Unhappy with recent developments in their labor contracts, American Airlines pilots are protesting by calling in “sick” and have forced the airline to cancel over 250 flights this week alone, CNN Money reports.
“The pilot’s union had new rules imposed on it by the bankruptcy court after 7,500 pilots last month overwhelmingly rejected the tentative deal that their union, the Allied Pilots Association, had reached with management,” according to the report.
“Members of other unions at American, representing flight attendants and ground workers, have ratified their own concession deals with the airline,” the report adds.
AA isn’t aware of any organized job action by the pilots, according to company spokesman Bruce Hicks. He did, however, admit that there has been a large increase in the number of pilots calling in “sick” and that there has been a suspicious uptick in the number of flight-cancelling maintenance reports being filed by flight crews.
“The airline normally flies about 1,700 flights a day. Statistics from FlightStats.com show American canceled 296 flights from Sunday through Tuesday and another 17 early Wednesday,” CNN Money notes.
“Hicks could not confirm those numbers, but said that airline has already canceled about 250 flights from Tuesday through this coming weekend,” the report adds.
Chairman of the union’s communications team Tom Hoban disputes the claim that there has been an unusually large increase in the number of pilots calling in “sick.”
“This isn’t being organized, supported or sanctioned by the union, period,” he said, adding that American has “declared war” on its pilots. “When you have the type of scrutiny we have right now, you’re going to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.”
The following message was posted to the union’s website by union president Keith Wilson, will do for now:
The pilots of American Airlines are angry. While AMR management continues paying lip service to needing a consensual agreement with us, their punitive approach of extracting far more value than they need is hardly conducive to reaching a consensual agreement.
American filed for bankruptcy in November, 2011, citing a need to restructure labor costs in order to compete with other airlines.
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Front page photo source courtesy the AP.