With the threat of a judge tossing out airline contracts looming, both the flight attendants' union and one representing maintenance workers are reluctantly coming back to the negotiating table to piece together an agreement.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Author: Andrea Ahles
A couple of American Airlines’ unions say they are ready to restart contract talks with the Fort Worth-based airline as the deadline looms for a ruling that could throw out its labor contracts.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said that “both parties have expressed their desire to return to the table” and that they have been talking about meeting.
The two sides have not met since June 1, when court-ordered talks broke off with no deal in place. The judge overseeing AMR Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding is scheduled to rule Friday on American’s Section 1113 motion — the provision that would let it reject its union contracts.
Spokesman Bruce Hicks said American looks forward to resuming talks with the flight attendants.
“Our goal remains reaching consensual agreements with all of our unions,” Hicks said.
The Transport Workers Union said it also wants to restart negotiations for its mechanics and store clerks work groups, which rejected American’s proposal.
Additionally, the workers union said it met with American management Tuesday in North Texas to negotiate improvements in contracts approved in May by the fleet service clerks, dispatchers, ground school instructors, maintenance control technicians and simulator technicians.
These agreements include “me too” clauses, which say that if another union at American receives a deal with fewer concessions, the workers union can renegotiate its contracts.
The clauses were triggered by the contract that American offered its pilots union last week, which calls for employee-related cost cuts of 17 percent instead of 20 percent, the workers union said.
This week, the Allied Pilots Association’s board of directors is meeting to decide whether it will let its rank-and-file members vote on the deal. It includes no furloughs, unlike the previous proposals, which would have laid off 400 pilots.
The pilots union said it expects to decide by today.
In a note sent to members Monday, the flight attendants union said it is studying the deal that American offered the pilots. The flight attendants union said that if the pilots union has its members vote on the offer, the Section 1113 ruling may be postponed again until after that vote.
“This situation is extremely fluid and we are in uncharted territory,” the flight attendants union said in its message.
Separately, AMR posted a net loss of $132 million in May, according to a court filing made Tuesday afternoon.
Excluding $134 million in reorganization fees, it would have posted a monthly net profit of $2 million. During the bankruptcy process, AMR has to file monthly financial reports with the court.
The company said it spent $111 million on aircraft financing renegotiations and rejections and $23 million on professional fees during the month.
AMR also said that American Airlines had $1.6 billion in passenger revenue and that its regional affiliates, including American Eagle, brought in $262 million. Total revenue for May was $2.16 billion.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631
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