American Airlines pilot union contract negotiations ongoing

Business

In footage from the flight, an attendant for American Airlines apologized for the PA system’s groan-like noises. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — A union for American Airlines pilots is going forward with contract negotiations and seeking federal mediation ahead of the 2022 holidays.

According to CNBC, the Allied Pilots Association sent a message to its membership last week saying that its board unanimously approved a motion for the union to apply for National Mediation Board intervention.

The union, which has been in ongoing contract negotiations with American for the past three years, is demanding a pay increase and better scheduling for its approximately 15,000 members amid high inflation and after a pandemic turnaround that saw flight hours disappear, then spike suddenly.

Although the union had not filed as of Monday afternoon, a failure to reach terms with the country’s largest carrier could jeopardize travel for millions.

News of the potential request came after American CEO Robert Iso offered pilots 17% raises in a new contract proposal three months ago.

“It’s not only to improve our pilots’ professional and financial lives, it’s actually to inject reliability into American Airlines,” Capt. Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association and a pilot who has been with the airlines for more than 30 years, said to an NBC affiliate last week.

American Airlines is not the only carrier that has negotiated for improved working conditions and benefits: Off-duty pilots for six airlines picketed at airports nationwide this summer.

While unions for pilots at three regional carriers wholly owned by American Airlines — Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines and PSA Airlines — reached contract agreements, major pilot groups, like those working for Southwest, United, Delta and FedEx, have struggled and are already looking for mediation.

Tajer, the spokesperson for the Fort Worth, Texas-based union, said the key issues, such as scheduling, will remain at the forefront of the bargaining.

“When Mother Nature hits, flights get canceled. They should be canceled for safety. Where American management fails is in the recovery after a weather event. That’s the time when pilots like myself can come out there and help, but we need to have the flexibility in our schedule,” he explained. “Right now, American management has locked down our trip-trading system. Whatever you get, you got to fly. You have no ability to move around to help them out or even accommodate your personal life.”

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