Pilots at American Airlines plan strike vote

Associated Press Modified: August 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm •  Published: August 22, 2012

DALLAS (AP) — Pilots for American Airlines and US Airways are talking about terms for a possible labor deal if the two airlines merge.

Both groups of pilots would get raises on the day of a merger, said James Ray, a spokesman for US Airways pilots. After three years, he said, they would earn pay similar to that of pilots for Delta Air Lines Inc., whose recent contract is considered tops in the industry.

The terms are based on the outline of a deal in April between US Airways and pilots at American. Pilots for both airlines are now discussing changes to that outline.

Ray said that his union's board could decide this week whether to ask US Airways pilots to ratify the changes, which would also need approval by American's pilots.

The talks come as US Airways Group Inc. continues to press for a merger with American that would put its executives in charge of the combined company. US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., already reached contingent agreements in April with unions at American, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

On Wednesday, US Airways CEO Doug Parker flew to Dallas-Fort Worth to meet the new acting president of the Allied Pilots Association. A spokesman for the American union said they talked about industry consolidation.

Thomas Horton, the CEO of American parent AMR Corp., was dismissive of US Airways' overtures for several months, preferring that AMR emerge from bankruptcy protection on its own. Under pressure from creditors, however, AMR has started exploring merger options, including with US Airways, that creditors could compare to an independent AMR.

Separately on Wednesday, the American pilots' union said it would hold a strike-authorization vote if American tried to use the bankruptcy process to throw out the pilots' contract and impose deeper cuts in benefits and work rules.

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