American Air pilots' union prepares for strike vote

Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:59pm EDT

Aug 22 (Reuters) - The union representing pilots at American Airlines said on Wednesday it was making preparations to call a strike vote should the carrier implement new work terms on its members.

The move comes days after American Airlines parent AMR again asked a U.S. Bankruptcy court to void its collective bargaining agreements with the Allied Pilots Association union. A hearing on the motion has been set for Sept. 4.

Should a bankruptcy judge allow the carrier to scrap its current contracts with the union, American could implement new work terms. The pilots' union on Wednesday said its board approved motions directing its officers to prepare to take a strike poll and conduct electronic balloting of members should AMR impose harsher work terms.

American, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in November, said in a statement on Wednesday that any job action by the union, which rejected a last and best offer from the carrier on Aug. 8, would run afoul of the law.

"Any form of job action by pilots would be unlawful, either before or after a decision by the court on the company's motion," the airline said.

The pilots are the only major work group at American that has not agreed on a contract offer with concessions since the carrier filed for bankruptcy. AMR has said it needs to save $1.06 billion in overall labor costs per year as it looks to exit bankruptcy.

"The situation we find ourselves in is a result of a democratic process through which our pilots rejected the tentative agreement American had reached with APA's leadership," American said in its statement. American said it would continue to work toward an agreement with the pilots.