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President of Pilot Union Lambastes American Airlines for Poor Employee Relations

American’s pilot union leader says the legacy carrier is operating “on the cheap.” 

American Airlines (AA) pilots’ union Allied Pilots Association (APA) said Saturday the airline is operating “on the cheap” and ranked its employee relations lower than competitors Delta Air Lines (DL) or United Airlines (UA), Forbes reported Monday.

APA President Keith Wilson sent a letter titled “Going for the Bronze?” to American’s 15,000 pilots Saturday.

The letter, an excerpt of which was published by Forbes, listed the following complaints: “industry-trailing total compensation (including United Airlines, whose pilots just inked a two-year contract extension); fatiguing and low quality of life trips; degraded hotels; paycheck miscalculations; {pilot scheduling} (and) obsession with D-zero door slamming on all customers and non-rev passengers under heavy threat of discipline for non-compliance.”

Wilson’s letter also said vacation scheduling software and paycheck software mishaps resulted in checks that understated earnings and errantly withheld income tax and 401(k) contributions.

American and US Airways contracts have been in dispute for years. One recent effect: US Airways pilots not being paid for weather-related cancellations though their American counterparts are.

“We have all witnessed a culture gone awry,” Wilson said in the letter.

American told Forbes that problems will be resolved when the airline’s new flight operating system is implemented this fall.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the APA is the certified collective bargaining agent pilots who fly for American. Founded in 1963, it is the largest independent pilots’ union in the world.

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[Photo: Tim Boyle/Newsmakers]

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