Reversing a “no vote” from three weeks ago, the American Eagle pilots union leaders have decided to let its members vote on a tentative contract agreement with the regional carrier.
The Air Line Pilots Association’s master executive council for American Eagle will schedule a ratification vote on the 10-year contract that allows Eagle pilots to fly new larger regional aircraft in exchange for freezing pilot pay scales until 2018 and the elimination of profit-sharing.
“After discussion and analysis, the MEC voted to send the proposal to the pilots as a tentative agreement so that the pilot group can weigh-in individually on the agreement,” Eagle-MEC chairman Bill Sprague said in a message sent to pilots on Friday afternoon.
Voting will begin on March 13 and close on March 28.
If the agreement is ratified, American Eagle president Pedro Fabregas said Eagle pilots will make up at least 50 percent of each hiring class at American Airlines and in some cases up to 100 percent.
“Our pilots will have an unmatched flow through agreement, an industry-leading fleet commitment and new large regional jets, which better meet the needs of our customers and mainline partner,” said American Eagle president Pedro Fabregas. He added that the hiring portion of the agreement will help Eagle attract more pilots to the carrier.
American Airlines Group, which owns the regional carrier, said it will rename it Envoy later this spring as it expands its use of outside carriers to fly routes under the Eagle brand.
When the union leadership initially voted against sending the agreement out to 2,800 pilots, Eagle-MEC chairman Bill Sprague said pilots were unwilling to accept a lengthy contract that would lock them into wage rates near the bottom of the industry. American then said it planned to move aircraft away from Eagle to other carriers to fly, putting the future of the regional airline in jeopardy.
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. The deal included options for 90 other aircraft to be operated by the regional carrier.
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. At American Eagle, a new hire makes $26 an hour. Based on a guarantee of 72 hours a month, the first officer would make about $22,464. Eagle is offering $5,000 signing bonuses to new pilots who agree to stay for two years. Captains, however, can earn significantly more, with pay rates of $67 to $104 an hour.
Keep reading for letters from the union and Eagle management.
MEC Meeting Update
On Wednesday, March 5th, and Thursday, March 6th, members of the EGL ALPA leadership met with representatives of AAG in Washington, DC to discuss the impasse and how we all might be able to move forward. The parties re-engaged in conversation because we share a common goal – an agreement that provides a strong, stable labor future for the company that the pilots feel values their contribution appropriately.
The results of that meeting were presented to the full MEC. After discussion and analysis, the MEC voted to send the proposal to the pilots as a Tentative Agreement so that the pilot group can weigh-in individually on the Agreement.
Pilot ratification voting will open at 1000 EST on the 13th of March and will close at 1000 EST on the 28th of March. The schedule for the base visits is being worked out now and will be announced soon. Members in good standing will be allowed to vote, and voting will be through the ALPA.org website. We will make the actual language of the TA available to the pilot group as soon as possible and will also include a comparison so that everyone will be able to determine the value of the improvements.
Also on the agenda for the meeting was consideration of a personnel change involving MEC officers. Captain Matt Rettig has stepped down as MEC Vice Chairman. MEC Secretary/Treasurer, Captain Gloria Finnerty, will be Acting Vice Chairman until an election is held. We thank Captain Rettig for his years of hard work, commitment and dedication.
As I have committed from the beginning, this TA will be evaluated based on its merits. We will explain the dynamics of how it works and present you with the facts of the Agreement. I encourage you to engage your local representatives and provide your perspective.
Bill Sprague, Chairman
EGL ALPA MEC
Tentative Agreement to be Sent to Our Pilots for Ratification Vote
I am pleased to report ALPA’s American Eagle Master Executive Council (MEC) voted today to send
the Tentative Agreement (TA), formerly the Agreement in Principle, to our professional pilots for a
ratification vote. We very much appreciate and thank the negotiating committee for their work on this
TA, and the MEC for giving our pilots the opportunity to vote on their and our future.
If ratified, the TA, above all, offers our pilots greater job security and unprecedented advancement
opportunities. For all of the more than 14,000 people at American Eagle Airlines, soon to be Envoy,
the TA will provide a solid foundation to grow our company into the best and most competitive
regional carrier in our industry.
Voting on the agreement will begin soon. Should our pilots ratify it, our industry-leading flow through
rights to the largest airline in the world will be significantly enhanced to a level no other carrier can
match. Pilots from our company alone will make up a minimum of 50 percent, and in some cases up
to 100 percent, of American’s new hire pilots each month. Our flow through will draw more new pilots
to our airline, while giving our current pilots a substantial career advantage over pilots at independent
regional carriers. This is something independent regional carriers simply can’t offer. It will allow our
pilots to more quickly advance from first officer to captain and then on to American. With this
progression, and if the TA is ratified, they will enjoy all of the benefits that come with this faster than
The agreement also offers a signing bonus and competitive pay rates. The overwhelming majority of
our pilots will be able to further increase their pay following the delivery of the first new aircraft. For the
recruitment of new pilots, our pay rates are going to remain comparable to those of other regional
carriers for a long time and they will enjoy flow through rights, too. With our unparalleled access to
pilot positions at American, we are excited about the prospect of new hire pilots joining our growing
airline. The agreement also preserves the existing “no furlough” protections for our pilots. All of these
elements mean that no other regional airline will be able to offer their pilots the job protections and
upward mobility to a mainline airline as we will.
In addition to these pilot benefits, the agreement will allow us to upgrade our fleet with new Embraer
175 (E175) regional jets that can carry up to 76 passengers and a fleet commitment for a minimum of
170 aircraft for the duration of the 10-year agreement. The new aircraft and the fleet commitment will
offer lower operating costs; a top-tier regional product for our customers; the opportunity to hire a
significant number of new flight attendants; and substantial growth opportunities for teams throughout
With our improved cost structure and focus on performance, we are confident we can grow well
beyond our guaranteed fleet number and build a robust future for all of us. For several years the
ambitious growth of our ground handling business has been the envy of our competitors. If this TA is
ratified, our flying business will be evoking the same response. Our pilots will have an unmatched flow
through agreement, an industry-leading fleet commitment and new large regional jets, which better
meet the needs of our customers and mainline partner.
This is truly one of the most critical times in the history of our company. We encourage all of our
people to learn more about what this TA, if ratified by our pilots, will offer. Please look at all the facts
related to this agreement and consider the competitive environment in which we operate. We hope
you will see and agree this TA is a great opportunity for our pilots and all of us at American Eagle
As always, I commit to keeping you informed of any news and developments as it happens and thank
you for all of your work on behalf of our customers and company.