Air- American pilots stage ‘unity march’ as contract talks continue- Star Telegram

Posted: November 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

October 31, 2012

D/FW AIRPORT — Pilots walked a picket line in front of Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on Wednesday even as union negotiators tried to reach a new contract agreement with American Airlines.

“Take care of your employees, we’ll take care of our airline,” read one sign held by the pilots.

Both the union and management have said that a deal could be reached this week, possibly as early as today. In August, rank-and-file pilots overwhelmingly rejected a proposed agreement that would have provided pay raises and an equity stake in the restructured airline, leaving them as the only union group without a contract.

“This is a unity march to show the public and the management that we are unified in achieving an industry-standard contract that we know we deserve,” said Allied Pilots Association President Keith Wilson.

Wilson said that substantial progress has been made but that there were still several contentious issues remaining to be resolved, such as domestic code-sharing, regional jet flying and wages.

Negotiations restarted this month after a bankruptcy judge allowed American to reject its old pilots contract and impose new work rules. That decision was followed by several weeks of increased flight delays as pilots increased reporting of minor maintenance problems on planes.

American said it is focused on reaching a consensual agreement with its pilots union and has deferred implementation of some new work rules that affect pilots’ pay as a goodwill gesture.

“We’re pleased with the progress that has been made so far and are focused on concluding negotiations in the near future,” American spokesman Bruce Hicks said.

Pilots marched in front of four arrival entrances, holding signs that said “Treat employees as allies … not adversaries,” and “Leading airlines need leading management.”

The pilots’ board of directors met Wednesday afternoon and will continue meeting through the week. If an agreement is reached, the board will decide if it will send a tentative contract to members for another ratification vote.

Russ Moore, an MD-80 first officer, said he marched on Wednesday to show support for his union leadership.

“We’ve waited long enough to come to an agreement on a contract that treats us fairly and treats us honestly and more importantly provides the outsourcing protection for jobs going forward,” Moore said.


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