An American Airlines spokesman confirmed Friday afternoon that the carrier will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane to toss out the collective bargaining agreements of unions that turn down the company’s latest contract proposals.

Earlier Friday, John Hale, American Airlines vice president of operations, told pilots that American will ask Lane to let the carrier abrogate the labor contracts if pilots turn down a tentative agreement.

Subsequently, the American spokesman confirmed that yes, American will also move to reject the contracts of any union that turns down the deal sitting before its members.

That removes the uncertainty lingering about the airline’s intentions, although it introduces a fear grenade into the situation.

Here’s the timetable:

– Two Transport Workers Union groups are voting on two tentative agreements, covering mechanics and related employees and maintenance stock clerks. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, with results released Wednesday.

– The Allied Pilots Association members are voting on a tentative agreement. Voting ends at noon Wednesday, with results released soon afterward. The APA board of directors come into Fort Worth on Tuesday for meetings, and will be in session when the voting is tabulated.

– The Association of Professional Flight Attendants are voting on American’s “last, best and final offer,” with the union’s board declining to adopt it as a tentative agreement but deciding to send the proposal to members. Their voting ends at 10 a.m. Aug. 19.

– Between the TWU/APA votes and the APFA vote, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane is set to rule Aug. 15 on American’s March 23 motions to reject its unresolved union contracts. It’s up to American to ask the judge to delay that decision until after the APFA results come in, if American so desires.

Precipitating the public pronouncements was a report out of Los Angeles by a pilot who attended a July 26 meeting with Hale and Hale’s boss, senior vice president of operations Jim Ream. According to the report that’s been widely circulated among American Airlines employees, the executives left the impression that American really needs a labor deal and a no vote by APA members would bring a better deal.


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