American Airlines’ Pilots Voting Process on New Contract Could Begin Later This Week

DALLAS (The Dallas Morning News/TNS) -

Two days after the Allied Pilots Association’s board of directors reached a tentative contract agreement with American Airlines Group Inc., the union’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter briefed members Monday at a meeting on recent events, details of the contract proposal and what comes next.

The tentative agreement is contingent on pilot members voting to ratify the joint bargaining agreement. The APA represents about 15,000 pilots at American Airlines and US Airways, which merged in December 2013.

The voting process could begin later this week, APA spokesman Dennis Tajer said Monday.

The union said the voting process cannot start until contract language is completed and agreed to by it and American. The main issue is that contract language provided by American on the combination of the two airlines’ U.S. and international divisions was incomplete, the APA said in a Saturday email message to members.

American and the union are working on the final contract language, Tajer said. The APA board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to review complete contract language, he said.

“Combining divisions is a complex and far reaching change that must be done properly to protect seniority rights and to ensure that pilots will have full access to the potential benefits of combined divisions,” the APA’s D-FW chapter said in an email message to members over the weekend. “There is no way the membership can make a judgment on the impact of management’s plan to merge divisions without knowing the details of the language intended to govern that process.”

If the final contract language is approved, the union will start the electronic voting process. The APA is still determining the voting timeline to make sure it provides “membership with enough time to fully review the materials and make an educated decision,” Tajer said. A simple majority of pilots would be needed to approve the contract.

The APA board met Friday and Saturday, before making its decision late Saturday night. The union had faced a Saturday deadline to respond to American’s last offer, which included a 23 percent pay increase, or enter binding arbitration.

Last week, in a letter to pilots, American President Scott Kirby summarized the company’s latest contract proposal, including some “non-wage enhancements” that “would likely go away” in an arbitrated award.