FORT WORTH, Texas - American Airlines today presented the Allied Pilots Association with an opening proposal for a new contract—an alternative fast-track option that could provide pilots with immediate pay increases of 15 to 22 percent on August 31. American’s proposal puts American pilots at the top of the industry in pay, and provides an expedited schedule to conclude negotiations in a matter of months.
“Our pilots have told us that they don’t want contract negotiations to be lengthy, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Jeff Brundage, vice president employee policy and relations. “Negotiations across the industry have become lengthy and adversarial, and frankly airline customers are tired of worrying about being inconvenienced in the process. We want to change that pattern and also provide top-of-industry wages to our pilots. This fast-track offer is designed to do just that.”
American’s proposal asks the APA to agree to this fast-track approach within 30 days. If the APA accepts, pilots would receive a 15 to 22 percent pay raise on August 31, 2001, settling the often-contentious issue of wages up front. Then, each party would be able to negotiate out-year increases and any other items during a 120-day period. Negotiations would take place November 1, 2001 through February 28, 2002.
All of the tentative agreements that were reached during the 120 days would go through the APA ratification process during March and April. If there were areas where we are unable to reach agreement, on May 1, 2002 each party would choose five of the remaining open items to send to neutral arbitrators that we mutually agree upon. They will determine with “baseball style” arbitration what the binding agreement will be. “Baseball style” arbitration” simply means that the arbitrators must choose one or the other proposal, based on what`s most reasonable by industry standards. This approach prevents both sides from making unreasonable proposals that tend to make negotiations drag on and on. The arbitrators’ decision on these items remaining items would be delivered by June 30, 2002.
The fast-track proposal would result in a four-year agreement, amendable in August 2005. American also proposed that the next negotiations could begin six months before the amendable date, in March 2005.
“We’re taking an unusual course today to demonstrate to the APA that these contract negotiations don’t have to be lengthy, or contentious,” said Jeff Brundage, vice president employee policy and relations. “American is willing to take a big leap to put our pilots at the top of the industry today—and we’re willing to take that risk in spite of the economic downturn in the industry. This is our opening day, and it can also be our closing day.”
Brundage said the fast-track proposal is good for American’s pilots, especially in light of today’s economic uncertainties and the large airline losses. Brundage said he hopes the APA will agree to this approach, because the industry has taken as long as three years to reach new pilot agreements.
“This fast-track deal is a win for our pilots because they don’t have to wait for raises, and it is a win for our customers because it eliminates the possibility of service disruptions. It is also a win for American to have an a quick resolution to the contract and an orderly process for resolving contractual issues.”