Posted by: pizzainmotion | March 15, 2012

American Still Fighting With Unions

Really shouldn’t be a  surprise, but this Bloomberg article details the continuing struggles by American to resolve their labor issues so they can move on with the rest of their bankruptcy reorganization.

American has been negotiating with some of it’s unions for 5 years now, and the relationship appears effectively to be poisoned.  But, I really thought (naively, it seems) that American changing it’s position on pensions and agreeing to freeze them instead of terminating the plans would make a difference in the discussion.

Instead, the unions are now asking AA to do things they’re essentially not even allowed to do in bankruptcy:

“What they’re asking for is pretty extraordinary,” said Richard L. Wyatt, a partner at Hunton & Williams in Washington who has represented major airlines in collective bargaining disputes. “The NMB doesn’t have that power. American is, for better or worse, under supervision of the bankruptcy court. I can’t imagine they’d agree to this and basically take it out of court oversight.”

Anyway, it seems inevitable now that a judge will have to impose new terms on the unions.  I can’t imagine that the unions will get a better deal from the judge than they would from negotiating in good faith with American.  But, I thought they wouldn’t get a better deal in bankruptcy than they would by sitting at the table with American 6 months ago and hammering something out.  Now that it appears a lock that the unions get a worse deal, I suspect they’ll continue to file lawsuits to try to alter the process.  Not sure if that will be successful or not.

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