American Airlines pilot union moves toward seeking federal mediation as contract talks drag on

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American Airlines jet parked at LaGuardia International Airport in New York. 
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

American Airlines‘ pilot union is taking steps toward seeking federal mediation in contract negotiations as talks with the country’s largest carrier drag on, according to a note from the labor group.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents some 15,000 American Airlines aviators, said in a message to pilots last week that its board unanimously approved a motion for the union to prepare an application for National Mediation Board intervention in its talks with the company, though it had not filed as of Monday afternoon.

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The union’s potential request that the National Mediation Board intervene comes more than three months after American CEO Robert Isom offered pilots 17% raises in a new contract proposal.

Major pilot groups around the U.S., which also include those at Southwest, United, Delta and FedEx, have struggled to reach agreements as they seek pay increases amid high inflation and better schedules after a rollercoaster pandemic that saw flight hours slashed and then surge.

Several groups have already turned to mediation. Pilots for those carriers have been picketing in recent months.

Compensation and some working conditions are among issues still up in the air with American, APA spokesman Dennis Tajer said.

Alaska Airlines said Monday that its pilots members ratified a new three-year contract, including wage increases of up to 23%, making the Seattle-based airline an outlier among major carriers in reaching an agreement.

American didn’t immediately comment. The carrier reports quarterly results and its demand outlook before the market opens on Thursday.

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