Wednesday, February 06, 2008

No NMB intervention in American Airlines pilot contract talks for now

Allied Pilots AssnLast month, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing the pilots at American Airlines, requested National Mediation Board (NMB) involvement in the ongoing negotiations for a new pilots' contract. The airline had opposed Federal intervention at this point. Last week the NMB denied the pilots' request, at least for now.

APA announced in a press release that "The NMB informed APA that it has not yet docketed the case or assigned a mediator." APA President, Captain Lloyd Hill expressed disappointment with this decision.
Hill noted that APA presented management with a comprehensive set of contractual proposals late last year. Management then requested a recess in the negotiations of several weeks to study APA’s proposals. Since the parties’ return to the bargaining table weeks ago, Hill described management as being more interested in delaying the bargaining process than in moving forward.

“APA plans to continue negotiating with management in an effort to move beyond the current stalemate,” Hill said. “If that proves unsuccessful during the next few bargaining sessions, we hope that the NMB will immediately docket our case and proffer mediation services.

“We respect the NMB’s view, as stated in its response to APA, that ‘mediation is most productive when the parties have narrowed the issues in direct negotiations.’ However, it appears our negotiations are not following a typical pattern, considering the fact that management has been unresponsive throughout 18 months of bargaining — a process that they chose to initiate,” he said.
Management at American Airlines initiated negotiations with the pilots' union more than 18 months ago by triggering the “early-opener” provision in the pilots’ contract. APA claims the airline's management has not provided any comprehensive proposals to the union throughout the talks.