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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

American Airlines union seeks a 20% salary raise for pilots

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According to the new union president Ed Sicher, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents up to 15,000 pilots for American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), is asking for a 20.4% wage raise over a three-year period.

Sicher claimed in an interview with Forbes that the airline has “been working my pilots crazy” and that in addition to the salary increase, the union is pushing for better flight scheduling for its pilots.

“If it’s less than 20%, I don’t think our pilots would accept it,” said Boeing 737 Captain Sicher, who took the APA role in July 2022.

This information follows an earlier announcement from American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), which made a new pay proposal for its pilots in late June 2022. That proposal includes a basic pay raise of 17% as well as other improved payments.

The company’s pilots were given base pay increases of 16.9% through 2024, as well as increases to numerous other pay components like per diem and training pay, and a 50% premium on all reassignments, including reserves, in the prior offer, according to CEO Robert Isom.

Sicher, however, told Forbes that he believes AA would accept its proposal for a 20.4% pay raise, pointing out that it is in management’s best interest to reach an agreement within the next 30 to 60 days in order to establish dependable scheduling before the fall and winter holiday seasons.

Sicher emphasized how the discussions at rival airline United, whose pilots had been promised a 14.5% raise, had been stymied by the negotiations with American Airlines (A1G) (AAL). Due to a lack of pilots, US airlines are battling for the flying crew.

The airlines “all keep looking at each other,” Sicher said. “Nobody wants to be first. If it’s too low you get a backlash.”

The APA’s proposal includes retroactive pay, which Sicher claims has continued to be a problem, as well as a 10% hike in the first year and a 5% annual raise in the following two years.

One of the main problems the airline’s widebody and narrowbody pilots have encountered is tight scheduling amid a quick industry ramp-up and lower staffing levels, according to Sicher.

“It’s chaos,” emphasizes Sicher who says that pilots often must deal with rescheduling from the airline.

Primarily, pilots operating to Charlotte experience consistent reassignments, says Sicher describing the situation as “musical first officers.”

“In Charlotte, it’s 50/50 I will leave with the same first officer I came with,” he was quoted as saying.

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