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August 31, 1948



Dear Member:

Time moves swiftly. Sometimes the speed with which one month follows another, and the totals are added, is alarming. In February the National Airlines strike took place and here it is August with six months intervening. Perhaps a brief summary review of the past ALPA actions and the current status of National's strike happenings would be revealing for our membership.

First, it took almost a superhuman effort to bring the strike before a Presidential Emergency Board, and this would never have been accomplished had it not been for the fact that the pilots of other air lines had refused to cross the picket lines of the National Airlines pilots, thereby creating an emergency which threatened substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive a section of the country of essential transportation service. (See Section 10 of the Railway Labor Act). Had this action not been taken by the pilots, President Truman would never have appointed the Emergency Board.

The hearings before the Emergency board began on May 25, 1948, and extended intermittently until July 1, 1948. Eight days later, on July 9, 1948, the Presidential Emergency Board handed down a decision as follows:

"(a): The Board, therefore, recommends that the striking pilots be reinstated as working employees.

"(b): The Board further recommends that paragraph (m), page 23, of the agreement between National Airlines, Inc. and the Air Line Pilots in the service of the National Airlines, Inc., effective December 9, 1941, be amended and supplemented to the end that in case that said System Board of Adjustment becomes deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on any matter properly coming before it, either party may thereupon petition the National Mediation Board for the appointment of a neutral referee to sit with the System Board of Adjustment, as a member thereof. Such Systems Board of Adjustment as then constituted shall hear the parties with reference to the dispute pending before it, de novo, and a majority vote of the Board shall be final and conclusive between the parties.

"(c) The Board also recommends that the O'Neal dispute be finally determined pursuant to the agreement of the parties dated May 14, 1947, by the System Board of Adjustment augmented by a neutral member to be appointed by the National Mediation Board."

The Presidential Board, at the same time, found Mr. Baker and National Airlines guilty of the following:

"Failure to afford an impartial determination of the propriety of a pilot's discharge caused the strike and the responsibility for the strike rests with the carrier.

"The story revealed by the evidence is one of disregard for statutory and contractual obligations on the part of the Carrier. It indicates an immaturity and lack of responsibility which is not consistent with the duties imposed by Congress upon carriers in Interstate Commerce."