American Eagle’s pilots rejected a concessionary contract proposal from management by a wide margin in late March, thereby ending any chance at flying any of the Embraer E175s American Airlines has ordered. Management promised the pilots the right to fly 60 of the 76-seat jets in return for a pay cap on first officers of $38,000 a year after four years, cuts to per diems and higher health-care premiums. As a result of the vote, the airplanes will go to another regional code-share partner, two of which–Republic Airways and SkyWest–have already placed large orders for E175s to fly as American Eagle.
“The Eagle pilots made a clear choice today, and it was not an easy one,” said Bill Sprague, chairman of Alpa’s Eagle unit. “Despite threats from AAG management that they would seek other express carriers to conduct our flying, today’s vote demonstrates that the demands for contract concessions were not acceptable. Today’s vote clearly shows that pilots can, and will, vote against any agreement that is not in their best interests.”
Alpa cited last year’s contract concessions by pilots of $43 million as another reason for the rejection. It added that the pilots haven’t received “meaningful” contractual gains since 2004, when it signed a 16-year contract that effectively ended with American’s bankruptcy.