American Airlines pilots OK motion to send out strike ballot

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 3:45 PM

FORT WORTH — The board of directors for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents more than 8,000 American Airlines pilots, approved a motion on Monday afternoon to send out a strike ballot to its members.

Last week, a judge gave the airline permission to cancel its pilots' contract as American reorganizes in bankruptcy.

But it appears doubtful American's pilots could legally strike or begin any other job action.

“The APA’s own general counsel reminded the union in a memorandum to its national officers and board of directors posted Saturday that any job action would be unlawful," said American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks in a statement to News 8. "So, it’s obvious this announcement is simply a diversionary tactic. American is committed to moving forward with implementing those terms from both the Tentative Agreement and Term Sheet that are necessary for our successful restructuring."

The APA said it would only send out a strike ballot if American imposed its entire term sheet for a new temporary contract.

"We assured the APA and our pilots on Friday that the vast majority of working conditions will not change from the pilot contract previously in place, with the exception of specific changes found by the Court to be necessary for American to reorganize," Hicks added. "At the same time, we remain committed to bargaining in good faith with APA for an agreement that addresses the Company’s needs and that pilots will find acceptable.”

In a memo to the union last Friday, the APA's General Counsel said: "It should be noted that the NMB [National Mediation Board] has not released the APA to use self-help at this time, and that in Northwest Airlines during that carrier’s Chapter 11 restructuring the Second Circuit ruled that rejection of the union’s CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] pursuant to Section 1113 did not make it lawful for the union to strike under the RLA [Railway Labor Act]."

The APA is American's only labor group that rejected the airline's "last, best offer."

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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