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American Wants To Speed Up Contract Talks With Pilots in "Super Negotiations"

Date: January 11, 2022

By Bloomberg Wire

American Airlines Group Inc. and its pilots will seek to reach a short-term contract agreement through a “super negotiations” strategy of accelerated talks starting this month.

The two sides will meet five days a week for one month starting Jan. 17, the Allied Pilots Association union told its members. The negotiations will focus on scheduling and compensation in hopes of quickly reaching a contract of two years or less duration, union spokesman Dennis Tajer said Friday.

“Post-pandemic, this is the best thing to do,” he said. “Time is your enemy, particularly in negotiations.”

American on Friday confirmed the decision to accelerate talks, saying its negotiating team will work full-time toward a contract.

“We have made meaningful progress recently and are discussing proposals that would deliver pay raises, enhanced profit sharing and benefits, and significant quality of life improvements to the pilots of American Airlines,” the carrier said in a note to pilots last month.

The new negotiating strategy is being used, in part, because compensation for American pilots lags that of competitors, the union said. The organization also hopes to reach an agreement on new scheduling rules.

Airline union contracts don’t expire under the Railway Labor Act, a federal law governing labor-management relations. Instead, they have an “amendable date,” and the current agreement remains in effect until a replacement is negotiated and approved by union members. The law is designed to avoid interruption of airline service except in rare cases when strikes are permitted.

American and APA began talks in January 2019, a year ahead of their contract’s amendable date, and have been in negotiations off and on for three years.

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