The American Eagle pilots union has shot down a contract deal with the newly restructured American Airlines Group — a move that could mean an end to the regional carrier.
The American Eagle Master Executive Council (MEC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, voted Wednesday to reject a negotiated agreement with AAG without sending it to members for a vote.
According to representatives for the union, the rejected contract would have added 60 larger, 76-seat regional jets to the American Eagle fleet in exchange for concessions in pilots' pay and working conditions.
"The vote today was about the future of our pilots' pay and working conditions," said Capt. William Sprague, chairman of the Eagle MEC. "Eagle pilots ratified a concessionary agreement during AMR's bankruptcy in 2012, but our management wanted to re-engage us for additional concessions a mere 10 days after AAG exited bankruptcy."
Union reps said American Airlines Group negotiators insisted that a "no" to this contract would mean the airline scaled down operations on the regional carrier.
"Company representatives made it clear during these negotiations that, should the agreement be rejected, AAG will place additional aircraft with other carriers, closing the door on additional opportunities for the Eagle pilots. The Eagle MEC will explore all options in the coming weeks to advance the interests of Eagle pilots," Sprague said. "We will now begin the process of assisting our pilots in identifying alternative career options within the industry."
American Airlines Group representatives have not yet responded to NBC 5's call for comment.
American has tried unsuccessfully to sell Eagle in recent years, and it began outsourcing some of its regional flying to other companies such as SkyWest Inc. to reduce costs.
As of December, Eagle had about 12,600 full-time and part-time employees, compared to about 63,000 at American.
NBC 5's Kendra Lyn contributed to this report.