Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
American Airlines flight attendants say they're upset the company wants to cut payroll and pensions to dig itself out of bankruptcy
American Airlines union members showed their anger at proposed cuts by demonstrating at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Tuesday.
The employees marched outside each entrance to Terminal D in protest of American Airlines' plan to make deep cuts in bankruptcy.
"We were frustrated because ... we needed to be heard, and when you have a voice and you take a stand -- if you don't do that, who's going to hear you? Nobody," organizer Lori Bassini said.
American wants to slash 13,000 jobs -- about one in every six -- and make big changes to labor contracts.
"I think the company has to see just how angry, frustrated [and] dismayed all of the workers are by their proposals, how absolutely insulting it is and demoralizing -- absolutely demoralizing," said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
Two of the airline's three unions are already negotiating with the company. The flight attendants start Wednesday.
But many analysts say they fear the unions may not be able to do much better.
"Ultimately, the bottom line is, the bankruptcy judge is going to be the one to make the decision as to how many people are cut and what they pay them," said Denny Kelly, airline industry analyst. "I think the best they can hope for is the bankruptcy judge doesn't cut them any more than American has already cut them."
In a statement, American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks acknowledged that restructuring would be "difficult."
"Every employee group -- unionized, independent, support staff and management -- will be affected," he said. "Our goal is to exit as a growing, profitable company that preserves tens of thousands of jobs."
Union members said they aren't giving up without a fight.
"There's nothing worse than what they've already offered," Glading said. "We have no intentions of accepting what they've already offered, and we do believe that anybody would be more sympathetic than what they put across the table."
American's parent company, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection in November. Labor and benefits cuts are a portion of the company's filed plan to become financially solvent.
|American Airlines Bankruptcy:
Find complete coverage of the American Airlines bankruptcy proceedings, expert analysis and impact to customers and the local economy in our special section. Click here for more.