Thursday, July 8, 2010

DPA Legal Representation

On its non-existent Legal Representation web page, DPA would tell you:

"We have selected the law firm of Seham, Seham, Meltz and Petersen to represent us. This is the same firm that represented the American pilots in their successful bid to break away from ALPA and form their own independent union, the APA."

The web page would also list the resume of Lee Seham, the lead attorney for DPA, and his deceased father, Martin Seham, to further establish the firm's credibility.

While it is true that Martin "Marty" Seham represented the American pilots when they established the Allied Pilots Association (APA) back in 1963, and Lee Seham later served as general counsel, neither the Sehams nor their firm has represented APA since Nov. 11, 1992. Quite the opposite: The Seham firm is now counsel to a group of pilots who, like DPA, are attempting to displace the APA as the collective bargaining representative of their carrier's pilots.

Over 15 years ago, then APA President Richard LaVoy sent a letter to his membership detailing the many factors that went into replacing the Seham firm as general counsel.

In that letter, LaVoy wrote:

"Most importantly, I have a moral, philosophical and practical disagreement in the manner in which the Seham firm has chosen to conduct it's [its] law practice. From my point of view, it is unwise and not in the best interest of APA's pilots to continue it's [its] relationship with a law firm that has amassed such a record."

The letter went on to say that the Seham firm usually represents management in disputes between employers and employees and has a long history of what can only be considered anti-union and anti-employee activities.

"It is just common sense that Ralph Nader will not work for General Motors and Frank Lorenzo will not work for unions," LaVoy wrote. "While management and pilots both want a strong, secure and prosperous company, they can differ on how those goals should be achieved."

As if that weren't enough, the letter went on to state:

"The lawyer's standard permitted Seham to represent management in proceedings which attempted to dismantle the union representing El Al's U.S. employees, and permitted him to represent SAS when it went to court to stop Eastern's unions from picketing the airline in an attempt to get SAS to stop sending tens of millions in aid to Frank Lorenzo during the strike. At the same time our General Counsel was assisting Lorenzo's financial backers, APA's pilots were contributing over $200,000 to Eastern's pilots to help stave off Lorenzo. These are not hypothetical examples, but actual cases where Seham represented management against unionized employees!"

In an attachment that supports his letter, APA described in further detail how Seham represented both management and scabs in numerous legal proceedings in the federal courts and in administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and the National Mediation Board.