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No. 9 A quiet year for labor relations at American Airlines

Customer service agents for American Airlines approved a new contract this fall that included double-digit pay raises. Special/Brandon Wade
Customer service agents for American Airlines approved a new contract this fall that included double-digit pay raises. Special/Brandon Wade Star-Telegram

It was a relatively quiet year for labor relations at American Airlines as thousands of union workers received double-digit pay raises with new contracts.

In January, the pilots approved a five-year deal that included 23 percent pay raises and annual 3 percent raises through 2019. Then in the fall, gate agents and customer service representatives agreed to their first collective bargaining agreement that also included pay raises averaging 30 percent.

But none of the new contracts include profit-sharing which had been negotiated away by union leaders when the airline was restructuring in bankruptcy and the management team from US Airways was asking for union support of their bid to merge with American.

The flight attendants, who were given a new contract as part of an arbitration process in late 2014, were particularly unhappy with the lack of profit-sharing as American reaped record profits this year. As a result, their union president, Laura Glading, resigned in October as she faced the possibility of a recall election.

Even though thousands of union workers are already working under new joint collective bargaining agreements, American management still has tough negotiations scheduled for 2016. It recently begun talks with the Transport Workers Union/International Association of Machinists alliance for new contracts for mechanics and ground workers. And it will still need to implement pilot seniority lists once arbitration hearings are completed.

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