Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News
Employees from American Airlines picket outside of DFW Airport's Terminal D Monday, protesting the airline petitioning a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to allow them to throw out union contracts.
There’s a lot at stake in a New York courtroom Monday as American Airlines asks a judge to toss out union labor contracts in a fight for financial survival.
Inside the federal courtroom, American’s lawyers said they’ve received total resistance on almost everything and that the company’s proposals are fair.
The Transport Workers Union head said what’s happening in court is disgraceful. The head of the flight attendants add that they’re not going down without a fight.
Union workers are making their voices heard both outside of the bankruptcy hearing in New York and in North Texas.
Flight attendants at DFW began protesting at 11 a.m. Monday outside of Terminal D. They expect the protest, combined with others across the country, to be the company’s largest demonstration ever.
They’re fighting American’s bankruptcy plan to throw out union contracts and cut 13,000 jobs while freezing pensions, changing schedules and making workers pay more for medical benefits.
Employees said they’ve already made deep cuts to help the company.
“We're working paycheck to paycheck at this point, we've given back and sacrificed for our company to remain out of bankruptcy in 2003 and to date we haven't seen the higher echelon of our company do their part and maintain profitability, said APFA International Operations Chair Ted Bedwell.
“It’s not our fault we're in this position. It’s a result of bad management decisions,” said Chris O’Kelley, APFA Domestic-based Chair.
American Airlines Spokesman Bruce Hicks said, “Our goal is to reach consensual agreements with all of our unions. We’ve also been very clear we must act with urgency and address our onerous and uncompetitive labor costs to get American back on the right track and quickly implement our business plan. That’s why we will make our case on the 1113 motions in court this week. Prolonged delay and distractions are not only counterproductive, but risk jobs and livelihoods of thousands of employees. This is the tried and proven, court-supervised process that is specifically designed to guide fair and equitable changes to the collective bargaining agreements that are necessary for a successful reorganization. There are plenty of examples in the airline industry where the 1113 process has facilitated consensual agreements, and we remain ready to meet at any time to consider proposals from the unions that achieve the necessary labor savings and help American successfully emerge from Chapter 11 stronger and more competitive. We understand these are difficult times for everyone. That’s why we want to exit restructuring as quickly as possible so we can concentrate on our future.”
The flight attendants said they’ve halted negotiations for now. The Allied Pilots Association plans to continue talks after this week. TWU continues to negotiate with the airlines. All three unions are now supporting a potential merger with US Airways and believe a merger is the best way to save jobs.
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