ALPA President's Department Records

Accession Number: 
Use restriction: 
Box numbering is not continuous; researchers must specify part number. Researchers are required to sign a restricted use form to review materials in box 8 of part 1.
139.5 linear feet (191 MB, 43 SB, 3 OS)

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.

Part IV consists of records from the Southern Airways strike of 1960-1962. The collection largely contains correspondence, including communications regarding matters that weren’t settled until long after the strike ended.

Attachment(click to download)
LR000247_PD_guide.pdfLR000247_PD_guide.pdf357.31 KB