The union that represents American Airlines (AA) pilots, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), announced that it authorized a strike vote against the national carrier.
The news from the APA comes despite the announcement by American Airlines CEO Robert Isom last week that the airline was prepared to match rival Delta Air Lines' recent pilot wage increase and provide the same profit-sharing formula.
APA's strike vote authorization
Last week, the Board of Directors reaffirmed a message from President CA Ed Sicher and Vice President CA Chris Torres. The board unanimously voted to employ the total resources of the APA to open a strike center and conduct a membership strike authorization vote.
The Allied Pilots Association plans to establish a strike center immediately and conduct a strike authorization vote in April. The vote will be concluded on April 30. The APA said in a statement;
"While our Negotiating Committee reports good progress, we remain steadfast and focused that now is the time to reach an agreement with American Airlines. Management must understand that they need to demonstrate the same level of commitment to bargaining that other airline management teams have shown in recent months. APA must also ensure it utilizes all its legal processes for contract resolution and improvement."
The association is cautiously optimistic about management's commitments and presence at the table. The APA remains committed to reaching an agreement with American Airlines management soon but reminds its pilots to understand that "actions speak louder than words" and must prepare for any eventuality.
Simple Flying contacted American Airlines, who provided us with an update on the negotiations. AA said that there is no imminent plan for a strike and added;
"We look forward to reaching an agreement with APA quickly so that American pilots can benefit from meaningful enhancements to their pay and quality of life. We believe a deal is within reach and be negotiated expeditiously."
American's plans to match the Delta deal
Delta's pilots recently ratified a new four-year deal that is unprecedented in the history of collective bargaining. It's a deal that profoundly changes the economics of a Delta pilot's career and many more. The deal will determine compensation, benefits, and quality of life for pilots across the industry.
American Airlines CEO said that the airline is prepared to match Delta's pay rates and provide American pilots with the same profit-sharing formula as Delta pilots. AA's pilots would receive pay increases of, on average, 21% in the first year of the new contract, resulting in a much richer profit-sharing program.
On average, the total pay increase for pilots is 40% in the fourth year of the deal. By factoring salaries and contributions, a renowned narrowbody captain would make $475,000 a year or $135,000 more than they are earning today. A top-rated widebody captain would earn $590,000 a year, which is $170,000 more than they earn today.
Robert Isom added that this is not just about Delta pay; it's about making sure this works for American's pilots. It would result in significant improvements to scheduling-related and quality-of-life items. A deal like this would be a game-changer for AA pilots, and the airline wants them to have the quality of life and benefits that matter most to them.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying