Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News
American Airlines union workers take their fight to save jobs to federal bankruptcy court Monday morning.
The battle begins again in bankruptcy court Monday morning as American Airlines pilots continue fighting to keep thousands of jobs while trying to convince a judge not to toss out union contracts.
The company is asking a judge to approve a plan to slash 13,000 jobs in its fight for financial survival. AMR told the bankruptcy court that the company is hemorrhaging money and claims cuts need to be made.
Workers are arguing that the airline is asking employees to sacrifice too much and say American’s plan means a loss of pay, benefits, and a way of life as they’ve known it.
“There’s no way to put lipstick on this pig, it’s very difficult,” said First Officer Tom Hoban, with the Allied Pilots Association.
The APA represents 9,000 American Airlines Pilots. Hoban said the company is trying to make a profit at employee’s expense.
“What they’re doing is simply overreaching. They’re asking more than they need in order to become a competitive, profitable carrier. In a sense, their business plan is based on the backs of pilots and fellow employees,” Hoban said.
That’s one of the arguments attorneys for the pilots will make Monday in federal bankruptcy court in New York.
“We make our case that American doesn’t need to slash as many jobs, cut pay, benefits, slash work rules. Essentially destroying our contract, which represents 60 years of collective bargaining,” Hoban said.
The judge took a two-week break to allow AMR to negotiate with its unions. Now, without any agreements, the hearing move on. Pilots and flight attendants are giving up on the company and looking to US Airways for help. Friday they delivered a no-confidence petition to AMR.
“A merger with US Airways benefits the community, the corporation, and we’re looking at saving thousands of jobs,” Hoban said.
Transport Workers could opt out of the bankruptcy hearing, if they accept American’s “final best” contract offer.
“This is the continuation of the legal process regarding the union contracts and may result in termination of the contracts. Our preference remains in achieving consensual, ratified agreements with our unions in order to transform American into a successful, sustainable profitable company providing tens of thousands of secure, quality jobs,” said American Airlines Spokesperson, Bruce Hicks.
The unions will present their side this week, and the hearing could run into next week.
A judge will make a decision in early June.