American Airlines Sends Pilots a Nasty Letter

Airline accuses pilots of calling in sick to snarl flights

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 28, 2012 6:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – The labor dispute at American Airlines got ugly this week. The carrier accused its pilots of snarling thousands of flights by calling in sick and writing up needless maintenance orders, the LA Times reports. American even threatened a legal injunction if the alleged tactics continue. "We must take appropriate steps to protect the company and the many constituents who depend upon it," wrote an American executive in a letter.

A spokesman for the carrier's 10,000 pilots says negotiations were imminent until the letter arrived "like a bucket of ice water on the process." So talks are on hold, and union leaders plan to meet Tuesday. Meanwhile, the carrier's on-time arrival rate reached 61% this morning, reports Bloomberg—a far cry from its usual 80%. Overall, American plans to reduce labor costs by up to 20%, and pilots say they're worried about rising healthcare costs, outsourcing, and pension cuts, among other issues.

Over 200 American Airline pilots march on a picket line at O'Hare International Airport Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 in Chicago, Ill.
Over 200 American Airline pilots march on a picket line at O'Hare International Airport Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 in Chicago, Ill.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, file photo, over 200 American Airline pilots march on a picket line at O'Hare International Airport, in Chicago.
In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, file photo, over 200 American Airline pilots march on a picket line at O'Hare International Airport, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
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