The board of the pilots union has told its staff to conduct a strike vote.
The Allied Pilots Association had previously said it would hold a strike vote if American Airlines implemented any of the work rule changes from the February term sheet. And now that the bankruptcy judge ruled last week that American was allowed to reject its pilot contract, it appears that American plans to put in place some of the changes it says are necessary to restructure successfully.
We are still waiting for official word from the APA about the strike vote.
American spokesman Bruce Hicks said the union cannot legally strike against the carrier.
"The APA’s own general counsel reminded the union in a memorandum to its national officers and board of directors posted Saturday that any job action would be unlawful. So, it’s obvious this announcement is simply a diversionary tactic," Hicks said. "American is committed to moving forward with implementing those terms from both the Tentative Agreement and Term Sheet that are necessary for our successful restructuring."
He continued, "We assured the APA and our pilots on Friday that the vast majority of working conditions will not change from the pilot contract previously in place with the exception of specific changes found by the Court to be necessary for American to reorganize. At the same time, we remain committed to bargaining in good faith with APA for an agreement that addresses the Company’s needs and that pilots will find acceptable."
UPDATE: The APA put out a hotline message this evening saying that close to a 100 members packed the meeting room to hear the board direct staff to hold a strike vote.
Online voting will begin at noon CDT on Wednesday, Sept. 12 and will continue through noon on Wednesday, October 3 with results being announced later that day.
The board also ordered an increase of 300 percent to the budget of the strike preparedness committee.
Members were told that American plans to implement contract changes that are a "blend of elements" from the last-best-final-offer and the April 19 term sheet.
"More specifically, management noted that they will proceed with imposing items from the “last, best, final offer” that are common to other work groups. Management also noted that in areas where changes would be difficult to reverse—for example, changes requiring a large amount of computer programming—they would likely impose items from their “last, best, final offer.” Notably, management indicated that they do not plan to furlough any pilots. In highly sensitive areas such as pension and sick, First Officer Roghair described management’s approach as “specifically vague,” with few details about how they may proceed," the hotline message said.