The head of the pilots’ union at American Airlines is blasting the carrier’s CEO for skipping a meeting with President Donald Trump to attend a company event in Dallas.
Union President Dan Carey said Friday that CEO Doug Parker missed a chance to talk to Trump about issues confronting airline workers, including the threat from fast-growing foreign competitors.
“For our airline’s CEO to say ‘no thanks’ to President Trump flat-out amazes me,” Carey said.
Parker said he needed to attend an event Thursday for 1,600 employees, where he stressed the importance of managers taking care of their workers. He said he made sure that other CEOs talked to Trump about the industry’s agenda, including modernizing the air traffic control system and reducing taxes and regulation.
The CEOs of Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue attended the White House meeting.
Carey’s union, the Allied Pilots Association, and the larger Air Line Pilots Association, are targeting Norwegian Air, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. The unions and big U.S. airlines say those foreign carriers avoid labor laws or get huge subsidies from their governments that let them expand and threaten jobs at U.S. airlines.
That subject came up only briefly Thursday, and it did not go well for the U.S. airlines.
Trump praised the big investments that foreign airlines make in the U.S. — an apparent reference to hiring U.S.-based crews and ordering planes made by Chicago-based Boeing — even if the money comes from their governments. None of the CEOs challenged him on the issue.
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