Had Backed AA Contract Rejected By The Rank And File
After 61 percent of the Allied Pilots Association members voted against a tentative contract agreement with American Airlines, the union's president, Capt. Tony Bates (pictured), tendered his resignation at the request of the union's board. 2,935 pilots voted for the tentative agreement, and 4,600 pilots voted against.
Bates had supported the contract, which he described as the best deal available to the pilots given the airline's current financial difficulties. American's parent company, AMR Corp, is in the process of restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws.
In a message to union members posted on the APA website, Bates said "I did not take this action lightly, but based my decision on the conviction that it would be best for our union and the pilots we represent. Although I believe that ratifying the tentative agreement would have been the best course for our pilot group, the majority of our pilots signaled their preference for taking a different path. Given these circumstances, I concluded that continuing to serve as your president was not in the interests of the pilots I have been charged with representing."
Bloomberg Business Week reports that the rejection of the contract means that a bankruptcy judge will determine next Wednesday if American can impose the terms of an April agreement on the carrier's pilots which includes a smaller pay increase does not offer pilots stock in the company. The pilots would have owned 13.5 percent of the airline under the rejected contract. American flight attendants are still voting on their tentative agreement, with ballots due to be counted August 19th.
The APA has named Capt. Keith Wilson to serve out the remainder of Bates' term, which runs through June 2013. Wilson is a 777 pilot based at LaGuardia airport in New York City. Captain Wilson’s prior APA experience includes serving three terms as DCA Domicile Vice Chairman. He has also served as a member of the APA Negotiating Committee, Benefits Review and Appeals Board and Financial Audit Committee.