American Airlines

American Airlines pilots to vote on contract offer

American Airlines pilots will be voting on management’s latest contract offer which includes 23 percent pay raises but does not include work rule changes the union had hoped to implement in a new contract.
American Airlines pilots will be voting on management’s latest contract offer which includes 23 percent pay raises but does not include work rule changes the union had hoped to implement in a new contract. Star-Telegram archives

American Airlines pilots will vote on management’s latest contract offer, which includes 23 percent pay raises but not work rule changes that the union had hoped to implement.

On Saturday, the Allied Pilots Association’s board of directors decided to send the offer out to its members for a vote. The union and American’s management have been in discussions on a joint collective bargaining agreement to cover pilots from both American and US Airways.

“With their arbitrary deadline and without complete contract language, management placed the pilot group in an extremely difficult situation,” the union board said in a message to pilots Saturday evening. The board said it voted Saturday to accept the contract in principle and send it out for a vote but the voting process will not begin until the union has final contract language, particularly on how the airline plans to combine international and domestic divisions.

American’s offer includes 23 percent pay raises at signing and annual increases of 3 percent starting this month through 2019. It does not include a profit-sharing plan, which pilots at Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have in their contracts.

The union leaders proposed a work rule change Saturday that would let the Allied Pilots Association solve the issue of pilots spending “20 days or more away from home each month for as little as 72 hours of pay.”

American management rejected that proposal, the union said.

“With American Airlines projected to earn record profits exceeding $4 billion this year and forecasts of industry-leading profits and margins going forward, it makes no sense to approach these negotiations as if American Airlines remains in Chapter 11 restructuring,” the union board said.

“Those days are long gone, and bankruptcy-era contractual provisions need to disappear with them. It’s time for the long-promised culture change to materialize.”

If pilots approve the contract, the pay rates will be retroactive to Dec. 2. If they reject it, the union and management are scheduled to begin arbitration hearings Feb. 24.

“We are pleased our pilots will have a chance to vote on a contract that provides an immediate 23 percent pay increase and recognizes their contributions at American,” the company said in a statement.

In a letter sent to pilots before Christmas, American President Scott Kirby said the pay rates would be 7 percent higher on average than those at Delta.

Because negotiations had reached a standstill, Kirby said the company was preparing for arbitration. Under its merger agreement with the pilots, the arbitration contract has a set value that is lower than what the company has offered the union.

American is in contract talks with all its major unions except for flight attendants. Last fall, they rejected a contract offer by American and were awarded a lower-value contract in arbitration.

However, American’s management added higher pay rates back into the contract.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

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