ALPA and American Eagle reach agreement in principle

Washington DC
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The Air Line Pilots Association has reached an agreement in principle (AIP) with American Eagle Airlines for a new labour contract for the regional carrier's pilots.

"This agreement in principle represents another significant step forward in the successful restructuring of our company," says American Eagle in a statement. The airline confirms that ALPA's negotiating teams met for seven days with the carrier to discuss changes to the pilot contract.

The AIP will include several changes to the latest proposed term sheet that American Eagle sent to its pilots union on 13 July, which detailed the carrier's plan for modifications to ALPA's existing collective bargaining agreement under its section 1113 bankruptcy restructuring proposal.

According to a letter sent by Tony Gutierrez, ALPA's master executive council chairman for American Eagle, the AIP does not include pay rate cuts, "longevity reductions" or reductions in 401(k) retirement contributions. These principles would have to be included in the full contract language for ALPA's negotiation committee to accept.

American Eagle declines to comment on the details of the AIP at this stage in the negotiating process.

American Eagle's latest term sheet upheld a 5% pay cut for American Eagle captains, which had been a contentious issue with ALPA throughout the negotiation process when it appeared on an original version of the term sheet in March. In the latest version, the airline had added that the captains would receive a 3% increase in base pay in three years and another 1% in four years. However, this 5% pay cut does not appear in the agreement in principle, says ALPA.

The union says this full contract language will likely take at least two weeks to finalise, and then the union's negotiation committee will look over the contract to make sure it represents the AIP. The committee is made up of four members, plus the chairman, vice chairman and secretary treasurer of the master executive council.

When the negotiating committee approves the full contract language, the 13 voting members of American Eagle's master executive council will vote to approve the contract. It is only after that stage when the about 2,500 American Eagle pilots will have their chance to ratify the agreement, says ALPA.