Unions going over proposed American cuts and changes

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 2 at 10:00 PM

FORT WORTH — The process was a bit slower and tedious on Thursday at American Airlines as its unions had a chance to go over the books and find out why AMR Corp. wants the cuts it laid out on Wednesday.

American Airlines officials said they want to cut about 13,000 jobs to save more than $1.25 billion each year. The unions say that is far more than the $800 million wage gap the airline has claimed all along.

The unions are bringing in their own financial analysts and advisors to crunch the numbers. They want to know which jobs in which cities are in jeopardy. They also want to know how revised benefits for retirees were calculated.

After making major concessions in 2003, the pilots, flight attendants and transport workers say they were promised that was enough to get American in the black. So 13,000 cuts on top of that feels like a betrayal of that promise.

"As we talk about these new fleets and we talk about all these things that are going to change, I have to look at it with somewhat of a jaundiced eye, because I really have to mind this business plan," said Transport Workers Union president James Little. "I am not taking anything for granted. What looks good in paper, in reality, it might not be there."

The unions are taking a slightly different approach compared to Wednesday. Many of them are sending union leaders into the discussions. Financial advisors are also a part of the meetings and they will report back to the union leadership.

The goal is to get more details about the upcoming layoffs and other proposed changes.

After seeing the financial reports today, the flight attendants analysts said those jobs are worth more than $2 billion.

Analysts also said some pension cuts, vacation reductions, sick leave and maximum hours are all undervalued by the company. Those are issues the organization says it will fight in negotiations.

The Transport Workers representative said they expect to know specific job cuts to be revealed next week.

Right now, Alliance maintenance facility is the only sure target for AMR. They are letting attorneys and accountants do their research today and tomorrow.

The flight attendants are scheduled to start official negotiations at the end of next week.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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