Hundreds of American Airlines employees demonstrated Thursday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport demanding pay raises.
Employees say executives continue to draw stock option bonuses at the expense of union workers.
Union leaders say they were promised future restoration of 2003 pay cuts that were accepted by workers to save the company from bankruptcy, but that promises have not been kept.
“If I’ve got two kids, and I’m going to buy them ice cream, I don’t get one kid a cone and let the other watch him eat,” said Anthony Noviello, vice president of the Transport Workers Union Local 513. “Bottom line is, you’ve got a frustrated workforce.”
The Transport Workers Union organized the demonstration at Terminal D. Pilots and flight attendants also joined the picket line.
“We have a very disparate treatment between employees and executives," said Captain Lloyd Hill, president of the Allied Pilots Association, of American Airlines management. “They have no conscience whatsoever. Today, as they take a bonus, no matter how large or small, it’s very disparate from what they want for the employees. They want concessions. We must continue to take concessions."
AA spokeswoman Missy Latham said in a statement that the company has not paid bonuses since 2001. Some executives receive stock compensation based on the market for similar jobs in the industry, the statement said.
“All employees, including management employees, should be compensated at market rates,” the statement said. “There is ample data that shows our executive team is paid near the median of the market compared to our peers.”
Latham said that the company is working to improve total employee compensation while improving the company’s competitive position and long-term future at the same time.
But workers at the protest said the company statement did not persuade them.
“It’s time for them to really consider our needs,” said TWU member Dana McCullough.
The Transport Workers Union and the union representing American Airlines flight attendants have both asked to be allowed to exit mediation with the company, a step toward a possible strike. Both unions claim contract negotiation have reached an impasse, which the company disputes.
The National Mediation Board is still reviewing that request. It also has scheduled additional talks between the airline and the two unions, American said Wednesday.