American Airlines' Flight Attendants and Ground Workers Not Looking at Concessions

Unions representing American Airlines' flight attendants and ground workers say they have no plans to pursue additional concessions, despite a new move by pilots to consider contract changes.

Leaders with American's pilots union decided Wednesday to begin negotiations with the company about concessions that would focus on increasing productivity. The talks would not cover potential cuts in pay or benefits.

"We are not interested in any collective bargaining at this time," said Tommie Hutto-Blake, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents the airline's attendants. Nonetheless, she added, "We're very interested in the long-term viability of our company and protecting our careers."

Officials with the Transport Workers Union, which represents American's mechanics and ground workers, took a similar position.

"I don't believe anything is being discussed that would involve a contract change," spokesman Tim McAninley said.

Union officials representing attendants and ground workers say they are deeply involved in efforts to make Fort Worth-based American more efficient. But they say they have less fat to trim than pilots, whose contract contains extensive work rules that often limit the airline's ability to schedule and manage pilots.

"Our [productivity] gaps are very minimal compared to the pilots," Hutto-Blake said. "So I can understand why they're moving faster on this."

The three unions agreed to a combined $1.6 billion in annual concessions in 2003, which allowed American to dodge a bankruptcy filing.

Most of those savings came from cuts in wages and benefits.

Those contracts are scheduled in expire in 2008.

Shares in American's parent company, AMR Corp. (ticker: AMR), were unchanged in trading Thursday, at $14.19.

Fort Worth Star Telegram


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