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Pilots at American Airlines hold 2nd contract vote

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012

DALLAS (AP) — Pilots at American Airlines will vote again on whether to approve a contract offer from the company, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for nearly a year.

The Allied Pilots Association board on Friday accepted a tentative agreement with the airline and will send it to union members to consider.

The 7,500 pilots rejected a previous company offer in August, and American responded by getting bankruptcy court approval to impose pay and benefit cuts.

Union President Keith Wilson called the agreement the best one possible under current circumstances and said that "pressing for more amounts to overplaying the hand we've been dealt."

The union said voting was expected to end Dec. 7. Like the proposal rejected in August, pilots would get raises and 13.5 percent of the stock in parent AMR Corp. after it emerges from bankruptcy. The union promised to release more details later Friday.

The pilots are the last union group that hasn't approved a cost-cutting contract in the last few months. Approval of the contract would help AMR emerge from bankruptcy protection by locking down long-term labor savings. American aims to reduce annual labor costs by about $1 billion.

"We are pleased the Allied Pilots Association is putting the tentative agreement out for a vote," said AMR spokesman Bruce Hicks. Without offering specifics, he said American tried to address pilots' concerns while still getting a contract that meets the company's cost-saving target of 17 percent.

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