguards. While it is the formal retirement group for AA, different, smaller organizations also exist, such as the Three Diamonds group for AA retirees who served more than 30 years for the airline.

The merger experiences of both were rife with learning opportunities: Don Honeycutt is national chairman of the US Airways Retirees Assn. Hell be on hand at our meeting. Also there will be Tony Priebe, na US Airways suffered through years of debate and dispute about pilots seniority tional president of the AA Vanguards, the airlines retiree organization. after the merger with America West;

American Airlines still feels rancor from some former TWA retirees who felt they were shafted when AA took over their employer more than 20 years ago.

Both of them, along with our chapter leaders, have taken part in preliminary talks about how and when we blend our two groups. Well continue discussions on our merger at the October meeting. The American Airlines National Vanguard Assn. was founded in 1975 by James F. Bo-

Our members, then, must pay close attention to merger developments .

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Scene of the crime

The American Airlines National Vanguard Assn

Everything you ever wanted to know

First things first: What is a
vanguard and why does the retiree association of American Airlines call itself Vanguards?
Back in business at our usual place. The Enterprise Library, 25 E. Shelbourne Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89123 is the venue for our Oct. 7 meeting. Be there at 11 a.m.

Whats up ..
Continued from Page 1 And in view of the Department of Justice anti-trust objections to the merger, theres bound to be a bit of speculation This well may be the last meeting of the LAS chapter of the US Retirees Assn. as presently constituted. So well have some housekeeping items on our agenda to wind up the group. Members who attended the summer lunch the other week at Henderson airport voted overwhelmingly for a proposal for our group to continue a social-activities only program as AAVanguards takes over the business end of things. The full meeting will be asked to endorse this. Also on the agenda: Discussion of our second outing to the Super Summer Theatre in Spring Mountains State Park, scheduled for late September. Well also begin planning for our intended Why Dont You Go Away? retiree trip to the exciting city of London, England in the spring. We hear some of our new AA friends would like to come along with us. Well also have our usual 50/50 drawing and a raffle for a door prize of a roundtrip SA1P pass. Thats a jam-packed and important meeting. You need to be there. For the Homer Simpsons among you, yes, there might be donuts.

Heres what Merriam Webster dictionary has to say: Vanguard, noun: 1. The troops moving at the head of an army; 2. The forefront of an action or movement. By extension, then, a vanguard in modern usage is any group leading the way, or a position in the forefront of new developments or ideas. The word comes into modern English from the middle Eng-

lish term vauntguard and, earlier, from Anglo-French vangarde or avant-garde, with roots in the Latin abante + garde. (So now you know.) The term thus, is even older than some of our members. The AA vanguards were so named in 1975 by AA Capt. Cecil Hefner who thought the term was apt for a forwardlooking group of retirees. The association was founded earlier that year by James F. Bogardus, a personnel manager for AAs western division, with the encouragement of Ray Unangst, western division vice president.

The Vanguards have many chapters all over the country, claiming a total membership of more than 25,000 AA retirees. In fairness, though, we should note that some of the chapters at least according to the Vanguard website need organization. National president is Tony Priebe. He lives in Henderson, so he also heads the Las Vegas chapter. Tonys email:

Click on the Vanguards website for more information and help. Youll find a lot there. The address is:

Photograph by LYNDA CARLSON BEST OF FRIENDS: A large contingent of US Airways retirees attended the Aug. 14 meeting of AA Vanguards to hear remarks by Charles Telles, general manager of American Airlines Las Vegas station. Vanguards president Tony Priebe, left, and Bernard Hunt, right, thank Telles, who said all he could say about merger developments in the wake of the last-minute Department of Justice challenge. He remains optimistic about the merger and agrees it should be a reality by the end of 2013.

This is the newsletter of the Las Vegas chapter of the US Airways Retirees Association. We are a group of active retirees who helped build US Airways and its associated companies into one of the largest airlines in North America. Find out more about us by visiting our website:

President: Bernard Hunt Email: Tel: (702) 363-3139 Vice president Lou Magne Email:

All hands on deck Do we know who you are? Do we know where you live? Do we have
your email address and telephone number? We need this information to aid us as we merge our retiree group into the American Airlines National Vanguard Assn. Help us to strengthen this organization as a tough lobbying group for retirees to make sure we keep the hard-won retirement benefits we earned. You can notify us by sending a note to Please include your name, address, telephone number, email address, job at U.S. Airways/America West and the date you retired. Better yet, come to the chapter meeting at the Enterprise Library on Mon., Oct 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tell us all about it there and then. We look forward to seeing you.

Treasurer: Georgia Latimer Email:

Secretary: Gloria Schelhase Email:

Board member: Jim Alegre Email:

This and that ...

You cant get there from here anymore: In the scheme of things, what with US Airways merging with American Airlines and all, it probably doesnt matter much. But US Airways finally after months of teasing - finally has moved to D departure gates at McCarran. The ticket counter remains in the same old spot, but passengers now must take the tram to the D gates to catch the plane. But keep a close eye on the ticket counter. It is likely to expand with an influx of AA staff when the merger is closed. garden without seeds, fertilizer or water. Only one member, other than the editor himself, ever has supplied information for the newsletter. And you cant run a publication without content or plant a garden for that matter, either. ) If winter comes, said Shelley, displaying his prosaic side, can spring be far behind? It may not yet be autumn/fall, but the time is ripe for thoughts about where we might want to go when spring pops its head above the horizon. Why dont you go away? As the LAS chapter merges with the Vanguards, we turn our attention to forming a residue social group of former America West and US Airways employees. One of our plans is a spring outing to London not the little one in Canada, the big one in England. As befits retirees budgets, were hoping to do this as economically as possible. Were hoping to recruit a fairly largish group to non-rev to England, stay in hostels and walk all over one of the worlds most fascinating cities. Time to start thinking about planning the jaunt. Its on the agenda for discussion at the Oct. 7 general meeting.

Curtain up, once again. Our last outing to the Super Summer Theatre at Spring Mountains State Park was a rousing success. So were having an encore. On Friday, Sept. 20, were going to see the hysterically funny production The Producers. Be there or be square. If you want to go, send a quick email to

This could well be the last quarterly newsletter of the LAS chapter of the US Airways Retirees Assn. as presently constituted. (Editors comment: Phew, thats a relief. Filling this thing every couple of months is akin to planting a