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    American Airlines' (AA) management declined to provide pilots compensation for downtime away from home

    American Airlines Playing Hardball on New Pilot Contracts: Labor Union

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    Spokesman for Allied Pilots Association claimed that American Airlines' management declined to provide pilots compensation for downtime away from home as part of a new labour deal.

    WASHINGTON, January 6 (Sputnik) — American Airlines' (AA) management declined to provide pilots compensation for downtime away from home as part of a new labour deal, a spokesman for the airline’s pilots union, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), told Sputnik.

    “We [APA] tried to get one work rule improvement called ‘calendar day pay’, which compensates pilots for being away from home due to flight planning inefficiencies. But the company [American Airlines] would just not have it,” Captain Dennis Tajer said.

    Delta and United pilots are compensated for every calendar day away from home, regardless if they've flown on that day, while AA pilots are paid based solely on flight hours, Tajer explained. Compensating pilots for downtime would significantly contribute to life quality improvement for AA pilots and would push the company to optimize operations in order to avoid inefficient scheduling, he said.

    This “industry-trailing” work rule forces AA pilots to spend 20 days or more away from home each month “for as little as 72 hours of pay,” Tajer added. The APA said that throughout the negotiations the company has been “unwilling to agree to industry-standard duty-rig modifications that would remedy the problem.”

    On January 3, despite disagreement over the non-flight compensation issue, the APA board of directors accepted the airline's six-year labour deal, which increases pilot rates by 21 percent. The new deal puts AA rates 7 percent higher than those of Delta pilots. However, the agreement does not include a 15% profit-sharing plan that Delta pilots currently have as part of their salary package.

    The APA board will reconvene on Wednesday to review in detail what is expected to be the final contract verbiage. Then the union’s 15,000 members will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal through electronic balloting, the results of which are projected to be released by the end of January, Tajer told Sputnik.

    By accepting the deal, the pilots’ union will avoid arbitration hearings that were set for late February. Predetermined parameters would have executed a less favorable contract than the one presented to the pilots on December 23.

    After the December 2013 merger between AA and US airways, the pilots’ union said it looked forward to sharing in the profits projected to materialize due to synergies and cost-savings. According to APA, Wall Street analysts expect American Airlines to achieve earnings of over $6 billion in 2015.


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