Reporting Jack Fink
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - As American Airlines tries to emerge from bankruptcy, there’s a new issue dividing American Airlines’ pilots.
First, there was widespread disagreement, before pilots overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the airline.
Now, there’s a new debate over whether American should merge with US Airways.
The Allied Pilots Association says it’s in talks with US Airways pilots and both airlines’ management, to come to a short-term agreement that could lead to a merger while American is still in bankruptcy.
Tom Hoban, the Allied Pilots spokesman, says, “It’s simply in our best interest right now to execute a merger right now inside bankruptcy.”
It’s an idea that does not sit well with a group of 100 American Airlines pilots.
They disagree with the pilots’ union leadership and oppose a merger with US Airways.
Chris Manno has been a pilot at American Airlines for 27 years. He says he and others created a website (apapilots.blogspot.com), where pilots can sign a petition against a merger.
Manno says, “This is the chance for pilots to have their say. We want no part of this. This is a bad deal.”
Manno says he and other pilots worry that a combination of American with US Airways will ultimately lead to losses in jobs and seniority for their union and others.
“Senior people are coming in, junior people at DFW are getting displaced. It would be really nice if all it was is growth, but unfortunately, there’s going to be a lot of displaced and job loss.”
Hoban says, “We respect their opinion. Quite frankly, this is a democratic organization. But the majority of our pilots have spoken, and simply do not believe Tom Horton’s stand alone plan is a recipe for success for American Airlines.”
He says a merger may be the only way to replace American’s current management team.
But Manno says he doesn’t care who the CEO is. He just wants to protect jobs and what pilots won during contract negotiations.
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