American Airlines union: Company’s letter, threats further enrage pilots

An American Airlines executive’s threats to discipline pilots over delays and file legal action against its pilots union may poison already heated contract negotiations, a union spokesman said Thursday.

Last week, American’s management contacted the union to ask for talks on a new labor deal, according to the Allied Pilots Association. Then, on Wednesday, executive Denise Lynn wrote a letter to union leaders voicing concern about what she called “mounting evidence that certain pilots are engaging in an unlawful, concerted effort to damage the company.” She cited a number of issues that caused delays, including “unnecessary checks, increased and late-filed maintenance write-ups and “slow taxiing.”

AMR, American’s holding company, filed for bankruptcy in November. It has said the new working conditions imposed on the pilots, including greater use of flights by other airlines and more hours worked by the pilots, are necessary to be competitive with rival airlines such as Delta Air Lines, United Continental and US Airways, which have been through bankruptcy themselves in the past decade. The airline is also proposing to freeze or terminate the pilots’ pension plan and has stopped making contributions to that pension fund. (CNN).