Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
The pilots union's board will vote on American Airlines' "best and final offer" as the airline's bankruptcy proceedings continue.
The Allied Pilots Association board is meeting this week to review the company's "best and final offer."
The union said it is working to put what APA leaders call "drafts and concepts" into actual contractual language.
"Now they're trying to see whether they can fine-tune that and get it into a position where they can present it to the union as a whole to vote on, whether they'll accept it or not," said Kent Krause, Dallas aviation attorney.
Pilots are racing against the clock.
Twelve weeks ago, Fort Worth-based American Airlines asked a federal bankruptcy judge to throw out the company's current labor agreements, saying it could not successfully reorganize with the agreements in place.
"It's the biggest, probably the biggest, reason American filed for bankruptcy is to deal with the labor contracts," Krause said.
The judge's ruling is expected Friday.
The APA board is expected to vote late Wednesday on the offer.
If board members accept it, the pilots union will then ask the judge to hold off on his decision, giving their union members five weeks to vote on the tentative agreement.
"[The judge] may have already made his decision, but he'll certainly delay the issuing of that and allow the parties to reach a mutual resolution," Krause said.
Union leaders from American Airlines appeared with the president and CEO of US Airways at a meeting with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Monday afternoon.
"This is just part of our continuing ongoing effort to support a merger, ultimately a merger with US Airways for American Airlines," said Scott Shankland, Allied Pilots Association secretary-treasurer.
Flight attendants and two groups of the Transport Workers Union that did not reach an agreement with American are bracing for the judge's ruling, even as they hold out hope for a possible merger with US Airways.
"The court's going to most likely reject the contracts and allow American to do that and so they're going to be back to square one and renegotiate," Krause said.
If the current agreements rejected, American would be in the driver's seat at the negotiating table.