This week, the company mailed a summary of our contract proposals to each of American’s pilots. As I mentioned in the newsletter, the pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, holds the responsibility for negotiating on behalf of AA pilots. That’s the way it works, and we will not circumvent that process. But it is important that we also take the responsibility to communicate with pilots our view of the state of negotiations and explain the thinking that has gone into the company’s proposals. All of the information we are sharing already has been shared with the APA.
From the beginning of negotiations, our team has presented concrete proposals that we believe are both reasonable and sustainable in our efforts to address pilot contract priorities. We’ve focused on proposals intended to give pilots more control and predictability in the scheduling process, put options on the table to increase the security and value of the pilot retirement B Plan and presented proposals that could increase pilot earnings by as much as 10 percent. We’ve also offered significant job security protections, including a proposal that no pilot would be furloughed as a result of the changes we’ve proposed to the contract.
Along with these improvements for pilots, we’ve asked for some very specific changes to help make the company more efficient and competitive. For example, today, American lags the industry in several key areas. We don’t have as much productivity built into the schedule as our competitors, and it’s constricting our ability to be flexible and competitive in the market. We also have one of the industry’s most restrictive regional jet agreements, as well as restrictive domestic and international codeshare provisions, which hinder our ability to grow our network and increase revenues. The reason why we want to discuss these sections of the contract is simple. If we can strengthen the company and compete on an even playing field with our competitors, we can create better long-term opportunities for our pilots and all other employees.
Having been part of more than 25 industry labor negotiations during my career, I realize that it’s never easy to negotiate contracts in this business. It’s a demanding, time consuming, stressful and complex job for everyone at the bargaining table. But one of the things I’ve learned over the years that can accelerate this process is an open and honest exchange of ideas about how to tackle mutual problems. That is the approach we’re trying to use in all our labor negotiations.
Even though we’ve not made as much progress as we’d like during our negotiations with the APA, our basic approach will not change. We will continue to focus on finding reasonable solutions to our common challenges so we can reach agreement with the APA on a contract that meets the long-term interests of both the company and our pilots.