The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) was established in early spring of 1997 when Captain Mike Cronin (APA) gathered together a large labor force to address their concerns in Congress. Their approach was unique and effective - pilots working for pilots. This philosophy has become the bedrock of CAPA.
The Coalition evolved as a strong and effective voice of independent unions after several years of informal cooperation. Things crystallized during and after the American Airlines pilots strike in 1997. To end the strike, President Clinton ordered the pilots back to work and convened a Presidential Emergency Board to hear the arguments of both sides and recommend a settlement. Had APA and American not resolved their dispute with the help of the Presidential Emergency Board, Congress could have dictated the terms of the settlement. Throughout the process, the unions that later would form CAPA joined together and urged Congress not to intervene.
The coalition’s reputation and strong voice in Congress led Captains Cronin and McPhail to formally establish the coalition. During the summer of 1997, the organization presented to the membership its first Memorandum of Understanding. Additionally, the coalition received its official name – The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations.
Currently, CAPA is well-known in Congress and among the Government Agencies for its collective strength, integrity and responsible approach when addressing issues of common interest for pilots. When a bill was introduced that would have allowed “baseball-style” arbitration, essentially ending collective bargaining, CAPA fought hard to enable pilots to continue negotiations under the Railway Labor Act. CAPA has been a strong supporter for the FFDO program and was instrumental in securing the opportunity for cargo pilots to carry arms. Currently, CAPA is addressing issues ranging from cabotage to cargo inspection and biometrics.