This week, the APA Board of Directors voted to approve resolution R2017-38, “LOS (Length of Service) Negotiating Priority,” which acknowledges that “a significant number of American Airlines pilots furloughed after September 2001 suffered one of the longest furloughs in airline history” and “have suffered and continue to suffer a significant loss in pay, retirement contributions and vacation accrual.”
It would be a mistake for management to regard this as an attempt at leverage or brinksmanship — it is not. By taking this step, our board has extended an invitation to management to do the right thing. We are asking management to bolster its call for culture change with a tangible commitment. It’s a way to validate the trust, take that leap of faith, and put the past pain and sacrifice behind us. As CEO Doug Parker has rightfully lauded to the media and Wall Street, “This time is different.”
As we approach the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, LOS restoration will recognize the pain and sacrifice of our brother and sister pilots who were furloughed in the prolonged downturn that followed the attacks. In many cases, these pilots and their families suffered through multiple furloughs for more than a decade of sacrifice and uncertainty.
Many of our furloughed pilots served in our armed forces across the globe during the ensuing war on terror, ensuring that our country was safe and our industry could rebuild and thrive. Upon recall these men and women proudly chose to come back to American Airlines. It’s time to acknowledge their loyalty and treat them with the same high regard as their peers at Delta and United.
As Mr. Parker stated in a recent Crew News regarding the mid-contract pay adjustment, “It was just too much for too long” to wait until Section 6 negotiations to remedy our pay rate disparity. The same can be said for restoring LOS.
Making this modest investment in LOS restoration will pay dividends far beyond anything that could be accomplished through team meetings or other attempts to engage employees. As senior management expressed at this year’s Annual Leadership Conference, there is a circle of trust that employees must feel a part of, and without that trust in management, there can be no real and sustained culture change.
Keep in mind that this is our airline. We are the ones who spend most if not all of our professional careers here, and no one wants it to succeed more than we do. We all want to go for great, and this is not a time to stare each other down. Instead, it’s a time to invest in trust and cooperation. We are not asking management to be kind — we are asking management to be smart.
I am confident that management will decide to do the right thing. The time has come.
CA Dan Carey