Says Mediation "Is In The Best Interests Of All Concerned"
The Allied Pilots Association,
collective bargaining agent for the 12,000 pilots of American
Airlines, appealed Thursday to the carrier's management to join in
a request for National Mediation Board (NMB) involvement in the
ongoing negotiations for a new pilot contract.
APA and American Airlines management began negotiations for a
new contract in September 2006 after management triggered an
"early-opener" provision in the pilots’ contract. This
provision gives either party the option to initiate bargaining up
to 18 months before the contract's May 1, 2008 amendable date,
according to the union.
Under the Railway Labor Act -- which governs all airline industry
labor negotiations -- contracts become amendable on an agreed-upon
date, rather than expiring.
Despite the early start, however, to date negotiations between
APA and AMR have amounted to little more than back-and-forth
volleys across the bargaining table -- and, in the media. While such
antics make for some good sound bites... it does little to speed
the process along.
"It is in the best interests of all concerned -- including our
pilots, the passengers we serve and our shareholders -- to bring
our contract negotiations to a prompt conclusion," said APA
President Captain Lloyd Hill. "We are hopeful that federal
mediation will provide the necessary impetus to get a deal done
As ANN reported, American
rejected one contract proposal offered by APA last November. Hill
says APA presented American Airlines management with several such
proposals, only to have AMR request a recess in the negotiations of
several weeks to study APA's proposals. Management later responded
by largely restating their previous positions, Hill says.
"Without question, we have made little progress in our
negotiations, which is why we believe federal mediation is
warranted," Hill said. He indicated APA would wait until close of
business on Monday, January 14 for management’s response to
the union’s request, before contacting the NMB directly.
American Airlines is the nation’s largest passenger
airline, and fifth-largest cargo carrier.