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ALPA President's Department Records Edit

Summary

Identifier
LR000247
Finding Aid Author
Processed by DMD.
Finding Aid Date
1968-03
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description
English

Dates

  • 1931 – 1998 (Creation)

Extents

  • 139 Linear Feet (Whole)
    (190 MB, 43 SB, 3 OS)

Agent Links

Subjects

Notes

  • Language of Materials

    Material entirely in English.

  • Abstract

    The President's Department records are arranged in three parts.

    Part I: The Air Line Pilots Association was formed in secret in 1930 by a group of “Key Men” from each airline, they formed openly and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor in 1931. In that same year David Behncke was elected president of ALPA, an office he held twenty years, until being recalled in 1951 (and off and on through 1952 during his legal battle with ALPA). His successor, Clarence Sayen, held office eleven years from 1951-62 and was replaced by Charles Ruby from 1962-70. These three president’s tenures make up part 1 of the President’s Department records. The collection is divided by each president’s term of office, with some overlap in election years, and some overlap between Behncke and Sayen from 1951-52 during the court battles and periodic switches in president. The collection is further divided into: correspondence (external, internal, and with airlines) and the supporting documentation, subject files, and governing bodies and committee records for each president’s tenure. Some of the subjects include: Psychological Testing, Medical Testing, Pilot Benefits, Hijacking, Flight Engineers Jurisdictional Dispute, Crew Complement, Age 60 Rule, United Airlines Class and Craft Dispute, American Airlines Secession, ALPA/ALSSA Split, Behncke Recall, Washington Move, and Technological Innovations.

    Part II reflects the office's activities, primarily under J.J. O'Donnell, in coordinating the activities of ALPA local offices and in speaking on behalf of its members in the media and before various government bodies. Predominately correspondence and reports, these records cover subjects such as airline mergers & strikes, airport security, bomb threats, hijacking, and terrorism. Important correspondents include J. Edgar Hoover and George E. Hopkins.

    Part III focuses on the careers of the fourth, fifth, and sixth presidents of the Association, J.J. O’Donnell (1970-82), Henry Duffy (1982-90), and J. Randolph Babbitt (1990-98). One of the major issues the presidents from this era had to contend with was deregulation, which completely changed the landscape of the airline industry and the way unions functioned in that system. All three presidents struggled in the aftermath of unforeseen problems and challenges to ALPA pilots including Alter Ego airlines, Chapter 11 union-busting tactics, and the introduction of a B-scale. Other issues they faced include Hijacking, Crew Complement, Age 60 Rule, Cabatoge, Drug and Alcohol Testing, and Strikes at Continental and Eastern Airlines. Part III includes correspondence with government departments, industry organizations, and ALPA members; presidential statements; governing bodies minutes; department files; and committee meetings and reports.

  • Acquisition

    Part I: The records are from various shipments from the President’s Department from 1967-1972. This collection was reprocessed and additional records were added.

    Part II: The papers of the President's Dept. of the Air Line Pilots Association were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in August of 1977 by the Association.

    Part III: These records are from various shipments from the President’s Department from 1977-1999.

  • Processing History

    Part I: Originally processed by DMD, March 1968. Reprocessed with additional records added, 2012. Finding aid written by Kathy Makas, September 2012.

    Part II: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in April 1990.

    Part III: Processed and finding aid written by Kathy Makas on July 25, 2013.

  • Access

    Collection is open for research.

  • Use

    Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.

  • Citation Style

    "ALPA President's Department Records, Part [#], Box [#], Folder [#], Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University"

  • Related Materials

    The ALPA President’s Department Pt. II records contains more material related to J.J. O’Donnell’s presidency.

  • Transfers

    Oversized poster of ALPA/ALSSA Charter of Affiliation has been moved to the Reuther’s audiovisual department. An inventory has been included in this finding aid.

  • History

    Part I: The Air Line Pilots Association was formed in secret in 1930 by a group of “Key Men” from each airline, they formed openly and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor in 1931. In that same year, Dav id Behncke was elected president of ALPA, an office he held twenty years, until being recalled in 1951 (and off and on through 1952). His successor, Clarence Sayen, held office eleven years from 1951-62 and was replaced by Charles Ruby from 1962-70. These three president’s tenures make up part 1 of the President’s Department records.

    Behncke played an integral part in forming ALPA, and shaping the organization during its first twenty years of existence. Behncke’s leadership was that of one-man rule and he was personally involved in all aspects of the Association, which worked well in the early years but proved his downfall as the organization grew in size. Behncke focused on creating changes in the pilot profession through legislation. He pushed for less hours, safer scheduling as well as more safety requirements in aviation. He also worked hard towards better benefits for pilots, specifically retirement protection. He fought against company and government psychological testing, as well as unnecessary and unjust physical testing. Through his hands-on style of leadership Behncke kept the fledgling organization going through its early years and built a strong and powerful union for pilots.

    By the late 1940s, however, it was clear to most people involved in ALPA that the Association had grown too large for Behncke’s style of leadership. In 1951, the workers at the home office in Chicago threatened to strike over unfair working conditions and hours. When the Executive Board approached Behncke with questions on conditions in the office he refused in discuss it with them. The Board then elected a committee to study the organization and the conditions in the home office, and to offer recommendations for changes. This committee found that the Association needed to decentralize authority and make some organizational changes. Behncke refused to recognize the validity of this group, and refused to attend meetings called to hear the reports. He issued several letters and telegrams to ALPA members with diatribes against the committee and certain staff members. Eventually the Executive Board called a Board of Directors meeting in July, which recalled Behncke and elected as president Clarence Sayen, then serving as ALPA’s Executive Vice President. Behncke, however, refused to step down, declared the meeting illegal, and fired Sayen. ALPA took Behncke to court and by August Sayen had been reinstated. During the next year the presidency switched from Sayen to Behncke and back as Behncke refused to give up leadership of ALPA and took his fight to court. Eventually after several petitions from the membership to recall Behncke, and a long drawn out court battle, Sayen was permanently placed as president in 1952.

    Sayen’s years in office were years of great change in the aviation business and the structure of ALPA. Under Sayen ALPA’s authority and structure was decentralized into several departments who reported to the president. ALPA became a much more democratic organization and he encouraged members to actively participate in the association rather that allowing it to be run from the top down. As the aviation field changed with jet aircraft and larger commercial airline travel, Sayen focused on technological changes in air travel, air safety, and international air travel. He was a member of several national and international committees and was active in the aviation and labor field outside the immediate interests of ALPA, thus broadening the Association’s outlook. Sayen was president during the crew complement controversy with the Flight Engineer’s International Association during which ALPA battled for sole representation of cockpit personnel. He was also responsible for creating the Steward and Stewardess Division of ALPA after ALSSA split from ALPA in 1959-60. In 1961 Sayen announced he planned to resign, but stayed onboard until 1962 to make a smooth transition for the next president, Charles Ruby.

    Ruby was elected in 1962 to serve as ALPA’s third president. Ruby had been with the association from its earliest days and had been very active in the association throughout that time. During Ruby’s time as president the aviation industry was becoming larger and with it more problems, including air safety and hijackings which he and ALPA were forced to address. Ruby faced controversy with the American Airlines pilots, over autonomy and crew complement issues, a problem that had been brewing since the late 1950s. ALPA and the AAA pilot could not be resolve their differences, leading to their split with ALPA and a lawsuit in 1963. Ruby also presided over ALPA’s move from Chicago to Washington in 1968, which many members had been desirous of for some time. He left office in 1970 and was replaced by J. J. O’Donnell.

    Part II: The Air Line Pilots Association was founded in 1930. ALPA affiliated with teh American Federation of Labor in 1931 and during the 1930s became the principal bargaining agent for professionally employed American airline pilots. After World War II, ALPA membership increased significantly due to the growth of commercial airlines. By 1970, over 30,000 airline pilots were members of ALPA and stewards and stewardesses along with other occupations in the airline industry had become an important segment of the union. The President's Office (in Washington D.C.) oversees the negotiations and grievance cases (although primary repsponsibility for these matters rests with the regional offices). Between 1965 and 1975, the President's Dept., under Charles Ruby and J. J. O'Donnell, became increasaingly involved in the settlement of pilot grievances resulting from airline mergers, accident prevention and other health and safety issues and the deterrence of hijackings and bombings. Throughout this period the president was the national spokesman for airline pilots appearing frequently in public forums and on television.

    Part III: Part III of the ALPA President’s Department Records focuses on the careers of the fourth, fifth, and sixth presidents of the Association, J.J. O’Donnell (1970-82), Henry Duffy (1982-90), and J. Randolph Babbitt (1990-98). This part documents subjects such as Hijacking, Deregulation, Alter Ego Airlines, Crew Complement, Age 60 Rule, Cabatoge, Drug and Alcohol Testing, and Strikes at Continental and Eastern Airlines.

    J.J. O’Donnell’s presidency spanned a tumultuous twelve years of aviation history as he faced issues of skyjacking, mandatory retirement at age 60, crew complement, use of Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) systems, and deregulation. O’Donnell took office in the middle of a major spike in hijackings throughout the industry and a large part of his time and focus in his early years was spent on making cockpits safer for pilots, and airplanes safer for passengers. Working closely with his Executive Administrator Jack Bavis, O’Donnell pursued research in psychological aspects of skyjackers, human factors and safety responses for pilots, and airport security systems. Through legislation and public awareness ALPA pushed for tighter airport security, scanning systems, and passenger screenings. They also instituted a wide range of training programs for pilots dealing with hijackings and threats, and saw a sharp decrease in aerial hijackings by the mid-1970s. Soon however, O’Donnell and ALPA faced another major problem with the coming of deregulation in 1978, which completely changed the landscape of the airline industry and the way unions functioned in that system. O’Donnell and ALPA had lobbied unsuccessfully against deregulation and struggled in the aftermath of unforeseen problems and challenges to their work environment. Many airlines instituted Alter Ego lines, functioning as a technically separate company which freed the parent airline of labor fees, thus enabling them to run at much lower costs to the detriment of the unionized airlines. Through publicity and lobbying O’Donnell fought against these Alter Ego lines as a major threat to ALPA pilots’ job security and standard of living. O’Donnell left office in 1982, with ALPA’s position in the airline industry somewhat more stable, though still unsure in the turbulent environment following deregulation.

    Henry Duffy, a pilot from Delta Airlines, followed O’Donnell into office and remained president until 1990. Duffy took office in the still unsettled industry following deregulation and would face many challenges with union-busting management tactics. One of Duffy’s biggest challenges would be bankruptcies on several airlines, leaving many pilots without a job or forced to start at the bottom of the seniority list if they joined a new airline. Some of the companies genuinely went bankrupt, never to function again, but Frank Lorenzo used bankruptcy to rid his airlines of the unions. He used this tactic on both Texas International Airlines, and Continental Airlines, declaring Chapter 11, voiding all contracts, and starting over again with non-union labor. This caused outrage at ALPA but the Association was relatively powerless to do anything in the era of deregulation. Under Duffy’s leadership ALPA took a strong stand and instituted a sympathy strike on Eastern Airlines to support the IAM, hoping to eradicate Lorenzo’s bankruptcy tactic. ALPA partially succeed by demonstrating they would not acquiesce to union-busting, and Lorenzo lost the airline, but Eastern ceased operations and many of their pilots were without work. Duffy responded by working hard to help pilots from carriers that failed in the years after deregulation get jobs on other airlines or in other lines of business by building up career development and family awareness programs, and a strong support network for unemployed pilots. Duffy also lobbied hard against B scale pay, random drug testing of pilots, and improper use of CVR.

    J. Randolph (Randy) Babbitt took office in 1990 and remained until 1998. By this time the airline industry had more or less adjusted to deregulation, and ALPA had taken their stand against union-busting Alter Ego airlines and Chapter 11 tactics. Babbitt worked to solve problems that bankruptcies and new airlines had caused for airline pilots, instituting fragmentation policies to ensure pilots with seniority could transfer to other lines, and continued policies and programs to aid unemployed pilots. Babbitt took strong stands against random drug and alcohol testing, through pressure on the FAA and pilot outreach. He also attacked the practice of Cabatoge, which allowed foreign pilots to fly US aircraft and routes, threatening the job security of ALPA pilots.

  • Scope and Content

    The collection is divided by each president’s term of office. There is some overlap in election years, and some overlap between Behncke and Sayen from 1951-52 during the court battles and periodic switches in president. The collection is further divided into: correspondence (external, internal, and with airlines) and the supporting documentation, subject files, and governing bodies and committee records for each president’s tenure.

    The Behncke years are rather sparse, as when he left ALPA he took his records with him. While there is minimal correspondence, that which remains showcases Behncke’s emphasis on changes through legislation, with Mayor LaGuardia and representatives Melvin Maas and James Mead among his correspondents. Behncke’s style of leadership and issues he worked on are highlighted in the subject files and convention related records. Within the Behncke years there is also a fair amount of pamphlets and other records of the founding of ALPA and some of the problems the association faced early on. Behncke’s recall is documented through correspondence, petitions, governing bodies records and court documents.

    The records of president Sayen make up the bulk of the collection. There is a large amount of correspondence, both internal, external and with airlines along with the documents to support this correspondence. The correspondence, and also his memberships in other organizations in his personal files, shows that Sayen worked to broaden ALPA’s outlook and participate with other unions, the aviation industry both in the United States and internationally as well as work with government agencies to promote aviation safety. Sayen faced some major controversies which are highlighted in correspondence, subject files, and governing bodies which included the crew complement problem, the United Airlines class and craft issue, and the ALSSA split from ALPA.

    President Ruby’s records round out the collection. Included are correspondence, again internal, external and with airlines, governing bodies and committees, and subject iles. The records document some of the challenges faced by Ruby including the ALPA move to Washington, American Airlines leaving ALPA, as well as hijacking incidents.

    Important Subjects: Age discrimination in employment—United States Air safety Air traffic control Airline pilots Airlines Collective bargaining Airlines—Employees—Labor unions Airlines Hijacking Airlines—Mergers Airlines—Safety measures Airlines—Safety regulations Airlines—Security measures Airlines—Strikes and lockouts Airlines—Technological innovations—United States Airlines—United States—Management Airplane Airworthiness Airplanes—Noise Airplanes—Piloting Airplanes—Piloting—Safety measures Alcohol Law and Legislation Civil Aeronautics Board (U.S.) Federal Aviation Administration Flight attendants—Labor unions—United States Flight Engineer’s International Association National Mediation Board (U. S.) National Transportation Safety Board (U. S.) Pilots and pilotage Stewardesses, Airline Terrorism

    Important Names: Anderson, W. W. LeRoux, Grant Shapiro, Larry Behncke, David Maas, Melvin Spencer, F. A. Black, Hugo McMurray, Kay Talton, J. P. Cates, Larry Mead, James Weiss, Henry Colby, Viola Meany, George Wood, Jerry Colvin, Scruggs Modes, Ed Eisenhower, Dwight D. Monroney, Mike Green, William Quesada, E. R. Johns, Glyn Reuther, Walter Johnson, Lyndon B. Ruby, Charles Kennedy, John F. Ruppenthal, Karl Laguardia, Fiorello Sayen, Clarence

    Abbreviations: AATU, Association of Aviation Transport Unions ALEA, Air Line Employees Association ALDA, Air Line Dispatchers Association ALPA, Airline Pilots Association ALPG, Air Line Pilots Group ALSSA, Air Line Steward and Stewardess Association ATPA, Air Transport Pilots Association BALPA, British Air Line Pilots Association CAA, Civil Aeronautics Administration CAB, Civil Aeronautics Board CALPA, Canadian Air Line Pilots Association CAR, Civil Aviation Requirements FAA, Federal Aviation Agency (later Administration) FEIA, Flight Engineer’s International Association IAM, International Association of Machinists IFALPA, International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations ITF, International Transport Workers Federation NACA, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics NANAC, National Aircraft Noise Abatement Council NATCC, National Air Transport Coordination Committee RTCA, Radio Technical Committee for Aeronautics UFMCA, United Flight Crew Members Association UPA, Union of Professional Airmen

    Series Description: Series I: David Behncke Presidency, 1931-1951 (Boxes 1-19) Subseries A. General and Airline Correspondence: Includes internal and external Correspondence and related documents Subseries B. Subject Files: 1. Personal and historical documents 2. Subject A-Z 3. Behncke Recall Subseries C. Governing Bodies and Committees

    Series II: Clarence Sayen Presidency, 1951-1962 (Boxes 19-134) Subseries A: General and Airline Correspondence, includes internal and external correspondence and related documents Subseries B. Subject Files 1. Personal, historical documents, and memberships 2. Subject A-Z 3. United Airlines Class and Craft Subseries C. Governing Bodies and Committees

    Series III: Charles Ruby Presidency, 1962-1970 (Boxes 134-178) Subseries A. General and Airline Correspondence: Includes internal and external correspondence and related documents Subseries B. Subject Files 1. Personal, and memberships 2. Subject A-Z 3. American Airlines Secession Subseries C. Governing Bodies and Committees

    Series IV: Audiovisual and Oversize

    Part II: Important subjects: Airline Mergers Airline Strikes Airport Security Bomb Threats Hijackings Terrorism

    Importent correspondents: J. J. O'Donnell J. Edgar Hoover George E. Hopkins

    Series Description: Series I, Airline Files, 1968-1973 Correspondence between the President's Office of ALPA and union locals at the various airline companies (Local Executive Councils) relating to airline strikes and othermatters pertaining to specific airlines.

    Series II, General Files, 1967-1974 General Office files of the President's Office. Particularly well documented is ALPA's relationship with various governmental agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Series III, Security Files, 1968-1974 Correspondence, memoranda, reports and other material relating to airline seurity including the prevention of hijackings and bombings. Accounts of actual hijackings are also included.

    Series IV, Chronological Files, 1973-1974 copies of correspondence from the Presidents Office from January 1973 through June 1974.

    Part III: This installment of the President’s Department records is split into three series, documenting the tenure of each of the ALPA presidents from 1970-1998 and is further divided into subseries including correspondence, airline files, subject files, governing bodies, department records, and committee work.

    The bulk of the collection is made of up documents from ALPA’s fourth president, J.J. O’Donnell, who served from 1970-1982. Correspondence makes up a large share of the records, and documents O’Donnell’s battles with hijacking, as well as ALPA’s scramble to maintain during the deregulation crisis of the late 1970s. Subject files include airport and aircraft security issues revolving around skyjacking, as well as crew complement, and Age 60 research. This series also documents ALPA’s internal workings through Board of Directors records, department correspondence and activity reports, and committee minutes. In addition, a complete record of O’Donnell’s public statements and some speeches are included, along with an index.

    Henry Duffy, president from 1982-1990, came into office with the desire to communicate better and more directly with the membership and this is reflected in his series of documents. The correspondence, both general, and airline related, ranges from MEC chairmen to veteran line pilots and new members. Along with airline correspondence, the subject files and department files of Duffy’s years as president reflect ALPA’s struggle after deregulation, including many strikes and bankruptcies.

    The documentation of the presidency of J. Randolph Babbitt, who was ALPA’s president from 1990-98, is rather scant, but highlights Babbitt’s commitment, like his predecessor, to more membership communication. The series is made up almost completely of airline correspondence and documents the interaction between the membership and the national officers and the growing accountability demanded of the leadership to explain continuing issues from deregulation, bankruptcies, mergers, and technological changes in the industry.

    Important Subjects: Age discrimination in employment—United States Air safety Air traffic control Airline pilots Airlines Collective bargaining Airlines—Employees—Labor unions Airlines Hijacking Airlines—Mergers Airlines—Safety measures Airlines—Safety regulations Airlines—Security measures Airlines—Strikes and lockouts Airlines—Technological innovations—United States Airlines—United States—Management Airplanes—Piloting Airplanes—Piloting—Safety measures Civil Aeronautics Board (U.S.) Cockpit voice recorders Deregulation—United States Federal Aviation Administration Flight attendants—Labor unions—United States National Mediation Board (U. S.) National Transportation Safety Board (U. S.) Pilots and pilotage Stewardesses, Airline Terrorism

    Important Names: Anderson, W.W. Ashwood, Tom Babbitt, J. Randolph Bavis, Jack Duffy, Henry Erickson, John Gilstrap, Rod Green, Gary Hammerley, Robert O’Donnell, J.J. Pike, Howard Robertson, Patricia Rueck, Kelly

    Series Description: Series I: J.J. O’Donnell Presidency, 1970-1982 (Boxes 1-24) A. General and Airline Correspondence; includes internal and external correspondence and related documents B. Administrative Files; personal and A-Z Subject files C. Governing Bodies, Department Files, and Committees

    Series II: Henry Duffy Presidency, 1982-1990 (Boxes 24-39) A.General and Airline Correspondence; includes internal and external correspondence and related documents B. Administrative Files; personal and A-Z Subject files C. Governing Bodies, Department Files, and Committees

    Series III: J. Randolph Babbitt Presidency, 1990-1998 (Boxes 39-43) A. General and Airline Correspondence; includes internal and external correspondence and related documents B. Governing Bodies

  • Arrangement

    Part I: Arranged in 4 series – Series I (Boxes 1-19), Series II (Boxes 19-134), Series III (Boxes 134-178), and Series IV (Boxes 179-181). Folders are arranged chronologically and alphabetically.

    Part II: Note that box numbering begins at 1. Arranged in 4 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-5), Series 2 (Boxes 5-8), Series 3 (Boxes 9-10), and Serie 4 (Boxes 11-12). Folders are arranged alphabetically in series 1-3 and chronologically in series 4.

    Part III: Note that box numbering begins at 1. Arranged in 3 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-24), Series 2 (Boxes 24-29), and Series 3 (Boxes 39-43). Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder.

    Each series is divided into 3 subseries.

Components