American Airlines pilots ponder possible job action

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by JASON WHITELY

WFAA

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 12:18 AM

DALLAS — The pilots union for American Airlines ratcheted up the rhetoric on Wednesday afternoon.

The Board of Directors for the Allied Pilots Association told national officers to get ready for a strike vote.

"Well, this is really a shot across the bow," said Tom Hoban, Allied Pilots Association. "It's the first step the leadership takes in order to prepare the union for the possibility of a strike."

Pilots are the only labor group that have not reached a new contract with American Airlines during its bankruptcy saga.

Pilots overwhelmingly rejected American's final offer this month.

So the airline said it would return to court and ask a judge to cancel their contract.

Pilots said if their contract is canceled, the union will then ask its 8,000 pilots whether they want to strike.

"We've got 8,000 pilots who've simply had enough and they're not going to take it anymore," Hoban added. "When management takes the contract, which is the underpinning of our profession, and says 'We're going to put it to the torch,' it's going to provoke a visceral reaction to this pilot's group."

In a statement from American Airlines, the carrier said that 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 pilots would need permission from the National Mediation Board before they could legally strike.

Pilots said this is the first time they made this move since 1997.

Down the hall from where the APA was talking to reporters, senior leaders of the union were in a face-to-face meeting with USAirways CEO Doug Parker and two other executives.

Both sides continue talking about ways to merge with American.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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