American Airlines forces 80 new terms on pilots

American Airlines

Credit: Jason Whitely / WFAA

American Airlines forces 80 new terms on pilots

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 13 at 10:33 AM

DALLAS — American Airlines has implemented 80 new terms on its pilots, according to a 13-page memorandum the company sent the Allied Pilots Association on Wednesday.

Many of the terms, including "revisions to scope," took effect on September 12, while others will begin on October 1 and November 1.

American will immediately begin to codeshare with commuter airlines that fly aircraft with up to 79 seats. American argued in bankruptcy court that it needed the flexibility to fly larger regional aircraft in and out of certain cities where demand might not fill up a mainline American Airlines jet.

That means you could buy a ticket on American but actually travel on another airline.

American also detailed a plan to codeshare with Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in the terms implemented on pilots. In addition, American left options open to codeshare with other domestic airlines.

But American pilots complain additional codesharing will only outsource their jobs.

The airline is also streamlining pilot pay for similar sized aircraft, eliminating night pay and cutting premiums for flying international, among other things.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane recently gave American permission to implement changes on its 8,000 pilots after the Allied Pilots Union overwhelmingly rejected the airline’s final contract offer.

The Allied Pilots Association is now threatening a strike. It mailed strike ballots out on Tuesday and voting began Wednesday. The APA said it will have results tallied by October 3.

But the airline argues there's clear legal precedence showing a strike or any other such job action would be illegal as American restructures in bankruptcy. The general counsel of the Allied Pilots Association said the same thing in a memo to the union last weekend.

Pilots are the only labor group not to accept a new contract with American Airlines. They’re only the second pilots union to have their contract abrogated by a judge;  the last was Continental Airlines pilots in the 1980s.

In a letter to all employees, Denise Lynn, American’s senior vice president of people, said the airline will also freeze the Defined Benefit pension plans and the pilot B Plan on November 1. No one will lose benefits they’ve earned, Lynn wrote, but after October 31 no new benefits will accrue.

The airline is replacing its pension with a 401(k) plan and matching dollar-for-dollar up to 5.5 percent of employee contributions.

On Wednesday, a federal court signed off on new contracts that flight attendants and Transport Workers Union groups reached in last-minute deals with American.

E-mail: jwhitely@wfaa.com

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