American Fighting Off Hostile Takeover Rumors From US Airways
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – American Airlines wants to eliminate 1,200 nonunion jobs as it cuts costs while under bankruptcy protection.
That pushes the company’s overall job-cut target to 14,200. It announced plans in February to cut 13,000 union pilots, flight attendants and ground workers.
American outlined the cuts for many nonunion workers on Tuesday. The company wants to outsource the jobs of all airport skycaps and cargo agents, cancel a planned lump-sum payment that was due for nonunion workers next year, freeze their pension plan, cut vacation and paid holidays, and reduce medical benefits.
Despite reports, there are no talks directly between U.S. Airways and American.
These are all discussions that U.S. Airways is having with other groups behind the scenes.
Several CBS News sources are saying talks are active between U.S. Airways and all of American Airlines’s creditors.
There are also active talks with the leadership of the three labor unions –– the pilots, the flight attendants and the transport workers.
When asked if they’ve been in contact with U.S. Airways, the pilot’s union chief said they had no comment.
A spokesman for the Transport Workers Union, however, said they have bargaining teams in Dallas this week talking to American.
At the same time, they’re keeping options open as to what’s best for their members.
And in a court filing Tuesday, American stated that flight attendants stopped negotiating weeks ago, though a union spokesman claim it is American that won’t come to the table.
Our same CBS News sources say U.S. Airways is lobbying key members of Congress to support the plan.
And last week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison essentially asked other airlines to back off American until bankruptcy hearings were over.
If successful, this would be considered a “hostile” takeover.
Analyst Denny Kelly says all U.S. Airways essentially needs is a verbal agreement with the three unions, and one with American’s creditors, and then have the bankruptcy judge sign off on the deal.
“Something should happen before the hearing,” he says. “There’s stuff, really heavy stuff going on right now, I mean big time.”
If the creditors were to back the takeover, Kelley says it’s a good bet the judge would too.
But, he adds, it’s all up to the judge. “Until that judge says that’s it, it’s not the deal. It’s the latest deal, the best deal and may be the final deal, but there’s always going to be negotiations.’
American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks said the information had been rumored for weeks and that American had no comment on the reports other than they were “in the midst of a complex restructuring, intensely focused on successfully reorganizing to restore American to industry leadership, profitability and growth. Achieving that goal will position American to chart the very best path forward for all of its stakeholders.”
The airline says it will close a reservations call center in Tucson, Ariz., and lounges at Washington’s Dulles Airport and Kansas City International Airport.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)