American Airlines, pilots far apart on new contract


DALLAS — American Airlines’ chief financial officer admits his company and its pilots’ union are “far apart” on a new labor contract.

American argues that its labor costs are higher than for its rivals. CFO Thomas Horton said Tuesday his company wants pilot costs to be “competitive” with other airlines.

“It’s fair to say we are far apart with the pilots’ union,” Horton said at an investor conference in New York.

The pilots’ union at one point proposed pay raises of more than 50 percent to restore their purchasing power to 1992 levels. The company rejected that proposal, and the two sides are currently in negotiations overseen by a federal mediator.

American is also in mediator-led talks with its flight attendants and ground workers.

Flight attendants are scheduled to vote next month on whether to authorize a strike.

Federal law makes it difficult for airline employees to strike. The flight attendants’ union plans to ask mediators next week to declare the talks to be stalemated, which could lead to the start of a 30-day cooling-off period after which the union could strike.

The Transport Workers Union, which represents American’s mechanics, is expected to ask mediators this week to let it begin a cooling-off period.