FA's Call Plan 'Outrageous', Pilots Pledge Careful Scrutiny
American Eagle has laid out a restructuring plan that cuts $75 million in annual employee costs, a move that the carrier's labor groups are eyeing somewhat skeptically, to say the least.
Dallas television station KTXA reports that American Eagle CEO Dan Garton said in a letter sent to employees that "We are committed to ensuring that all of Eagle's workgroups will share fairly and equitably in this restructuring effort."
The letter did not announce any layoffs, but it does freeze pay for long-time employees and cuts benefits to some part-time workers.
The flight attendants' and mechanics' unions expressed displeasure with a plan that they say penalizes long-term employees because the are "too costly to them."
AFA American Eagle President Robert Barrow issued a statement after management presented its laundry list of cuts to compensation, benefits, work rules and quality of life, calling them "outrageous."
"Just prior to American Airlines' bankruptcy filing, Flight Attendants were negotiating for a new contract and management had already agreed to significant work-rule and benefit improvements and acknowledged that a pay raise would be part of that package," Barrow said. "Nothing has changed except that bankruptcy gives management a hammer and a process to demand unreasonable concessions from workers.
"American Eagle is a profitable subsidiary of AMR and it is shameful that Flight Attendants, who are an instrumental part of a successful operation, are being handed a list of concessions as a result of bad management decisions in the larger corporation.
"Recognizing the realities of bankruptcy, AFA leaders are working with our legal staff and advisors to examine management's demands. We will vigorously oppose unnecessary concessions in order to minimize the impact of Chapter 11 on Flight Attendants. AFA will continue to ensure Flight Attendants are represented fairly during this process," he concluded.
The airline also says it plans to retire older, less efficient airplanes and replace them with larger jets. American Eagle says the long term goal is to better match the equipment with the markets and routes they fly.
In a written statement, ALPA's chairman for American Eagle Capt. Tony Gutierrez said "This proposal represents what Eagle management claims is necessary from the pilot group in order to reach its goals and exit bankruptcy as a successful, competitive, and thriving company.
“During the next few weeks, ALPA’s economic and financial experts, bankruptcy counsel, and negotiators will analyze the proposal, management’s overall restructuring objectives, and its financial justifications. This analysis will consist of cost comparisons and validation, as well as alternative cost savings.
“Following this analysis, ALPA will begin negotiations with the intent to negotiate a consensual deal with management that is workable from both sides of the table that provides management with justifiable cost savings while protecting the quality of life for all Eagle Pilots and its ability to recruit new pilots.”