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November 06, 2012

Talks between American and pilots union stall out over pay and work rules

Talks between American Airlines and its pilots union have reached a stalemate over pay and scope issues.

In a message to pilots sent out late Monday, Allied Pilots Association president Keith Wilson said, "All but a few paragraphs are in full contract language."

However, Wilson said the union does not agree with management's proposals on 79-seat jets with no weight limit, on furlough protections and a potential cap on wide-body aircraft pay increases in the middle of the contract.

On Tuesday, APA spokesman Gregg Overman said, "We are stalemated over issues of pay and scope."

Keep reading for the full message sent out to pilots by Wilson on Monday evening.

-Andrea Ahles

Fellow pilots,

This past weekend, your Negotiating Committee provided a briefing summary to your APA Board of Directors on where things currently sit in negotiations. Portions of that summary are currently in the public domain, so to prevent any misinformation, we are providing a more detailed summary for your review. While this briefing sheet is not comprehensive, it should provide a feel for the progress that has been made to date. As you can see, the main obstacle to reaching our goal of an industry standard contract is scope ― specifically as it pertains to the size and seat capacity of the larger regional jet.

Pay and Duration

–Six-year duration, early openers at four years

–Date-of-signing annual pay raises of 4 percent, 2 percent, 2 percent, mid-contract adjustment, then 2 percent, 2 percent. Group II (A319 and 737-700) merged with Group III at the Group III rates

–Only five groups (E190 Group, 737-800 Group, 757/767 Group, 777/787 Group and 747/A380 Group)

–International override paid only for actual flying (industry standard; same as United and Delta)

–No night pay (industry standard; same as Delta and United)

–Current book per diem rates.

–DOS+3 = $2.00 domestic and $2.20 international(low end of industry standard. Delta rates now $2.25 domestic and $2.75 international)

–Mid-contract adjustment improved to weighted average to minimize impact of US Airways

If United agreement ratified and APA secures a Jan. 2, 2013 date of signing:

–Worst case scenario, January 2016 adjustment would take 737-800 and S80 captain rates to $207/hour (more than 18 percent raise applied to all groups)

–Best case scenario, January 2016 (Delta and United only), 737-800 and S80 captain rates go to $220/hour (approximately 21 percent raise applied to all groups)

–Last management weighted ASM proposal had a provision that limited widebody pay increases to the average of Delta and United for comparable aircraft. This particular part is unacceptable.


–Fatigue calls paid

–Paid events subject to review team with APA input

–Fatigue memorandum of understanding has been agreed to (APA insisted on this language, it is industry leading)


–Split sick bank starting in January 2014 (60 hours short-term per year, rest in long-term bank)

–Substantiation not required for short-term bank

–Substantiation required to access long-term bank for absences more than 14 calendar days or if short-term bank depleted (Delta requires substantiation for sick events of 15 days or more, over 100 hours in a year, or if chief pilot has reason to suspect pilot is not sick)

–Annual sick sell-back program of half of unused accrual, starting with 2013 accrual (industry leading; Delta and United do not have this)

–Rapid reaccrual limited to time used (same as all other carriers with rapid re-accrual)

–Elimination of 46 hours sick charged if on reserve on long-term sick (no other carrier had this provision)

–Sick bank replenished after an injury on duty (June tentative agreement did not allow this)


–Active medical – same as in June tentative agreement, which was essentially a carbon copy of the Continental pilots’ $750 deductible plan

–Disability improved from June tentative agreement

–60% of income up to $8,000 (Delta 50% no limit, United 50% up to $7,500)

–Offsets for SSDI, Workers Compensation and State Disability

– No offsets for earned (W2) income for first 48 months (was 24 months in the June tentative agreement)

–No premiums (United pilots pay premiums)

–Retirees under age 60 pay 100% for retiree medical (industry standard, same as Delta)

–Retirees 60-64 can cash out sick time at retirement into a Health Retirement Account ($25/hour) which can be used for medical premiums up to $25,000

–Delta retirees age 60-64 pay 51% of medical expenses


–14 percent contribution to 401(k) plan

–Frozen A Plan

–B Plan proceeds rolled to SuperSaver or pilot’s IRA

–Delta terminated pilot A Plan and substituted a 15 percent defined contribution

–United terminated pilot A Plan and substituted a 16 percent defined contribution


–84-hour max average line value with 82-hour rolling average over the year (close approximation to Delta)

–Green Book duty rigs – (close approximation to Delta and most other legacy carriers)

–90-hour average individual monthly max (limits a pilot to a maximum of 1,080 credited hours over the course of 12 months)

–Preferential bidding with requirement to negotiate PBS MOU by July 2013

–Current flight time/duty time limits until new federal aviation regulations applied in January 2014

–All sequences subject to review of Fatigue Risk Management System with APA input

–CPA bank eliminated, all fly-through time paid for the actual time flown in each bid month

–Reassignments past the original sequence footprint pay 150 percent

–Sequence protection notification and obligation windows (patterned after Delta contract)

–Pilot may opt out of sequence protection pay and obligation (management will not unreasonably withhold right to do so)

–Management will develop a trip-trade system that will replace TTOT as we know it


–Green Book values and accruals with the elimination of the 42-day accrual step at 30 years of service

–Pilots can float all but one week of vacation

–Pilots can drop trips and charge to vacation bank

Pilot Bases

–STL pilot base will stay as we know it until an arbitration process has been concluded (approximately within 120 days of signing)

–No other pilot bases will be closed until at least fourth-quarter 2013

–Home base concept which can allow some sequences to be built from cities that have large commuter populations


–18 days of availability for 73 hours

–Trips assigned on scoring system (Reserve Priority Value, patterned after Delta system)

–Reserve pilots can pick up trips on days off for pay above guarantee at management option

–Elimination of reserve guarantee pay for up to four days of military duty (we were the only carrier with this provision)

–Military pilot may move duty-free periods to cover military duty

Scope (still not settled)

–APA willing to allow 76-seat with 86k weight limit (same as Delta)

–Management wants 79-seat jets, with 86k limit for current aircraft but no weight limit for CRJ700/900, EMB 170.175 or MRJ70/90 (same as June tentative agreement)

–Delta has a hard cap of 450 aircraft
–Management wants ability to codeshare with Alaska and Hawaiian plus 50 percent of domestic ASMs

–Delta contract fairly restrictive on code-sharing

–Current United contract only requires management to notify ALPA of codesharing (details of new United codesharing not yet available)

–Parties still debating furlough protection

–Last management offer has 95 percent of active pilots offered furlough protection (90 percent in case of a merger)


–APA can protest management compensation

–13.5 percent equity stake in the new company

–APA reimbursed $5 million for bankruptcy expenses

Unresolved as of Nov. 4, 2012

–All but a few paragraphs are in full contract language

–APA doesn’t agree to the potential cap on widebody pay increases in the mid-contract adjustment

–APA doesn’t agree to the management position on 79-seat jets with no weight limit

–APA doesn’t agree to the management position on furlough protection

–APA doesn't agree to management position on regional feed wraps


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one day its the talks are continuing, and the next day its they are at a stalemate..which is it? these guys need to realize how many other people they are affecting by dragging this out..american does have other employees than the pilots,whether thy understand that or not..talk,negotiate, and get this contract thing settled please!!!


The APA is too chicken to bring another contract to pilots for a vote. The union knows the state of AA's affairs and long term prognoscations. The union knows that US will not solve its problems either. The union's folly was making unattainable promises to its members and now trying to figure out how to put a shiny coating on the best offer AA can make.

The APA has waited far too long to put on its big boy pants own up to the fact that the stalemate the union insists upon only hurts the pilots the union represents. The APA may talk a good game, but in the end the union has proven to be made up of nothing but cowards.

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