Leaders of the American Eagle pilots union on Wednesday rejected a recent contract agreement reached by negotiators for the airline and the Air Line Pilots Association, meaning it will not be sent to 3,000 Eagle pilots for a vote.
The contract rejection could jeopardize the future of American Eagle as the union said company negotiaters stated numerous times that the regional carrier will be downsized until “it is small enough to liquidate.”
During a meeting at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s Grand Hyatt hotel Wednesday, the union’s master executive council voted against the 10-year deal, which would have given the regional carrier, owned by American Airlines Group, new Embraer 175 jets in return for concessions.
“The pilots negotiated and signed a concessionary agreement during the recent bankruptcy, and management asked us soon after AAG exited bankruptcy for additional, significant concessions,” union Chairman William Sprague said in a memo sent to pilots Wednesday evening. “Our pilots decided they were not willing to work for less than the company is already paying our peers.”
The union said it will help pilots find placement at other airlines and will ask management for the timetable for the possible liquidation of American Eagle.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group did not have an immediate comment. Its regional carrier is scheduled to be renamed Envoy this spring as the company moves forward with its strategy to use other third-party airlines to operate short-haul flights under the American Eagle brand.
In January, the union’s negotiating committee and management reached an agreement guaranteeing that 60 of the new Embraer 175 aircraft that American Airlines Group ordered in December would be used with Eagle. In exchange for the aircraft, the pilots’ pay scales would be frozen until 2018 and profit-sharing would be eliminated.
The deal included options for 90 other aircraft to be operated by the regional carrier. The company also agreed to hire more Eagle pilots at American Airlines’ mainline operations, with up to 50 percent of each pilot hiring class consisting of Eagle pilots.
Although pilots would receive 1 percent pay increases starting in 2018, the captain pay scale would be capped at 12 years of service, and the first-officer pay scale capped at four years of service.
The employee contribution for medical insurance would also increase from 30 to 35 percent by 2017.
MEC Newsblast - MEC Meeting Result
The Master Executive Council of the American Eagle Pilot's Union, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), voted today to reject management's recent concessionary proposal. The company proposal would have given American Airlines Group (AAG) contract concessions in return for refleeting American Eagle Airlines with new Embraer 175 jets.
Company representatives made it clear that should the pilots and management fail to reach a deal, the company will not entertain future negotiations. Negotiators for AAG also stated numerous times that if a deal fails to be ratified, American Eagle Airlines will be downsized continually until it is small enough to liquidate.
Captain William Sprague, Chairman of the pilot’s union had this to say: “The vote today was about the future of Eagle pilots and the regional airline pilot profession. The pilots negotiated and signed a concessionary agreement during the recent bankruptcy, and management asked us soon after AAG exited bankruptcy for additional, significant concessions. Our pilots decided they were not willing to work for less than the company is already paying our peers. We will now begin the process of assisting our pilots in identifying alternative career options within the industry.”
During the coming days, ALPA will be working with the American Eagle pilots to help them find placement with other airlines. ALPA representatives will ask management for their timetable regarding the liquidation of American Eagle. Stay engaged as we move forward. The need for unity is more critical now than any other time in our history.
John Gardner, Chairman
EGL ALPA Communications Committee
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNION
The American Eagle Master Executive Council (MEC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, voted today to reject a recently negotiated agreement that would have provided contract concessions in return for American Airlines Group (AAG) refleeting American Eagle Airlines with new Embraer 175 regional jets.
“The vote today was about the future of our pilots’ pay and working conditions,” said Capt. William Sprague, chairman of the Eagle MEC. “Eagle pilots ratified a concessionary agreement during AMR’s bankruptcy in 2012, but our management wanted to reengage us for additional concessions a mere 10 days after AAG exited bankruptcy.
“Our elected representatives agreed that this new round of concessions was asking too much of a pilot group that has already given up previously agreed-to contractual work rules and benefits in order to ensure American Eagle’s solvency. We can no longer stand by and watch our wages continue to be eroded when profits continue to be made.
“Company representatives made it clear during these negotiations that, should the agreement be rejected, AAG will place additional aircraft with other carriers, closing the door on additional opportunities for the Eagle pilots. The Eagle MEC will explore all options in the coming weeks to advance the interests of Eagle pilots.”