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Managing Unrelenting Change – APA is On It

The past several days have provided ample evidence to reinforce the old adage that the only constant in life is change.

As I emphasized in our press release regarding Doug Parker stepping down as American Airlines CEO and Robert Isom taking his place, our expectations for Mr. Isom are high. American Airlines has regrettably cemented itself as an industry laggard in ways that matter a great deal to employees, passengers, and shareholders, and that chronic underperformance must be corrected. As pilots, we are committed to the long-term success of American Airlines, and we expect Mr. Isom to share that commitment. While change can be unsettling, it can also provide much-needed opportunities, and this executive transition is one such opportunity to get it right and put our airline on a better path. We’ll be watching, and we won’t be silent – there must be a significant course correction. You can be sure that American Airlines’ competitors won’t be cutting it any slack.

Management also announced this week that its mandate requiring all employees to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption by Jan. 4, 2022, would remain in effect, notwithstanding the temporary injunction issued by a federal district court in Georgia. As I emphasized in my vaccine mandate update yesterday, if any pilot is found to be non-compliant by the deadline date, it’s our firm position that no discipline may be imposed based on any alleged violation of a non-bargained-for term of employment.

Last Friday’s announcement by Managing Director Flight Training & Standards CA Lori Cline regarding plans to schedule late-night sim sessions for new-hire pilots and qualification training provides yet more evidence that change is needed at American Airlines. Management failed to engage APA in meaningful discussions before rolling this plan out, we don’t believe it’s compliant with the language of Supplement Y, and as planned, it’s a terrible idea that would likely degrade the quality of the training and further reduce our pilots’ quality of work life.

The company’s just-announced decision to trim international flying in 2022 as a consequence of 787 delivery delays is more unwelcome news. Just as pent-up demand fueled a robust recovery of our domestic flying this year, all signs point to the same happening internationally in the coming year. We need all of that flying we can get, and we’ll be pressing management for its “Plan B.”

Meanwhile, Section 6 negotiations continue, with the Negotiating Committee and Department and Economic & Financial Analysis Committee fully engaged. We can’t get it done without you, so please participate in the visual display of resolve we’re conducting virtually on Dec. 15 and in the informational picketing event set for Jan. 20 at DFW.

The APA Board of Directors will convene next week for strategy discussions and for briefings by APA Legal and the Aeromedical, Check Airman, Maintenance and Technical Analysis, Negotiating, and Scheduling committees. And regardless of the specific issues before us, our singular focus, as always, will remain on how best to protect your interests – APA is on it.

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