American Airlines pilots union calls strike authorization vote as contract talks continue

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Pilots talk as they look at the tail of an American Airlines aircraft.
Mike Stone | Reuters

The American Airlines pilots union, the Allied Pilots Association, plans to vote in April on whether to allow members to call a strike as talks for a new labor contract continue.

The vote notice comes two days after American Airlines CEO Robert Isom said the carrier is prepared to raise pilot pay to match compensation at rival Delta Air Lines, whose pilots approved their new contract March 1.

“While our Negotiating Committee reports good progress, we remain steadfast and focused that now is the time to reach an agreement with American Airlines,” the APA said Thursday. “APA must also ensure it utilizes all its legal processes for contract resolution and improvement.”

Delta’s pilots are getting 34% raises in the new four-year deal, alongside other improvements. They had approved a strike authorization vote in the fall, about a month before reaching a preliminary deal with the company.

Even if the APA called a strike it would not be immediate. Airline strikes are extremely rare in the U.S. and would follow a lengthy process involving federal mediators.

“We look forward to reaching an agreement with APA quickly so that American’s pilots can benefit from meaningful enhancements to their pay and quality of life,” the airline said in a statement.

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