To diffuse a threat by the carrier to impose stricter terms unilaterally, the leaders of American Airlines’ flight attendants’ union have agreed to allow its members to vote on the company’s latest contract offer. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants’ committee voted unanimously on Thursday to send the plan to members for a vote.
AMR Corp, the parent of American Airlines went bankrupt in November, citing untenable labor costs. Since then it has been involved in unsuccessful negotiations for concessions from its three primary unions. Earlier this year, AMR asked permission of the bankruptcy court to ditch existing labor contracts and impose strict interim terms and conditions unilaterally pending negotiations.
However, Judge Sean Lane, of the U.S Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, has not yet ruled on the request, and if the company can reach consensual deals with the unions then there may be no need to consider the request made by AMR.
Recently, five out of seven union groups of ground workers of AMR accepted a new deal while the other two scheduled to vote on one. Last month the pilots union of AMR also agreed to send a contract to its members to vote.
Last month, the bankruptcy court had postponed ruling on the request made by AMR, deciding to hold off until August 8 to give the pilots union a chance to complete its voting process. However, it is not known whether the court would be holding off until August 19 to allow the flight attendants to cast their votes on the new contract.
AMR spokesman Bruce Hicks said on Friday, “The parties intend to notify the court of the developments with APFA.”
In a letter to members, APFA President Laura Glading said the deal is “far from the agreement wanted,” but it is still a ‘substantial’ improvement over the terms AMR might have imposed otherwise.