FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of American Airlines employees marched on their company’s headquarters in Fort Worth Friday morning, carrying signs calling for change.
“It’s time to get rid of the dead weight. I’m not talking about 14,000 employees,” said Marcus Gluth, a vice president for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
“I’m talking about Tom Horton and his crew at the top. It’s time for them to take a walk.”
Gluth joined Allied Pilots Association president Dave Bates in walking through the company’s front doors to hand-deliver a petition, signed by an estimated 19,000 employees.
“The employees of American Airlines are hereby expressing a vote of “No Confidence” in the management of our company,” the statement reads. “Their inability to create a comprehensive business plan that will ensure the long-term viability of our airline makes it evident we need new leadership.”
Flight attendant Colleen Briskie said confidence in the airline’s management has been deteriorating for years.
“We took a big cut in pay back in 2003 and now they want even more. We keep giving and giving and giving, and they keep taking and taking and taking. And, that’s hard to watch. That’s very hard to watch.”
A baggage handler for 25 years, Lonnie Barber said he planned to spend another 5 years with the company, but now expects he’ll be retiring much sooner.
“When they filed for bankruptcy, it just took the floor out from under me. It just dropped,” he said.
The unions are asking executives to support the merger proposed by US Airways, which also had a handful of employees attending Friday’s rally.
“I just thought it was right to come here and support the American Airlines employees,” said Greg Bentley, a flight attendant for US Airways.
The rival airline has proposed a plan that would cut far fewer jobs than the 13,000 American Airlines is calling for. But AMR spokesperson Bruce Hicks, released a video statement this morning, warning there’s no easy way out of bankruptcy.
“We respect the rights of the unions and their memberships to voice their opinions. But the contractual changes that we’ve proposed are necessary for successful restructuring of American Airlines and are similar to the changes other airlines made during their restructuring.”