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LABOR LEADER QUESTIONS AMERICAN AIRLINES CEO’S DECISION TO SKIP MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP: “SERIOUS CONCERNS”
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 10, 2017) — The head of the Allied Pilots Association (APA) criticized American Airlines CEO Doug Parker’s decision to decline President Trump’s invitation to attend a White House meeting on Thursday with other airline CEOs.
“Mr. Parker’s decision to skip the meeting with President Trump has shaken our confidence in his judgment. If President Trump were to invite me and other labor leaders from the airline industry to the White House to discuss the issues confronting airline workers, I would have only one question: How fast can I get there?” said APA President CA Dan Carey. “For our airline’s CEO to say ‘no thanks’ to President Trump flat-out amazes me. Based on the steady stream of emails and phone calls I have received from my pilot members, I have plenty of company.
“Our pilots are encouraged by President Trump’s stated commitment to putting the interests of U.S. workers first. To that end, we have been urging the Trump administration to reverse the Obama administration’s eleventh-hour approval of a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian Air International to counter the U.S. job-killing threat posed by that carrier’s flag-of-convenience scheme. Likewise, we must address the massive government subsidies that Gulf state carriers continue to receive in violation of our Open Skies agreements. I would be honored to meet with President Trump to help him understand our concerns about those and other pressing issues, and to hear his vision for the future of our industry and profession.
“Mr. Parker serves as chairman and chief executive officer of American Airlines, the world’s largest passenger carrier. He likewise serves as chairman of Airlines for America, the U.S. airline industry’s principal lobbying organization. His absence from yesterday’s meeting raises questions about his suitability for both of those vitally important roles.
“I attended the same American Airlines Annual Leadership Conference in Dallas as Mr. Parker yesterday, along with 1,600 other company employees. If Mr. Parker had conveyed his regrets and announced in advance that he would be instead be meeting with President Trump and other CEOs at the White House, would anyone have questioned the correctness of that decision? The answer is clearly no.
“In a message to employees, Mr. Parker rationalized his decision by stating that ‘when conflicts arise, we make our decisions based on what is best for the people of American.’ The 100,000 hard-working men and women of American Airlines, along with our many shareholders, absolutely depend on senior management to make the correct decision. That didn’t happen, prompting serious concerns about Mr. Parker’s notion of ‘what is best for the people of American.’”
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is www.AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.