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September 28, 2012

APA: We don’t negotiate with bullies. But we'll be adult about this.

The Allied Pilots Association reiterated its position on Friday that American Airlines' management team needs to be replaced.

Even though American is threatening legal action against the union because of continued delays and cancellations, the union said it is still willing to negotiate with the company and "be the adult in this relationship."

"While senior management says they want to work together at the bargaining table to achieve a consensual agreement, they’re also holding a baseball bat and threatening to take punitive legal action. What kind of reaction were they expecting? We don’t negotiate with bullies," the APA leaders said in a note to members.

The note continued, "With Ms. Lynn’s letter, senior management has once again demonstrated their ability to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They continue to step over dimes to make pennies.....Because someone has to be the adult in this relationship, the APA Board will reconvene on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. to discuss next steps in our pursuit of a contract commensurate with the value the pilots bring to this airline."

The union also gave examples of some of the maintenance write-ups that occured this week that caused some of the flight delays including a broken pilot oxygen mask, a main landing gear hydraulic leak and fuel tank seepage on the ramp.

Keep reading for the full note and press release from the APA on Friday afternoon.

-Andrea Ahles

This past Monday, at the invitation of AMR senior management, your APA leadership was formally asked to return to the bargaining table. Upon receiving this invitation, your APA National Officers quickly convened a special APA Board of Directors meeting for Wednesday to respond to AMR’s request to re-engage and to provide the APA Negotiating Committee with updated guidance.
Within minutes of issuing an announcement reaffirming APA’s intention to resume negotiations, the APA National Officers and Board of Directors received a letter from American Airlines Senior Vice President-People Denise Lynn that can only be characterized as a self-inflicted gunshot wound for AMR. In the letter, Ms. Lynn aggressively threatened legal action to address the company’s current operational issues, rather than be accountable for what has become a disaster of senior management’s own making.
So, while senior management says they want to work together at the bargaining table to achieve a consensual agreement, they’re also holding a baseball bat and threatening to take punitive legal action. What kind of reaction were they expecting? We don’t negotiate with bullies.
With these heavy-handed labor tactics, management chose to blow up the negotiating opportunity before them and deny responsibility for a series of missteps that are resulting in the destruction of the American Airlines brand name.
As you look at American Airlines’ current operational difficulties, consider that during the past year the airline has sustained record Federal Aviation Administration fines totaling $162 million for improper aircraft maintenance procedures. In addition, companies that own and lease American Airlines aircraft have formally complained to the bankruptcy court that management has neglected to perform routine maintenance on their aircraft. Even the FAA has stepped up its scrutiny of American’s maintenance procedures.
Instead of addressing these problems, management at first attempted to tarnish our reputation by alleging a pilot sickout, a claim we quickly and successfully refuted. And when a sickout was rumored to be set for last Friday, APA proactively defused it. Now management alleges that pilots are using their professional discretion to take actions such as “delaying departures for unnecessary checks, increased and late-filed maintenance write-ups, increased block times due to slow taxiing, and circuitous routings.” To reiterate, APA has not authorized any concerted job action.
Management’s bullying tactics unfortunately are not unexpected, as their lead bankruptcy counsel is Harvey Miller, who was Frank Lorenzo’s lead counsel during the Eastern bankruptcy that ultimately led to the airline's liquidation. Additionally, AMR chief media spokesman Bruce Hicks was the chief spokesman for Frank Lorenzo for more than a decade in the late 1980s and early 1990s at Continental and Texas Air Corporation.
With Ms. Lynn’s letter, senior management has once again demonstrated their ability to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They continue to step over dimes to make pennies. Once again they have shown why American Airlines will not return to its pre-eminent position in the airline industry with this senior management team at the helm. American Airlines needs to change and this change needs to start at the top.
After discussing the ramifications of Ms. Lynn’s letter, the APA Board of Directors adjourned their meeting mid-day on Thursday. The prevailing sentiment of your APA leadership is that Ms. Lynn’s letter was nothing short of a “sucker punch” and we will not be bullied.
Because someone has to be the adult in this relationship, the APA Board will reconvene on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. to discuss next steps in our pursuit of a contract commensurate with the value the pilots bring to this airline.
Thank you for your continuing professionalism.
In unity,
Your APA Leadership
MAINTENANCE ISSUES PRESS RELEASE
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, issued the following response regarding recent management allegations that pilots continue to disrupt flight schedules with insignificant maintenance requests.
“Federal aviation regulations and American Airlines’ policies and procedures require that all known mechanical discrepancies be entered into the aircraft’s maintenance logbook for corrective action,” said APA President Keith Wilson. “Failure to place a mechanical discrepancy in the maintenance logbook can result in a revocation of a pilot’s license by the Federal Aviation Administration, not to mention the fact that it could result in a serious safety risk.”
American Airlines pilots continue to encounter a large number of serious maintenance-related issues that must be documented, as required by law. Below is a small sampling of issues that were documented pre-flight in the past several days:
  • Pilot oxygen mask broken
  • Main landing gear hydraulic leak
  • Aircraft avionics overheat warning
  • Fuel tank seepage on the ramp
  • Premature fuel burn indications
When proper preventative maintenance on the ground is not performed, it can lead to in-flight incidents such as the following, which were recently reported by our pilots:
  • A B-737 had a wheel well fire indication in flight and was forced to declare an emergency and returned to the departure airport.
  • A B-737 declared an emergency and was diverted to Amarillo due to a smoke and electrical smell in the cockpit while en route from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Denver.
  • There were bearing failures in the main landing gear on a B-767 requiring replacement of two wheels.
  • A B-767 experienced multiple landing gear indication malfunctions after takeoff and was forced to declare an emergency and land overweight at the departure airport.
  • There was a premature fuel burn from the left main wing tank causing a serious weight and balance issue.
Due to recent FAA fines and American’s ongoing financial struggles, the FAA has stepped up its scrutiny of the carrier’s maintenance procedures.
“American currently operates the oldest fleet of aircraft in the industry, requiring much more frequent maintenance than other carriers that operate newer fleets,” Wilson said.
This week, the FAA Certificate Management Office that monitors American Airlines sent a message to APA regarding its “specialized Operational Risk surveillance” on the airline. The message included the following statement directed to pilots: “If you feel you have been coerced to refrain from reporting maintenance discrepancies, we advise you to report any instance of such to the AMR CMO for investigation. We also encourage you to use the Aviation Safety Action Program to report such instances.”
Wilson said pilots are no doubt taking a prudent and cautious approach in their operational decision-making process ― especially in light of the fact that management canceled the AA-APA collective bargaining agreement and the protections it provided.
“Our pilots should never be pressured or bullied into not reporting any maintenance issues that could endanger the traveling public,” Wilson said.

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Comments

Line Pilot

Passengers, who are you going to believe, the APA or your lying eyes? They are being bullied? The airline issued a pretty standard request for them to stop their illegal job action. The hubris of the APA is such that they believe their own BS.

I have to say they are getting quite creative now. There latest trick is to steal the airworthiness certificates out of the cockpit.

Eagle

Hey APA leadership - why don't you have you're membership act like adults. What a bunch of idiots you guys are. To sit there and state " you will act like a adults" please....Spent 2 hours delayed, than canceled because of so called maintenance issues. Family sitting next to me who had saved for over a year for there vacation (cruise), missed there connection. I don't know what happened to them but they were devastated...Why don't you pilots, not all, grow up.....

fort worth mom

I don't understand the pilots point. I read the letter from their former CEO, Mr. Crandall. He was correct. What did the pilots expect when they didn't take the contract offer? Did they expect that AA wouldn't implement what they said they would do? Did the APA ever say what component of the AA offer the pilot's didn't like? I think it's sad that the passengers are in the middle. Don't the pilots realize that THEY are AA too? They are hurting themselves by this childish behavior. I feel for the passengers and gate/airport agents. Pilots - get the emotion out of your response and start acting like the leaders you claim to be. You are better than what you have become. Negotiate, deal with the management you have and stop throwing what looks like an arrogant tantrum.

Dallas Dad

Sounds like AA management doesn't have much ground to stand on -- $160 million in fines for faulty maintenance within the past year and now the FAA is crawling all over their planes. AA's chickens have come home to roost.

Adult

Enough is enough! APA stands for Association of Pre-Adults. You have already shot yourself in the foot by rejecting the generous contract offer from the management. And your continued irresponsible behaviors will lead to the demise of this once great carrier. And all AA pilots will be be pan handlers. Your childish actions have turned away those who were once sympathetic to the pilots, myself included.

AApilot

All AA pilots should be fired! They are the a bunch of hooligans.

AMR Employee

MORE APA BULLCRAP!!!

Wings367

I'm glad he APA has decided to take the course of action they have and continue negotiating. Too bad they couldn't have grown up sooner and taken the fair deal offered to them in August. Of course my 14 year old says he's an adult too, and I'm more inclined to believe her than the APA.

Doug Parker has been pretty quiet this whole time. Second thoughts? Does he really want ANOTHER pilot showdown?

airlinerealist

Adult? ADULT?

When the work slowdowns and false maintenance issues end, and serious contract negotiations begin, I'll start to believe that the APA wants to grow up.

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