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And, yes, I DO take it personally: American Airlines bankruptcy - the desire “to get out of bankruptcy what you couldn’t get at the table”
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

American Airlines bankruptcy - the desire “to get out of bankruptcy what you couldn’t get at the table”

no surprise here... bankruptcy has become the strategic tool of choice for negating labor contracts, jettisoning employees and kicking pension plans over to the pbgc...

here's some perspective on american airlines recent bankruptcy filing...

American Airlines’ parent company filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, throwing into question the fate of thousands of union members’ jobs, their contracts and an eight year-old partnership agreement under which they’ve made hefty sacrifices. “I was shocked that it happened when it happened…” says Transport Workers Union President James Little. “I thought we could have avoided it.”

Little, whose union represents 26,650 mechanics, technicians, and fleet service workers at American Airline and sibling airline American Eagle, believes “a major motivation” for management was the desire “to get out of bankruptcy what you couldn’t get at the table.”

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, TWU had just reached tentative agreements with American for new contracts in some of its bargaining units that were awaiting ratification by members. Other union members at American were still working without a contract extension agreement four or more years since expiration. Although TWU has been preparing for the possibility of bankruptcy for two years, Little says management never indicated during negotiations that it could be imminent. “We didn’t get any advance notice, except perhaps five minutes before the media knew about it.”

Little suggested that the board of parent company AMR may have made the bankruptcy decision against the recommendation of CEO Gerald Arpey, whose retirement AMR also announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Arpey’s replacement Thomas Horton said that despite a series of achievements, “as we have made clear with increasing urgency in recent weeks, we must address our cost structure, including labor costs, to enable us to capitalize on these foundational strengths and secure our future.” (An American Airlines spokesperson declined a request for comment.)


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