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Our State of Negotiations

As we near a possible end game in the negotiation process, there is increasing feedback from pilots who feel that APA possesses “leverage” that is anywhere from strong to “unprecedented.” While there is truth to the fact that we do have leverage, much of the pilot group misses the mark on where this leverage truly lies.

Some have inaccurately stated that we have leverage because of a perceived pilot shortage. This simply isn’t true – AA has pilots lined up to work here, and the hiring department is in fact able to be selective enough to turn unacceptable candidates away. This week I attended the most recent new hire class dinner which had 48 new pilots in attendance. While AA’s wholly owned partners are desperate for bodies, AA is not. In contrast, DAL and UAL have throttled back on hiring as they do not have our rate of retirement.

Others have accurately perceived that there is leverage in AA’s broken training program, and the need to backfill the exodus of Check Pilots due to the outdated and lagging Check Pilot work rules. There is certainly truth to this; the backlog has resulted in new hires averaging three months from date of hire to beginning training, and the past few months have seen more pilots in their grace month than there are available training slots.

But in my opinion, our biggest pressure point lies within something that is entirely controlled by every single one of our pilots – the ability to understand and enforce your contract and follow your Union’s guidance.

The list goes on, but you get the picture. This isn’t just about taking action for a snapshot in time – it is about understanding and following your contractual language while still complying with all applicable guidance. American Airlines relies on your willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done even in the face of a contract violation, whether it’s because you don’t recognize your rights under the contract in a particular moment, don’t want to rock the boat, or are too beaten down to uphold your contract and union guidance and just say “No.” We often go above and beyond because, quite simply, that character trait is a strength in our personal lives. That strength can also be used here as we stand together as a group because unity is our greatest leverage.

Negotiating update

As reported last week, Agreements in Principle have been reached on 21 of the 25 sections under negotiations. This week, the Board of Directors met to discuss the outstanding issues, with discussions focusing on pay provisions and sequence length construction. We have heard the pilot group loud and clear on their concerns on these two issues, which moved the BOD to extend the session to work towards an acceptable solution on both.

The Negotiating Committee expects to publish an update on these 21 sections in the coming days, but I want to provide some additional information regarding where we stand on Long Term Disability (LTD) and our Check Pilot (CKP) proposal.

LTD

A number of changes to the LTD plan will be effective only for those pilots who enter LTD on or after the date of signing (DOS). These changes include:

  • A decrease in the LTD elimination period from 90 days to 60 days.
  • Eligibility for employer 401(k) contributions.
  • An increase of the monthly maximum cap to $12,000 with a pilot option to treat the benefit as imputed income. This maximum will increase with each new pay increase.

Pilots on LTD prior to DOS will see an increase in their monthly disability benefit by 30%.

Changes to all LTD pilots include:

  • Elimination of all offsets.
  • Increase from 24 to 60 months for mental health/chemical dependency (applies to future claims and to current LTD pilots who have not yet exhausted their 24-month limit).

CKP

There are a number of details that are still in discussion as both parties look to finalize both a transition and end state of Section 12.B. In both the transition and end-state, Section 12.B. will include the addition of Instructor Pilots (IPs). IPs will be qualified pilots who will perform only instruction duties – not evaluation – and only at a training facility. IPs will only be able to instruct on equipment that their seniority can hold, and they must be qualified and consolidated on the equipment. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 500 hours line experience as a pilot at AA.

Current CKPs will continue to perform X-Type and L-Type duties as the structure transitions to one of Line Check Pilots (LCP) and X-Types. There should be no concern of current CKPs “losing their jobs.” X- and L-Type numbers are expected to remain relatively constant while the overall training cadre size will increase due primarily to the addition of IPs, the expansion of the training pipeline, and the hiring of additional CKPs especially given more than 90 CKPs – roughly 20% of the current CKPs – will retire in the next two years as this transition occurs.

Fly safe,

FO Chris Torres
APA Vice President

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