It's time American Airlines and its pilots union worked out a new labor contract.In fact, it's so far past time it's heartbreaking. American and the Allied Pilots Association have been formally negotiating off and on since October 2007, and it's been a very frustrating five years.Each side blames the other. Smart people should have been able to make smart decisions and reach an agreement by now. These are smart people, but they haven't.On Monday, APA said it has received a letter from the company expressing a desire to return to the bargaining table. The union's board of directors has scheduled a meeting today to consider its response.The answer can only be yes. Despite years of frustration, the only thing to do is try again.The last time the airline and the APA agreed on a contract was in April 2003, when the pilots and other American employees joined to give their company $1.6 billion a year in concessions. It was a last-minute deal to save American from bankruptcy.American's parent, AMR Corp., strung together profitable years in 2006 and 2007. But it didn't last, and AMR declared bankruptcy in November.Flight attendants and other work groups have since agreed to new contracts. The pilots have not, and the bankruptcy judge has told American it can toss out its old APA contract and impose new terms on pilot employment, pay and work rules.Some pilots -- without union approval -- are doing things to hurt their airline, American says.Spokesman Bruce Hicks says sick leave is "at the highest level it's been for at least two decades," requiring schedule cutbacks.Pilots have used last-minute maintenance requests to cause flight delays and cancellations. Hicks cited reports as minor as the need to check out a broken coffee pot or an uncomfortable pilot seat.Pilot reports of possible noise from the front landing gear have increased sharply, meaning the plane must be taken out of service, bringing cancellations at several airports, Hicks said.All this makes for frustrated customers, and people book their future flights on other airlines.It's time for this to end.