American makes new offer to ground workers

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 23 at 6:40 PM

NEW YORK — American Airlines flight attendants fought for their jobs and pensions on picket lines from D/FW Airport to New York City on Monday.

It is a drama that directly affects thousands of people in North Texas and one of the region's largest employers.

AMR Corp., parent company of the Fort Worth-based airline, is in New York outlining its proposal to terminate union contracts before a federal bankruptcy court judge.

But late Monday afternoon, we got word that American made a contract offer to its ground workers union that could save thousands of jobs.

The original plan called for cutting 8,800 mechanics and ground worker positions, a big chunk of the 12,000 AMR jobs that are on the line.

But American now says it has proposed a new contract with the Transport Workers Union that will save several thousand jobs. TWU members will be voting on that offer later this week.

American also says it needs a billion dollars' worth of concessions from pilots and flight attendants to be able to exit bankruptcy and return to profitability. That's why the company is here in New York asking a judge to cancel the union contracts so the company can renegotiate them with more favorable terms.

The long process was unfolding Monday as hundreds of flight attendants and ground workers protested AMR's cost-cutting plan in a large, loud rally.

American Airlines' three unions will have their chance to go before the bankruptcy judge in New York City beginning May 14, with the judge likely to make a final ruling on proceedings in early June.

And we now know the terms that US Airways proposed to American Airlines pilots last week that encouraged them to support a possible merger.

The offer would provide an immediate 5.5 percent raise and 3 percent increases each year for five years, according to the Allied Pilots Association, as reported in the "Wall Street Journal."

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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