American Airlines Pilots’ Union Rejects Holiday Bonus Proposal, Wants ‘Permanent’ Changes

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

A union representing 15,000 pilots who fly for American Airlines this week rejected a proposal that would have bumped pay during the upcoming holidays.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) Board of Directors unanimously voted on Tuesday not to accept the proposal, which centers on offering more pay for flying done around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

The union said the proposal didn’t address ongoing mismanagement issues, which has seen many pilots frustrated with an inability to get to airports to fly planes.

“The problem isn’t the money. It’s the structural issues that create these storms, management storms after the storm,” Capt. Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union, told The Epoch Times. “You can give us a 1,000 percent increase for every trip we fly but if I can’t connect to the airplane or I can’t move my schedule to go get that money and help you out, it doesn’t fix the problem.”

American canceled thousands of flights in late October and early November. Both the airline and the union said the problems stemmed from storms, but union officials said the company should have done a better job fixing the problems in the aftermath of the inclement weather.

“The idea that you just go to the toolbox and you look at the tools and say, ‘forget it, I’m just grabbing the money, let me throw that at them.’ To us, it’s a clear signal that management is out of ideas and is not interested in finding long-term solutions. And that’s not something we’re going to accept,” Tajer said. “We’re going to continue to try to tell them, encourage them, and leverage them to take care of our passengers, help us take care of our passengers, especially when the weather hits.”

Still, “time is running out,” he added, and American hasn’t responded to union demands.

The proposal would have made Nov. 23 through Nov. 29 and Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, 2022, peak periods. Pilots working any day during those periods would receive an “incentive rate” of 50 percent more than normal. On special flights deemed premium, the bonus could add up to 100 percent more than normal.

Two American officials, Kimball Stone and Chip Long, told pilots in a memorandum obtained by The Epoch Times that they offered the holiday bonus pay without seeking anything in return.

“We are, of course, disappointed, especially since we have holiday pay programs in place for all other frontline groups at the company,” they said. “But we will continue to look for opportunities to work with APA to support you during the holidays, as well as explore our options to maximize availability of existing premiums under the JCBA,” or exiting collective bargaining agreement.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.