The pilots of American Eagle voted on Monday to ratify a tentative agreement reached last month between their Air Line Pilots Association bargaining committee and airline management. Seventy percent of participating pilots voted in favor of the agreement. Of the airline’s some 3,000 pilots, 85 percent cast ballots.
The eight-year deal contains a provision calling for a round of renegotiation after four years. It calls for pilots to forego raises this coming January and in 2014, then resume normal pay adjustments thereafter. However, it also contains a new salary formula tied to work longevity and seniority rather than equipment type, explained Dave Ryter, vice chairman of ALPA’s American Eagle master executive council. “The result is that since pilots no longer have to chase equipment for pay raises, the cost of training should reduce significantly,” Ryter told AIN.
The pilots also accepted a temporary reduction in per diem and in pay for deadhead flights, but, according to Ryter, “most of the cost savings are generated by creative solutions taken from a complete re-evaluation of how we do business.”
“We realized that there were areas of our contract that can be done more efficiently, resulting in cost savings to management but with no impact on pilot quality of life,” he said.
The contract also changes the system for accruing sick and vacation time to an hour-for-hour system of personal time off designed to save the company “millions of dollars.”
The deal marks the latest in a series of contract resolutions reached by bankrupt parent company AMR and the employee groups of American Airlines and American Eagle. By August 8 all seven of American’s Transport Workers Union work groups had ratified tentative agreements with management and on August 19 the major airline’s flight attendants followed suit.
Last month American Eagle’s flight attendants accepted their own concessionary deal.
American Airlines’ pilots, represented by the Allied Pilots Association, returned to the bargaining table just last week, more than a month after a bankruptcy court judge ruled that the company may void their contract.