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It’s Time: Allied Pilots Association to Open Contract Negotiations With American Airlines

In Formal Request to Open Negotiations, Union Identifies Four Priority Values to Achieve Industry-Changing Contract: Safety First, Respect, Fairness, and Collaboration

FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 19, 2018) — The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, exercised an early-opener provision in its contract and formally requested today to open negotiations with American Airlines management pursuant to Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act. In a letter sent to American Airlines providing notice that negotiations will open in January 2019, the union declared that “it’s time” to move beyond a labor agreement borne out of bankruptcy and to pursue, collaboratively, an airline that both labor and management can be proud to represent.

In the letter, Captain Daniel F. Carey, APA President, noted that formal proposals to amend APA’s contract would soon follow. Captain Carey also identified “four simple, straightforward values that will facilitate the change we seek and enable American Airlines to become the carrier and pilot employer of first choice.” Those values are:

  • Safety first;
  • Respect;
  • Fairness; and
  • A commitment to collaboration.

Empowered by the unity of APA’s 15,000-member negotiating committee, Captain Carey writes in the letter that it is also time to improve the way pilots are scheduled, how passengers are treated, and the working relationship between American Airlines management and pilots. APA’s focus on the passenger experience in its message to management signifies the link between pilots and passengers and follows APA’s ongoing effort to Humanize Air Travel.

“We believe American Airlines can do better. We believe American Airlines can be better,” Captain Carey said. “With respectful communication and open dialogue, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a better contract and a better relationship now and for the long-term that reinforces our shared values and priorities.”

APA touted “an historic opportunity” to craft and reach an “industry-changing agreement” in 2019 that will be beneficial to pilots, passengers, the airline, and other stakeholders. The union believes that both pilots and management must seize this moment to provide a basis for a better passenger experience by reducing risk in the operation. Captain Carey emphasized APA’s desire for improved schedule integrity to boost revenue performance and respect pilots’ and passengers’ schedules.

“We reject any notion that the goals of our pilots and our airline are mutually exclusive. No one is more invested in the success of American Airlines than the pilots who have spent – and will spend – their entire careers working to make American the best airline in the world,” Captain Carey said. “For that reason, we expect management’s thoughtful consideration of our suggestions for how to make mutually beneficial changes that will ensure we are the best airline with the best passenger experience.”

With a mutual commitment to these guiding principles for negotiations, APA signaled confidence that an industry-changing agreement is achievable quickly in 2019. APA also noted that pilots and management share the same set of goals; both parties want to change the culture of the airline for the better, and to lead the industry.

Calling this a moment for “courageous leadership” and trust, APA pledged respectful communication and open dialogue, and noted the potential benefits that can come from working collaboratively with the airline.

“We fully intend to conclude these negotiations in months, not years,” said Captain Carey, who reiterated that timeline in a short video message to the pilots he represents. “The sooner we reach an agreement, the better for all concerned, including our pilots, our investors, and the passengers we serve.”

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 AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.

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