Tentative Deal for American Eagle, Union

After four years of negotiating, American Eagle and its flight attendants reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a new labor contract.

Details on the proposed deal were not available late Wednesday, but Derrick Ricketts, a spokesman for the Association of Flight Attendants, said the contract included raises and improvements to scheduling, two items labor leaders had long pursued.

The tentative contract must now be approved by the union's master executive council, and then by members. If ratified, Eagle will have reached new contracts with all five of its unions during the past year.

"This accomplishment is reflective of the value Eagle places on working together to achieve long-term success for our people and our company," said Peter Bowler, Eagle's president, in a prepared statement.

Eagle is the regional affiliate of American Airlines. Both carriers are owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. In recent years, Eagle has grown substantially as it added more than 200 jets to its fleet.

"We're glad we finally have something on paper," said Reggie Salas, president of the union's Master Executive Council. "At this point, it's up to our council to decide whether it's something we want to send to the membership."

The agreement comes just weeks after union leaders had threatened to disrupt the airline's operations with random, unannounced strikes. Those actions were never taken, and union and airline officials said late Wednesday that negotiators had reached a proposed deal.

Eagle attendants are paid far less than their counterparts at American Airlines and are represented by a different union. Like Eagle pilots, flight attendants at the airline were not asked for concessions in 2003.

Their higher-paid counterparts at American Airlines accepted wage and benefit cuts averaging 26 percent that year.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press