Gov. Mary Fallin hailed American's contract agreement with the APA as important for the company and the state.
"With valuable passenger service at three airports and over 6,000 employees at the Tulsa Maintenance & Engineering base, American is a major contributor to our state's success," Fallin said. "Congratulations to union leaders and the management team at American that have successfully negotiated nine new contracts in just over one year. Oklahomans hope this new momentum will mean a quick exit from reorganization and a bright future for one of Oklahoma's most important employers."
The ratification vote followed a summer and early fall of discontent and disruptions at American, sparked by negotiations between the APA and American management.
Since American's parent, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 29, 2011, the company has sought to trim its labor costs by $1 billion a year.
After the APA rejected the company's tentative contract offer in August, a bankruptcy judge in September granted American's motion to nullify the APA's collective bargaining agreement.
Within days, flight delays and cancellations at American rose sharply as pilots submitted reports of mechanical and equipment failures.
Although pilots said the problems were due to mismanagement of aircraft maintenance and the advanced age of American's fleet, the company said they were due to organized job actions. American was forced to cancel up to 2 percent of its remaining schedule in September and October.
Yet, in the weeks leading up to the ratification vote, some pilots were still angry with the company, as Wilson, the APA president, said in an email message to APA members recently.
He said a pilot told him he'd rather see American liquidate than approve the company's contract offer.
Wilson said an inflexible stance by pilots would lead to the fate of airlines long gone that had been crippled by labor strife.
"While martyrdom in the manner of Eastern Airlines is one option, I do not believe that the majority of our pilots would prefer to embark on a path of self-destruction in order to make a political point or poke management in the eye," Wilson said.
The APA president said he had voted against the August contract offer, but he said the latest contract was much improved and he intended to vote for it. Highlights of contract ratified by American Airlines' Allied Pilots Association Duration: six years
Wage increases: 4 percent raise on date of signing; 2 percent increase in 2014; 2 percent increase in 2015; mid-contract adjustment of 17 percent to 24 percent increase in 2016; 2 percent increase in 2017, 2 percent increase in 2018.
Active pilots: $750 deductible medical plan
Retirees under age 60: pay 100 percent for retiree medical coverage
Retirees over age 60: pay 100 percent for retiree medical; however, retirees over 60 who give four months' notice of retirement can cash out their sick time at retirement into a Health Retirement Account that can be used for medical premiums
Pension: 14 percent contribution to 401(k) plan
Miscellaneous --13.5 percent equity stake in reorganized company
--APA can protest management compensation
--APA reimbursed $5 million for bankruptcy expenses
Sources: AMR Corp., Allied Pilots Association, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
(c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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