American Airlines pilots are in for quite a fight Tuesday afternoon. Their union, the Allied Pilots Association, is battling in bankruptcy court to keep their contracts and fears the judge’s ruling won’t be in their favor.
“This is a potentially dark day,” said First Officer Tom Hoban, with the Allied Pilots Association.
This is the day in court the APA has been dreading. A judge could toss out the contracts for American Airlines pilots in the company’s bankruptcy restructuring process.
“They intend to put our contract in the shredder,” said Hoban.
In court two weeks ago, the judge sided with almost all of parent company AMR’s arguments and agreed that major labor cuts are needed for the company to emerge as a profitable airline. But, the judge did say American was overreaching on two issues: furloughs and the outsourcing of jobs.
The company says they’ve now made the changes the judge requested.
“This process is designed to level the playing field. This corporation simply wants to bury us under the playing field,” said Hoban.
If the bankruptcy court judge in New York rules in American’s favor, it paves the way for some $370 million in cuts that are expected to happen right away.
“A reduction in pay, you’re working more days per month for less money, your health care is going to triple, they’ve said they’re not going to fund our follow-on retirement plan. It’s a very Draconian prospect if they’re going to follow through with it,” said Hoban.
Right now, the pilots stand alone in their fight against the company. They’re the last of the unions not to take a deal. The flight attendants and ground workers already reached a compromise.
Now, the pilots can’t legally strike with the bankruptcy process under way.
Workers are still hoping for a merger with US Airways.
“They’re probably not going to waste time inflicting some pain here. We’re fully prepared for the worst case scenario,” said Hoban.
The judge could make a decision at the end of the hearing, or as in the past, issue a written ruling in the coming days.
NBC 5’s Scott Gordon is in New York.You can look for his updates all day on Twitter by following him at ScottGordonNBC5.