FORT WORTH, Texas - The three unions of American Airlines endorsed an agreement between the company and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants to allow the APFA to continue their balloting process until 5 p.m. CDT Wednesday, April 16.
APFA members will also be able to change their votes until balloting closes - an option other union members had throughout their ratification periods. Any votes not changed will be counted as they currently stand.
The decision came in light of the vote to ratify agreements by the members of both the Allied Pilots Association and the Transport Workers Union - representing the majority of American’s union workforce. The APFA is the only union that has not yet ratified its agreement.
The company set the April 15 deadline for ratification because it had a substantial amount of loan repayments due. In order to be able to extend the deadline, the company announced that it will immediately make millions of dollars in scheduled debt payments due today as part of its ongoing commitment to preserve jobs and avoid bankruptcy.
“With almost 10,000 jobs hanging in the balance, and the future of 100,000 employees at stake, we agreed to take this risk and make this investment for our employees because we believe that all employees will be better off if we can save jobs and restructure our costs consensually rather than through the bankruptcy process,” AMR Chairman Don Carty said. “This is our last chance to avoid bankruptcy.”
Carty explained that, with another round of loan payments due tomorrow, the company must have consensual agreements in place.
“So that there is absolutely no confusion or uncertainty, I must make completely clear that if we fail to secure flight attendant ratification by tomorrow, we are - regrettably - left with no alternative but to immediately file for bankruptcy,” Carty said.
The company is working with all of its employees to secure $1.8 billion in annual structural savings necessary to help the company avert bankruptcy and best protect the interests of employees, shareholders, lenders and all of the communities served by American Airlines.
Unless all three unions ratify the tentative agreements, AMR will be forced to file for Chapter 11 protection. In bankruptcy, the company would need to secure an additional $500 million in employee cost savings and further reduce capacity, costing thousands of additional jobs.