Shlachter, Nishimura & Baker: Results of American union vote expected Tuesday

Will American Airlines mechanics sign a new contract or opt for a possible strike?

The results of contract ratification votes for the Fort Worth-based carrier's mechanics, maintenance technicians and stock clerks are expected to be announced Tuesday.

The tentative agreements between the airline and the Transport Workers Union, which represents the three groups, include signing bonuses, wage increases and holiday pay. However, they reduce retiree medical benefits for employees under age 49 and make the Tulsa and Alliance Fort Worth maintenance bases 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations.

More than 13,000 workers have had 30 days to submit their paper ballots, which were due to the union at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The ballots gave members two choices: "I vote to accept" or "I vote to reject and authorize the negotiating team to take whatever action necessary up to and including a strike."

Even if the tentative deals are voted down, the union cannot immediately go on strike. Under the Railway Labor Act, airline unions must first ask federal mediators to declare an impasse between the two parties.

After an impasse is declared, a 30-day cooling-off period begins and must expire before any job action, such as a strike by labor or lockout by the company, can occur.

The American Arbitration Association will count the ballots and announce the results of the votes on the three tentative agreements Tuesday afternoon.

Moving up

It isn't just Exxon Mobil Corp. suddenly benefiting from the ample talent pool at XTO Energy, the Fort Worth-based natural gas and oil producer that is now an Exxon Mobil subsidiary.

Stephens Inc., a Little Rock-based investment banking firm, has snared William Butler, who was a vice president and assistant treasurer at XTO.

Butler, 33, will be a Stephens senior vice president charged with developing an oil and gas exploration and production research practice.

He will work with research analyst Will Green and research associate Ben Wyatt in a new Stephens office at Carter Burgess Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

Butler "brings an invaluable level of [exploration and production] industry experience to Stephens and is highly regarded by his peers within the industry," said Nik Fisken, Stephens executive vice president and director of research, in announcing that the XTO executive would be rejoining the firm for which he previously had worked.

At XTO, Butler "was responsible for evaluating strategic financial planning alternatives, executive financings, and supporting bank, rating agency and investor relations," Stephens said in its announcement. Butler worked seven years at XTO after having been an investment banker with Stephens from 2000 to 2003.

Aviation and 9-11

The University of Texas at Dallas is hosting a 9-11 symposium featuring air traffic controllers and pilots who dealt with the crisis that day.

Navigating Chaos: Aviation's Response on 9/11 will be held 1-4 p.m. Sept. 11 at the UT Dallas Conference Center, 600 W. Campbell Road in Richardson. The event is free, but seating is limited.

Speakers will include Ben Sliney, the Federal Aviation Administration national operations manager who ordered the shutdown of U.S. airspace and played himself in the movie Flight 93; Colin Scoggins, an FAA Boston Center controller who remained at his post instead of heeding an order to evacuate; two military pilots who took to the skies that day with no weapons; Chuck Savall, a Midwest Express pilot who landed without clearance after flying low on fuel over four states; and Dan Creedon, a Reagan National Airport controller who diverted traffic away from American Flight 77, which rammed into the Pentagon.

Registration information:

American promotions

American Airlines is moving three executives into new positions.

The company said Kurt Stache, vice president and general sales manager, will become vice president-international, be based in London and assume responsibility for the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Derek DeCross, with American since 1996, will replace Stache and be responsible for leading American's sales team. Maya Leibman, with American since 1994, will take over as president of the AAdvantage frequent-flier program.

Stache will report to American President Tom Horton. DeCross and Leibman will report to American's chief commercial officer, Virasb Vahidi.

Lockheed contract

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth has been awarded a $111.4 million contract modification to provide sustainment services to the Air Force for F-22 fighters in 2010.

With prior contracts, Lockheed has received orders totaling $241.6 million for the F-22 sustainment work.

Staff writers Andrea Ahles, Jack Z. Smith, and Bob Cox contributed to this column.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718

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