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December 09, 2014

Quick union update: American pilots meet this week, flight attendants arbitration process coming to a close

Two quick notes about the ongoing contract talks between American Airlines and its pilots and flight attendants unions this week.

-First, the Allied Pilots Association board is meeting on Tuesday through the rest of the week to discuss the ongoing contract talks with American.

The board could decide by Friday if it plans to send out any possible contract agreement to pilots to vote on. Or if talks between APA and American management stall, American could decide to begin the arbitration process to reach a joint contract for the pilots.

-And there could be a decision from the arbitration panel over the weekend regarding a joint contract for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

According to a hotline message sent to flight attendants on Monday night, the arbiters have asked the union and company arbitration panel members to meet in an executive session on Saturday, December 13 in Washington D.C. to discuss the three issues presented at last week's arbitration hearing. The company and union do not agree on including "me-too" clauses on profit sharing and health care plans or starting wage increases from the new contract in December 2014.

The panel could reach a decision at the end of the session and provide its ruling in writing "shortly thereafter," the message said.

APFA president Laura Glading also sent a letter to American chief executive Doug Parker, asking to meet with management after an arbitration decision is reached to attempt to restore the full value of the tentative agreement that flight attendants rejected last month.

"APFA is committed to achieving the restoration of the full $193 million a year value of the T/A that the company had been prepared to pay," Glading wrote. "To that end, I am writing on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee to ask for a meeting with the Company as soon as we have the arbitration award."

Keep reading for the full letter from Glading sent to Parker on Monday.

-Andrea Ahles

Dear Doug,

The interest arbitration award creating an American Airlines/APFA Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) will be issued soon. We all know that in accordance with the Conditional Labor Agreement and the Negotiations Protocol Agreement the value of that JCBA will be $112 million a year (on average) above the current aggregate value of the Legacy American Airlines and Legacy US Airways contracts. That amount is $81 million a year lower than the $193 million a year (on average) the Company had agreed to in the Tentative Agreement (T/A) that failed ratification. At the arbitration, APFA and the Company agreed that the $81 million reduction should be accomplished through a reduction in the T/A wage rates. (APFA also has asked the arbitration panel to make the wage increases retroactive to December 2, 2014, and to include in the JCBA "me too" clauses that would be triggered if the Company provides profit-sharing or health insurance different from APFA's to any other workgroup.)

I am sure that you agree that the Flight Attendants at the new American, both Legacy American Airlines and Legacy US Airways, have made tremendous sacrifices. Our workgroup has been struggling under substandard wages for far too long. The industry has been in a state of turmoil and turbulence for decades - with the Flight Attendants being thrashed around at every jolt. The professionalism displayed and contributions made through it all have been both extraordinary and invaluable to this company's bottom line.

The APFA Board of Directors has made it clear that despite the arbitration award that will be issued, APFA is committed to achieving the restoration of the full $193 million a year value of the T/A that the company had been prepared to pay. To that end, I am writing on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee to ask for a meeting with the Company as soon as we have the arbitration award.

Sincerely,

Laura Glading

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