Posted on

American Airlines pilots voted this week to authorize their union to call a strike as contract talks with the airline continue.

Support for the authorization was overwhelming. With 96% of Allied Pilots Association members participating, 99% voted to let the union call a strike. The vote doesn’t mean the union will call a strike immediately, or that it will at all. At the very least, a call for a strike would have to be approved by the National Mediation Board first.

As contract talks dragged, APA called for a strike authorization vote in March.

Capt. Ed Sicher, APA president, said in a statement after the vote, “Today marks a proud milestone in our pilot group’s unity and resolve and an important step on our path to securing the contract we have earned and deserve, one that prevents management from operating at a discount to our competitors and includes our ‘must have’ quality of life priorities.”

American Airlines representatives say contract negotiations are expected to finish soon, with only a few issues left to iron out.

“We remain confident that an agreement for our pilots is within reach and can be finalized quickly,” the company said in a statement. “The finish line is in sight.”

Every airline in negotiations has to reckon with the contract Delta Airlines’ pilots reached earlier this year. The Delta contract gave pilots 34% raises over four years and other quality-of-life improvements.

According to one potential four-year deal, American Airlines pilots would make up to $590,000 a year flying wide-body planes and $475,000 flying narrow-body planes, along with increased contributions to 401(k)s. Currently, wide-body pilots make $420,000 a year and narrow-body pilots earn $340,000.

The vote comes as workers across the airline industry negotiate for better contracts and working conditions. Southwest and United Airlines have both dealt with difficult contract talks as pilots seek better pay, benefits and reliable work schedules to deal with a post-pandemic travel surge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *