Pilots reject contract with American Airlines

DALLAS — Pilots for American Airlines have expressed their anger with management by overwhelmingly rejecting the company’s final contract offer, but the airline’s mechanics approved a contract by a razor-thin margin.

Many pilots hope that American will be forced into a merger with US Airways. Some believe that ratifying the offer from American would have strengthened the position of American’s management and made a merger less likely.

American said Wednesday that it was disappointed with the pilots’ vote. It will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to let it set pay and other working terms for pilots. American and parent company AMR have been in bankruptcy protection since November.

The Allied Pilots Association said that the vote against the contract was 4,600 to 2,935.

American offered the pilots pay raises and a 13.5 percent stake in the new company in exchange for more flexibility to shift flying to partner airlines.

The Transport Workers Union said mechanics voted 50.25 percent to 49.75 percent to accept a contract that gives them 3 percent raises. Maintenance stock clerks ratified their contract by 79 percent to 21 percent.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of today’s APA voting results, as ratification of the pilot tentative agreement would have been an important step forward in our restructuring,” said Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for American parent AMR Corp. He said the company would now wait for a ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane on rejecting the company’s current pilots’ contract so it can “implement the changes necessary to move forward with our restructuring.”

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