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American pilots to vote on latest contract offer

American Airlines pilots will be voting on management’s latest contract offer.

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 this fall to come up with 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,” said the union board inn a message to pilots on Saturday evening. The board said it voted Saturday to accept the contract in principle and send it out for a vote, even though it did not have final legal contract language.

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

The union leaders proposed a work rule change on Saturday that would the APA would solve the issue of pilots spending “20 days or more away from home each month for as little as 72 hours of pay.” That proposal was rejected by American management, the union said.

Here is the full message from the APA board to its members.

APA HOTLINE MESSAGE

The APA board of directors convened yesterday afternoon to review final contractual language. Our goal was to conclude negotiations promptly and deliver the best possible result for our pilots within the constraints of the joint collective bargaining agreement process. However, a significant impediment emerged; the contractual language was incomplete with respect to combining domestic and international divisions.

APA has worked extremely hard to accommodate management's arbitrary deadline of Jan. 3 for submitting the JCBA to membership ratification, just as we accommodated multiple management delays associated with the APFA negotiations. Despite a significant degree of middle-management absenteeism during the holiday period and their general lack of preparation regarding contract language, APA officers and negotiators have been continuously available and engaged.

To illustrate the extent of APA's efforts to conclude this process, it's important to review the events of the past two days. As you know, because of industry-trailing work rules, many of our pilots have spent 20 days or more away from home each month for as little as 72 hours of pay. We have raised this issue time and again with management during the JCBA talks, and each time the response has been the same — they're unwilling to agree to industry-standard duty-rig modifications that would remedy the problem.

The board approved a tasking order yesterday evening directing the national officers to present management with a creative solution to address this industry-lagging issue. The option we presented to management was based on the "long-rate rig" language in the US Airways West contract — in other words, on contractual language currently in force on one part of the property.

In addition, the board's tasking order directed the national officers to inform management that if they chose to accept APA's proposal, the board would approve the JCBA without submitting it to membership ratification, contingent on final contractual language. With the concurrence of the union's general counsel, APA President CA Keith Wilson had issued an interpretation of the APA Constitution and Bylaws enabling the board to do so because the JCBA constitutes an amendment to the current contract. Despite our differences of opinion about how best to conclude the JCBA process, your elected representatives decided that the potential benefit to all pilots was worth the risks involved with this approach.

Management responded today by declining APA's proposal, citing a valuation that our subject-matter experts view as inflated.

After extensive discussion and debate during the past two days, the board voted this evening to approve R2014-60, Rev. 4A, "Membership Ratification of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement," which stipulates that "the APA Board of Directors accepts the Company's JCBA proposal in principle, and agrees that upon the APA Board of Directors' agreement on final contractual language, the Board will act to electronically ballot the membership with respect to the pending JCBA proposal." The resolution further stipulates that "the Board of Directors agrees to be bound by the membership vote as a result of this BOD-directed JCBA balloting."

The APA board of directors remains unified and committed to concluding this process on a timely basis and delivering the best result. With their arbitrary deadline and without complete contract language, management placed the pilot group in an extremely difficult situation. The board understands that having final contractual language to review and approve is critical and that the membership will settle for nothing less as well.

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. 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.

This year will be a critical period in our airline's integration. We're fully aware of the forthcoming challenges and our pilots' vital role in ensuring a successful integration. A negotiated outcome to the JCBA talks will energize the entire operation.

From the initial meeting in a New York restaurant in March 2012 when APA representatives engaged a then-US Airways senior management representative, all the way to the eventual merger, the pilots of American Airlines and US Airways have played a key leadership role in creating the world's biggest airline. Can it also become the world's best? The outcome of this JCBA process will go a long way toward providing a definitive answer.

While we are disappointed with this latest turn of events, your APA leadership remains committed to concluding this process promptly and properly.

Thank you for your continued support.

CA Stephen Bacon

BOS Chairman

CA Steve Roach

LAX Chairman

FO Paul DiOrio

PHL Chairman

FO Jim Dillard

BOS Vice Chairman

CA William Boyd

LAX Vice Chairman

CA Paul Music

PHL Vice Chairman

CA Bob Frear

CLT Chairman

CA Mike Burr

LGA Chairman

CA John Scherff

PHX Chairman

CA Ron Nelson

CLT Vice Chairman

CA R Scott Heckenberger

LGA Chairman

FO Eric Ferguson

PHX Vice Chairman

CA William Gary

DCA Chairman

FO Scott Abbott

ORD Chairman

CA Marcus Spiegel

STL Chairman

CA Carl Jackson

DCA Vice Chairman

FO Todd Hooper

ORD Vice Chairman

CA Rob Powell

STL Vice Chairman

CA Thomas Westbrook

DFW Chairman

FO J.M. (Josey) Wales

DFW Vice Chairman

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