A few hours after American Airlines' pilots rejected a contract agreement with the bankrupt carrier, union president Capt. David Bates resigned.
In a letter sent to union members on Thursday, Bates said he was asked by the Allied Pilots Association board to resign and he agreed. His resignation is effective immediately.
American declined to comment on Bates' resignation.
Bates became APA president in July 2010 and adopted a less aggressive approach to contract negotiations with American than previous union officials.
However, the APA board remained split on the best course of action for the pilots union. It approved sending the latest offer from American out for ratification by a 9-7 board vote. On Wednesday, the pilots rejected the offer 61 percent against and 39 percent in favor.
Here's the letter sent by Capt. David Bates to the union members today.
My Fellow American Airlines Pilots
At the request of the APA Board of Directors, I agreed late yesterday to resign as your union president. My resignation is effective immediately.
I did not take this action lightly, but based my decision on the conviction that it would be best for our union and the pilots we represent. Although I believe that ratifying the tentative agreement would have been the best course for our pilot group, the majority of our pilots signaled their preference for taking a different path. Given these circumstances, I concluded that continuing to serve as your president was not in the interests of the pilots I have been charged with representing.
I will do everything possible to facilitate a smooth transition and am likewise committed to helping ensure our ultimate success. Whatever our differences, we have much more in common with one another as professional pilots for American Airlines.
In closing, I want to thank each of you for the opportunity to serve as APA President. It has been an honor and a privilege that I will always treasure.
Captain David Bates