Reporting Bud Gillett
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – A possible breakthrough with American Airlines and its pilots union. The Allied Pilots Association says it will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday to formally consider whether to re-open contract negotiations.
American tells CBS 11 News that while it’s been available to reopen negotiations for weeks, it wasn’t until it delivered a formal letter to the Allied Pilots Association late yesterday that the union acted on it.
“We’re not talking about massive improvements in pay, in work rules and benefits,” says union spokesman Captain Tom Hoban. He adds the pilots want only parity with other major carriers, some of which that have already been through bankruptcy to get to current levels. He says the ball is in American’s court.
“They know what it takes to get to an industry standard contract and if they’re willing to do that, there’s a chance we’ll have a consensual agreement, but that’s up to the corporation.”
According to Hoban, that standard contract includes pay, benefits, and the restoration of a retirement package. “And an end to outsourcing,” he says. “The ability of this corporation to continue outsourcing jobs here at American—pilot jobs and otherwise—has got to stop.”
Outsourcing is a concern for mechanics and stock clerks, too.
American is closing the Alliance facility with some of those jobs going to China, according to the Transport Workers Union.
Local 565 President Gary Peterson expects some workers to be reassigned with about 150-jobs to be lost locally.
“150 being laid off will definitely have an impact on the overall operation that the travelers experience,” Peterson claims.
Some of his members have until tonight to decide whether to accept a company early-opt-out package. “The more junior folks, it’s a tough decision. You have to be 45 and have 15 years of company seniority so it’s transitional phase. What American seems to be trying to do is bring in a real young work force.”
Peterson says opt-out packages range from 27-to-39-thousand dollars, which is much less than other airlines offered when going through bankruptcy.
He expects layoffs to hit hard during the holidays. “I’m still baffled by American’s choosing to lay people off during the Thanksgiving and holiday season, our busiest time of the year.
But late Tuesday, an American spokesman e-mailed CBS 11 and reported there are no reductions announced for November yet. It’s reducing October’s capacity by one to two percent with exact numbers of cancellations not available.