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March 27, 2014

Vote results in Eagle pilot contract to come on Friday

Friday is results day for American Eagle pilots.

The results of a ratification vote on a new 10-year contract will be announced Friday morning by the Air Line Pilots Association.

Members voted 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 eliminating profit-sharing.

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. If the pilots did not ratify the new contract, American’s management team had threatened to move the larger regional jets to these other third-party carriers which put the future of American Eagle in jeopardy.

"Regardless of the vote results, we are all Eagle pilots today, and we will all be Eagle pilots tomorrow," the union said in a message to members on Thursday evening. "Stay focused on the job at hand, the duties of professional pilots, and stay engaged as we move forward on whichever path the pilot group puts us on tomorrow."

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. Initially, the pilots union leaders chose not to send the contract out for a vote but then reversed their decision in early March.

The new contract also increased the number of pilots at Eagle that would be hired by American Airlines. Under the deal, Eagle pilots will make up at least 50 percent of each hiring class at American Airlines and in some cases up to 100 percent.

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.

-Andrea Ahles

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