American Airlines, flight attendants fail to cut costs

Sat Jun 2, 2012 2:53pm EDT

American Airlines aircraft stand on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

American Airlines aircraft stand on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles April 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - American Airlines failed to agree on cost-cutting measures with its flight attendants' union, setting the stage for a judge to rule on voiding the contract for the bankrupt carrier, a subsidiary of AMR Corp, the union said in a statement late on Friday.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November, citing a need to cut labor costs, while its flight attendant and pilot unions have pushed for a merger with rival carrier US Airways Corp to reduce expenses.

Talks between American Airlines and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants ended without reaching a deal after two days of meetings, union spokeswoman Leslie Mayo said in the statement.

"Today, mediated talks between AA and APFA broke off in New York without a deal. APFA is disappointed, but not surprised," Mayo said.

The pilots union will meet with the airline in another round of mediated sessions beginning on Monday, Mayo said.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge can rule as early as June 22 on whether the airline can void the contracts with the unions, Mayo said.

An American Airlines spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The airline has said it needs $1.25 billion in annual labor concessions.

The lead negotiator for AMR Corp's pilot union last month testified that a merger between American and US Airways could save $130 million per year in cuts to the airline pilots' union. "I firmly believe a merger is the right move for this company," APFA President Laura Glading said in Friday's statement. "Our airline needs a network that can grow and compete with United and Delta. A strong company will provide more job security than even the best agreement American can offer as a standalone."

(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (3)
ELH_HUN10 wrote:
AA has declared bankruptcy, past tense. The stewardesses are betting on a favorable roll of the dice that is unlikely. Snake eyes are just as a likely occurence as two sixes. There is going to be a lot of union stewardesses out of work. That is a shame as they make flying enjoyable. They can’t kill the golden goose for its eggs, that has already been done. All they can hope for is, if the reborn company, after bankruptcy, is still a passenger airline. Freight airlines still need pilots. Why merge with another company when they can buy the airplanes for salvage value later? Getting trained and experienced stewardesses is easy when there is a lot of them out of work. That is sad.

Jun 02, 2012 3:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mulholland wrote:
Minimum wage is fair for a table waiter.

Jun 02, 2012 5:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Tom2d2 wrote:
Wow, stewardesses and table waiters, AMR should be able to bully a union like that into any contract they want. But, AMR is the one over a barrel. They can’t exit bankruptcy without signed contracts. When their exclusivity comes to an end in September USAir and TPG will step in and the bankruptcy judge will not be able to deny them. Then the executives who have run American Airlines into the ground will be out on the street. Those “stewardesses and table waiters” will be having the last laugh on AMR execs.

Jun 02, 2012 9:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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