I’ve avoided writing about the recent American Airlines pilot slowdown because I don’t have anything to add to the subject that probably hasn’t been better expressed elsewhere. I have, though, followed the events with great interest and I came across an interesting post that I thought I’d share.
Terry Maxon writes about American, the aviation industry, and travel news for the Dallas Morning News Aviation Biz blog. Today he published a letter from an AA pilot asking former AMR CEO Robert Crandall to share his thoughts about the current state of labor relations. He also published Mr. Crandall’s response.
Some of what the pilot writes:
I’m interested in the future of AA. Most specifically, I’m left to wonder if it’s a future which includes me and my colleagues as assets or instead as nameless, faceless liabilities. Thus, I simply ask you the following:
1.) What long term, big picture solution do you see to the challenges which face AA and the Allied Pilots Association?
2.) How can American begin to address our network deficiencies?
And an excerpt from Mr. Crandall response:
The pilots, as you well know, recently voted down the Company’s LBFO (Last Best Final Offer). That proposal, if approved, would have awarded the pilots a generous piece of equity, would have allowed the pilot group a substantial voice in the governance of the new company and did not – so far as I know – impose conditions materially different from those in effect at other major airlines. Thus, I was and remain mystified as to why the pilots – having turned down an agreement materially better than the company’s original proposals, are now angry that alternative proposals are being implemented. Wasn’t that always the clear alternative to approval?
In recent days, the airline has not run well, and it seems clear that is true – in whole or in part – because pilots are expressing their unhappiness in various ways intended to reduce the systems reliability. Such actions (1) are disrespectful of other employees, customers and management, (2) are dismissive of the protocols of dispute resolution, (3) reject any notion of accepting responsibility for the decision to turn down the LBFO and (4) imply that the pilots believe their business judgments about what is and is not competitively sustainable are superior to those of management.
In my opinion, these actions are very ill advised. If the pilots want respect, they must be worthy of it.
You can go here to read both letters in their entirety.