We have a letter that an American Airlines pilot shared with me. This pilot has credibility with me, so I’m putting it out here.

The letter writer appears to have inside knowledge of the American-Allied Pilots Association negotiations. His indication is that the two sides are very, very close to an agreement, but that the APA board of directors is nervous.

“As you will soon learn, significant progress has been made between the parties.  The fear of sending another agreement your way in the wake of the rejection of the LBFO is very real. After more than six years of negotiations, AMR and the APA are finally at the end game. Political courage to lead during times like these is difficult but necessary,” the author wrote.

“While the APA and American Airlines management are down to a few remaining items, APA leadership appears to have provided no means for these few items to be concluded.

“Instead of providing their negotiating committee with direction and feedback on what it will take to conclude an agreement, the APA Board left last week with no clear guidance and clarity on what they expect their negotiating committee to negotiate,” it said.

Let’s go through some issues that helped kill a previous tentative agreement, the “last, best, final offer” (LBFO), in August:

– Scope remains as the biggest unresolved issue as the two sides fight over the size of jets that regional partners could fly. The difference is three seats and 7,000 pounds– APA wants a ceiling of 76 seats and 86,000 pounds and American wants to go to 79 seats and 93,000 pounds.

One would suspect that American has a certain airplane in mind. But if so, we don’t know what it is.

– Pay buckets. The Airbus A319 (and similarly sized Boeing 737-700) in the original deal was put in a lower-paying pay level than larger single-aisle airplanes like the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 737-800. It was a big issue when the original deal was rejected.

The new talks have moved the small narrow-body airplanes up into the MD-80 and 737-800 bucket.

– The six-year duration of the contract remains, but the mid-term pay adjustment have improved the situation in favor of the AA pilots.

American had offered to adjust pay to the average of other major U.S. carriers after three years, but with a weighting that took the average down.

The new method puts more weight on the pay rates of Delta Air Lines and United Airlines and less on the lower rates paid to US Airways and former America West pilots.

– The management proposal sitting on the table would provide a 4 percent pay increase when the contract is signed; 2 percent raises in each of the next two years; the mid-term adjustment discussed above, which the author says could mean a 16 percent raise; and 2 percent raises the last two years of the contract.

– As in the previous deal, pilots would get 13.5 percent of stock in AMR when it emerges from bankruptcy and AMR would give the APA $5 million to pay for the union’s bankruptcy expenses.

– Unlike the previous deal, the union would not give up its right to protest management compensation.

Keep reading for the entire open letter.

… [visit site to read more]

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