Nine Meetings Held Across Country; 143 Pilots Retired
The Allied Pilots Association (APA),
collective bargaining agent for the 12,000 pilots of American
Airlines, tells ANN the union conducted large-scale member meetings
at nine locations nationwide Friday, to send a signal to management
at American Airlines. The rallies come as both sides continue to
squabble -- with little actual progress -- in ongoing contract
According to the union, over 1,500 pilots attended the meetings,
which featured a pre-recorded motivational message by APA President
Captain Lloyd Hill, presentations by other APA officials and an
update on the contract talks. The union meetings took place in
Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Miami, Chicago, St. Louis,
Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"By coming together on the same day in such large numbers, our
pilots are sending an unmistakable message to American Airlines
management," Hill said. "We are unified and determined to restore
Hill asserts pilot pay rates at the airline are almost identical
to what they were in 1992. Consequently, the pilots’
purchasing power has declined 33 percent since that time due in
inflation. In contrast, the carrier's management has collected
numerous stock-based bonuses in that time... while American skirted
the shoals of bankruptcy, but never entered Chapter 11.
"It’s well past time to repay our sacrifices," Hill said.
"Back in 2003 when our pilots agreed to make deep concessions to
help American Airlines avoid bankruptcy, management’s mantra
was ‘shared sacrifice, shared reward.’ So far our
pilots have only experienced the ‘sacrifice’ portion of
that equation, despite our airline’s return to profitability
and the riches management has lavished upon itself.
"Enough is enough -- we’re ready to collect our reward,"
he said. "Our members need and deserve a prompt resolution to these
negotiations," he said. "Back in 2003 management demonstrated the
ability to negotiate a deal quickly when its interests were at
stake. It’s time to do the same for our pilots."
In related news, on Thursday 143 American pilots retired, opting
to leave the airline early in order to lock in the value of their
retirement plans, linked to the airline's stock price. As ANN reported, the carrier
opted to proactively cancel several flights in February --
including a number on Friday -- in anticipation of the move.
American maintains the cancellations are due to the retirements,
caused by the current US economic slump... but the union asserts
it's further proof American is trying to do too much, with far too