American’s unions take issue with CEO’s pay

April 25, 2011

Employee unions at AMR Corp., American Airlines’ parent, weren’t pleased to learn Friday that Chief Executive Gerard Arpey’s 2010 compensation increased 11 percent.

Arpey’s pay of $5.2 million grew mostly due to stock awards and options. The Fort Worth-based carrier lost $471 million in 2010.

American has been in contract negotiations with its pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and fleet services unions for several years and has yet to reach a contract with these work groups.

“With only a few notorious exceptions, no executives of other major U.S. corporations have taken so much in compensation while still experiencing significant losses,” said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “Whatever happened to pay for actual performance?”

Earlier this week, the flight attendants union picketed at several airports including Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, saying it wanted to inform passengers of AMR’s “corporate greed.”

The Transport Workers Union, which represents mechanics, stock clerks and fleet services, plans protests at airports against AMR executives’ compensation.

Union members will hand out luggage tags to passengers in May that have slogans such as “AA Execs Pocket Millions and All I Got Was a Bag Tag.”

“It is very telling that the company released the proxy at night, the evening before what is a long weekend for many,” Garry Drummond, director of the Air Transport Division for the TWU, said. “Despite their every attempt to hide, we will shine a spotlight on this and we will continue to fight for fairness and economic justice for everyone at American and American Eagle.”

TWU mechanics and stock clerks voted down tentative contracts with American last year and have only recently started meeting again with American to negotiate a new contract.

The pilots union, however, had a much milder reaction to AMR’s executive compensation.

“The recent round of management bonuses just reminds us it’s our pilots’ turn and it’s time to get these negotiations wrapped up,” said Gregg Overman, Allied Pilots Association spokesman.

Last summer the APA elected a new president, David Bates, and a leadership team that has had a less aggressive approach to contract negotiations with American than previous officials.

The union has had several bargaining sessions with American this year, with its next meeting scheduled for next week.

BY ANDREA AHLES from Star Telegram – USA

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