With virtually all of the pilots participating in the vote, the union has approved the contract offer from management by a margin of almost 2:1.
Initial reaction from the union after receiving 23% raises immediately, retroactive to December, an additional 3% increase retroactive to January 1 and another 3% next year?
“By voting in favor of the JCBA, our pilots will benefit from higher pay rates. In effect, the pilots of American Airlines made a business decision,” Wilson said in a statement.
“APA will now focus on further engagement with American Airlines management to address ongoing shortcomings in our contract. Our total compensation will still trail industry-leader Delta, while work rules affecting our pilots’ quality of life need meaningful improvement. There’s a lot of work remaining to achieve the industry-leading contract our pilots deserve,” Wilson said.
I understand that everyone wants to make more money. I also understand that other pilots make more money. I still suspect that there are millions of employees in the US who would warmly welcome a guaranteed 3% increase in pay next year, let alone a 23% increase.
This just strikes me as “campaign rhetoric” at a time when, with contract in hand, it’s time for management and employees to work diligently together to complete the monumental task of merger completion.
As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, the pay raises for pilots are meaningful in actual dollars:
Instead, American pilots will receive big raises. For example, a 12-year captain flying American’s biggest planes will receive a 20% raise this year to $284.57 per hour from $236.96. Senior captains generally fly for 82 hours a month, so the new contract increases their annual salary to about $280,000 from $233,170. A four-year first officer flying a narrow-body jet is in line for a 26% increase in hourly pay, to $134.77 from $106.96. On a yearly basis, that first officer’s pay jumps to about $118,000 from $93,700.
Normally, an announcement of this magnitude would be followed by some semblance of labor peace, especially given the recent outcome of flight attendant contract negotiation where they received a decent pay increase even when management wasn’t contractually obligated to do so.
I’m still more than a bit curious how this will turn out. During the time after the America West/US Airways merger, flights operated separately, with “West” crews on certain flights and “East” crews on others because of a lack of an agreement on seniority. In some small (or large) way, that issue still exists. I don’t think it’s likely that the same issues will continue on forever at the new American, but we may still need some more popcorn before this gets put to bed.
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