The dissidents of American Airlines mount their challenge, and decide on their future, with or without ALPA.
The pilots of American Airlines decide to chart their own future after the issue of crew complement returns to the forefront, and dissident leaders seize their chance to break away.
ALPA's during its early years was a remarkable story of unification across company lines. There were cracks lying under the surface, but unity kept any schisms at bay. But as time went by, the old spirit of shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity among ALPA's pilots began to erode. The new generation of pilots coming up were complacent about ALPA and the importance of unity, which would lead to the largest split that ALPA has experienced in its history.
The unique experiences of Charles Ruby’s life and career made him an unlikely choice for the Association’s president. But his due to the circumstances surrounding the departures of his predecessors, and the place ALPA was in at the time of his election, it could only have been Charley Ruby.
The striking pilots of Southern Airways resort to unorthodox tactics, including starting their own airline, to win public support, and the federal government intervenes. But this strike tests the Association like no conflict prior. And with the country’s election of a new president – new opportunities for labor arise.
In stark contrast with his fellow airline operators, the president of Southern Airways, Frank Hulse, goes to war with his airline’s pilots by cutting pay and benefits to bolster his own profits. While the pilots are forced to resort to unorthodox and inventive methods to plead their case with the flying public, Hulse takes strike-breaking to a new low by hiring unqualified pilots.
A prank by a pilot in the jumpseat on a scheduled passenger flight highlights the need for more stringent standards on who should be afforded the right to have a seat on the flight deck. But this battle with federal regulators over crew complement would set the foundation for what would be the toughest and most painful period for ALPA in the years to come.