New Labor Agreement Nearly Reached Between American and its Pilots?

The Dallas Morning News aviation blog carries a letter to pilots that purports to contain the details of what has been negotiated between American and its pilots union.

The letter seems to agree, though, with the take on internal union politics that I offered a couple of week ago when I said

The internal politics is complex. The last pilot union head was ousted, the new leadership needs to appear tough to their membership. And they need to make it seem like the pilots are getting something if they’re going to pass a contract.

Indeed, it looks like a deal has almost been reached but that the author of this letter believes the new union leadership is too timid to send it out to its membership — that it’s a very good offer, the best they could have hoped for, and better than anything they had on the table previously. But since the last deal was shot down, the new leadership — the old leadership was bounced out after the previous contract was rejected — doesn’t want to jeopardize their positions. But they’re not sure what they need to deliver to do that, because the expectations that many of their members have are unrealistic.

As you will soon learn, significant progress has been made between the parties. The fear of sending another agreement your way in the wake of the rejection of the LBFO is very real. After more than six years of negotiations, AMR and the APA are finally at the end game. Political courage to lead during times like these is difficult but necessary.

While the APA and American Airlines management are down to a few remaining items, APA leadership appears to have provided no means for these few items to be concluded. Instead of providing their negotiating committee with direction and feedback on what it will take to conclude an agreement, the APA Board left last week with no clear guidance and clarity on what they expect their negotiating committee to negotiate.

Reportedly there is still disagreement on the use of smaller jets in the regional fleet, and also on some pay and job protection issues — even though it’s predicted that American’s widebody Captains would become the highest paid int he industry (but with speculation that management prefers that not be the narrative, and I surmise that would look like management had capitulated, so they’d prefer that such captains be almost the highest paid so they could be called ‘industry average’).

Read the full letter here.

An end to acrimony with the pilots would be a great thing. Hopefully they’ll see the deal that may be on the table as being as good as it appears to be for them, they certainly won’t do better with current management or with US Airways. And since I’m not privy to the airline’s cost analysis of this proposal, I simultaneously hope that the money they’d be spending for labor peace doesn’t keep them from achieving the cost targets in their bankruptcy which are necessary for their survival.

Nonetheless, promising…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hmmm sounds like a shady version of the Treaty of Ver— oh forget it, lets not go there again lol

  2. Explain to me how it is a good thing that the pilots are getting a contract that is completely out of touch with reality….this is going to continue to put massive pressure on revenue performance…and let’s not even mention the likely tension between the pilots and other workgroups who took it in the shorts far more so than the APA….

  3. The agreement should be finalized within weeks and the movement our of bankruptcy could happen as early as the end of the 1st Qtr or early into 2nd Qtr of 2013. American will emerge stronger (OK, smaller)and will not be burdened by USAir.

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