Pilots at American Airlines and US Airways have voted to approve a new joint contract.
The vote was 66% to 34%, with 94% of pilots voting, according to a tweet posted by the Allied Pilots Association.
As a result of passage, the combined carriers’ 15,000 pilots will immediately receive 23% pay raises retroactive to Dec. 1 — likely a major factor in assuring a “yes” vote even though a couple of contract clauses, particularly one involving “duty rigs” for multi-day trips and another allocating tax payments for high health care premiums heavily taxed under the Affordable Care Act, troubled many pilots.
A year ago, the pay for an A320 captain at top scale was $125 an hour. Now it is $181 an hour. Under the new contract, it will be $228 an hour.
The “yes” vote means that the former America West management team headed by Doug Parker and Scott Kirby, which took over at US Airways in 2005 and at American in 2013, has managed to secure joint contracts among American/US Airways flight attendants just 13 months after the merger of the two airlines.
The team took the tact that it would seek “labor friendly” contracts, partially in recognition of support from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Allied Pilots Association as it battled the previous American management team to take over the carrier in bankruptcy court.
“The pilots evaluated the company’s proposal and voted to accept management’s offer of industry-leading pay rates with about a 23% increase, industry leading retirement benefits, and other modest contract improvements,” said a veteran Charlotte-based US Airways captain who asked not to be named. “The ratified contract provides us with about $1.7 billion in additional pay and benefits in exchange for a small number of contract modifications that are industry standard.
“If we had voted ‘no’ our current agreement requires us to participate in a cost-neutral arbitration that is designed to integrate American and US Airways’ pilot work rules with no economic improvements permitted to our current contract,” the pilot said.
“Not only would we have lost the increased pay, retirement, and the other improvements, we would have also lost the company’s home based time scheduling offer (which) could create up to 382 more premium pay pilot positions and gives us an additional $127 million per year in pay and retirement contributions,” he said.