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Cyclic Hotline
25th Jul 2001, 02:18
American Surprises Pilots With Offer

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - American Airlines surprised its pilots with a novel contract proposal Tuesday: Immediate double-digit pay raises if the union agrees to accept winner-take-all arbitration.

The offer was met with a smattering of boos from a group of a couple hundred uniformed pilots who marched on American's headquarters to present the union's opening bid.

Both sides, which have fought each other over negotiating tables and in courtrooms, pledged to make American's pilots the highest-paid in the industry.

"It's the largest carrier in the world. We should be compensated accordingly,'' said the union president, John Darrah.

American offered pay raises of 15 percent to 22 percent on Aug. 31 if the pilots agree not to strike and to accept binding arbitration if the two sides can't agree on other issues in 120 days.

The arbitration would be modeled after the process used in Major League Baseball: The airline and the Allied Pilots Association would each submit a final offer, and arbitrators would pick one or the other instead of a compromise.

American officials said they wanted to avoid drawn-out negotiations that have resulted in three near-strikes against airlines this year.

Airline officials said the immediate pay raise would put the pilots on equal footing with counterparts at Delta Air Lines, currently the highest-paid among major U.S. carriers.

"We're trying to show you the money up front. It would be a disgrace to do otherwise,'' Jeff Brundage, American's vice president for employee relations, told pilots in the parking lot outside American's offices.

Some of the pay raise would come at the expense of the pilots' profit-sharing benefits, which American proposed to eliminate. American's flight attendants are considering a tentative contract that would boost their pay more than 25 percent over six years but would reduce profit-sharing contributions.

Darrah, the union president, acknowledged being surprised by the airline's offer to short-cut negotiations through binding arbitration. He avoided taking a position on the tactic, saying that the union's board of directors would decide whether to accept American's ground rules for negotiations.

But Darrah pointedly said that pay was not the only important issue to pilots. The union is also seeking rules for larger crews and more rest on long flights and better medical and retirement benefits.

The union also wants to prevent American from replacing American flights with ones flown by its American Eagle commuter airline, which uses lower-paid pilots.

Relations between American and the Allied Pilots Association have often been strained, and the conflict burst into public view in 1999 after American's parent, AMR Corp., bought tiny Reno Air.

American pilots were angry over the absorption of lower-paid counterparts from Reno, and they staged a sickout that led to the cancelation of more than 6,000 flights. A federal judge ordered the union to pay a $45.5 million penalty.

Under American's proposal, negotiations would run Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. Each side could then submit five issues to a panel of arbitrators picked by both camps. In addition, pay raises for the second, third and fourth years of the contract would be subject to arbitration.

American recently approved a new contract with mechanics. Flight attendants must still vote to ratify their tentative agreement, which was reached hours before a strike deadline on June 30.

flite idol
25th Jul 2001, 03:16
I think the reason AMR are now such fans of binding arbitration stems from the recent arbitration asswhooping they gave the pilots at American Eagle. Both sides brought a dozen or so proposals to the impartial arbitrator during the recent contract ammendment and guess what, just about all of the management proposals were approved and none of the pilot proposals were accepted. So be careful, be very careful.

xsimba
25th Jul 2001, 10:43
Link to article in today's FT.com
http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3F5241KPC&live=true&tagid=ZZZHJ52NA0C

TowerDog
26th Jul 2001, 07:21
Great news for the AA pilots.
Even if AA's "offer" only covered compensation, it is still a good start.
Once the pay issue is agreed upon, the rest (As in remaining issues and crew rest, etc.)can be negotiated later.

But, uh, if it seems to good to be true, it may be.
What is the catch Uncle Don? :rolleyes:

Ignition Override
26th Jul 2001, 10:19
As for Am. Eagle's arbitration, which I wasn't familiar with: who picked the arbitrator(s)? Also, doesn't Eagle's contract cover several years, maybe 6-10?

During the dispute over the Reno merger, AMR mgmt "cherry-picked" (as in picking what you want) the judge whose prejudice against labor was already known. It is fairly well-known that Texas (as in much of the South) is very biased against organized labor, or for that matter, any labor. Only the rich boys and girls in the three-piece suits are the good guys.

Knowing that the AMR pilots lost the court appeal to get their war chest back, how could the pilots afford to strike anyway? I don't envy the terrain that they are marching through.

The more money that is offered by mgmts, the worse the work rules/benefits become, based on past negotiations. Hasty acceptance often leads to major regrets, unless a prolonged analysis is allowed to take place.

OneWorld22
26th Jul 2001, 22:23
I posted a thread on this last night after Cyclic's as I didn't spot it. So I just wanted to add my support for the American crew's in this contract negotiation. If they get the raise and get the safety issues they have raised sucessfully adressed then it could be a ground breaking contact.
I'll be watching this negotiation with great interest as I suspect most pilots will.

It probably won't be easy as Ignition posted above due to the Lone Star States' notorious anti-worker ethos, but it seems to be agood start.

Keep us all posted.

(Might a sucessful outcome be the spark that ignites the BA pilots into taking action?)

Wino
26th Jul 2001, 23:34
That payraise is only for 120 days till the arbitrator decides who won. The question is which arbitrator.

The eagle contract was for 16 years with periodic challenges of up to 5 items by either side every 4 years before an arbitrator. Eagle lost every challenge, leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth toward the concept of arbitration. Any arbitrator that has ever found in favor of the pilots has been run off.

The strike fund is a non issue. APA run's on cash flow, and dues just went up to support the negotiations. They can go up again (and still not be as high as ALPA's) and makeup the strike fund before the balloon goes up.

However, I do think that management has discovered that its a false economy to delay negotiations, despite what the Bean counters say. While the company saves millions just in interest on the salary (even if retro, which almost never happens, is paid it is NEVER with interest) the damage to the core customers which can't be directly seen on the balance sheet is irreperable.

We shall see. If it takes more than about 18 months to get a TA then I was definately wrong.

Cheers
Wino

Blue & White
27th Jul 2001, 17:32
Here's a list of the current pay proposal. However, most American pilots would rather have better work rules and benefits........along with the pay.

Rates of Pay
(12 Yr CA; Day, Night)

EQUIP 8/31/01


777-300 $287.63
777-200 $281.32
747 SP $269.51
MD11 $268.39
DC10-30 $255.73
DC10-10 $249.88
A300 $235.67
767-300 $235.67
767-2ER $235.67
767 $235.67
757 $235.67
737-800 $226.05
737-300 $203.52
737-200 $202.65
727-200B $214.84
727-223 $214.26
727-100 $213.50
MD80 $209.26
717 $207.86
DC9 $207.86
F100 $194.55

Ignition Override
28th Jul 2001, 09:26
Very appealing proposed pay rates.

However, I can't stress enough the need to protect the various present workrules, however complex-once the negotiators give them away, they are much harder to improve in future contracts than are pay rates, according to the very old timers. Once a major precedent is set, as when former Delta negotiators allowed allegedly the loosest US airline language on RJs several years ago, the losses can't be replaced.

If very good workrules are given away (min. day guarantee, duty, trip "rig", avg credit in a monthly schedule), then you work more days for the same pay, in many cases, and might finish a trip later in the day, missing the (commuting) flight home.

This is only one aspect-is it worth it if you are home less, or have less (i.e.minimum) layover time, or in lousier hotels, like the Hol. Inn in downtown Louisville (SDF), where crewmembers are often afraid to walk out at night?

Managements rarely offer improved pay and benefits at the same time-they mostly "rob Peter to pay Paul".

dallas dude
28th Jul 2001, 21:17
The pay issue is a smokescreen by AA.

They're in a far weaker negotiating position than they'd have everyone believe.

The "safety" aspect has caught the passengers' attention and APA will ride on those coattails for the ENHANCEMENT of crewing and safety rules.

The money will be there at the end, regardless.

The offer from AA is only good if accepted BEFORE August 31st. APA's Board of Directors isn't due to meet until late Sept/early Oct so AA's deadline will expire and the real negotiating will begin in earnest in the fall.

The last thing APA wants is the contract/work rules won by Delta (soon to be known as the Comair Connection).

APA has no intention of letting AA become the Eagle Connection!

dd.