Union head lobbies for pilots' contract with AA

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

DALLAS (AP) — The head of the pilots' union is making an emotional pitch to approve a tentative contract with American Airlines, saying rejecting the deal would set pilots on "a path of self-destruction."

Allied Pilots Association president Keith Wilson said Tuesday that the contract would eventually boost pay to industry standards.

Wilson said some opponents of the contract are intent on punishing airline management and not helping American emerge from bankruptcy protection as a successful company.

The message underscored the deep divisions within the union and hostility that many pilots harbor toward management of American and its parent, AMR Corp.

In August pilots rejected another offer from American by a 61-to-39-percent margin. American responded by cutting pay and benefits, which was followed by a surge in delayed and canceled flights that American blamed on an illegal work slowdown by pilots.

The latest agreement would eventually raise pay in line with pilots at United Airlines and Delta Air Lines and give pilots 13.5 percent of AMR stock after bankruptcy. In exchange, American would get more flexibility to outsource flying to other airlines. Some pilots oppose the six-year length of the deal. Voting ends Dec. 7.

American is trying to use the bankruptcy process to cut annual labor costs by about $1 billion.

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