The union that represents American Airlines pilots has filed a labor grievance against the carrier accusing the company of violating fatigue risk management policies.
Dan Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, wrote in a letter sent by the association that Fort Worth-based American is putting passengers and employees at risk by ignoring rules to keep tired pilots from flying.
The violations “are ongoing, relate directly to safety and pose a risk of massive, imminent, and irreparable harm and/or death of employees, passengers, and on-the-ground personnel,” Carey wrote.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller issued a statement calling safety “the cornerstone of all we do at American.”
“It is the first consideration in every decision we make, and it is the responsibility of each of our 120,000 team members,” Miller said. “We have a strong partnership with the APA and our work with them includes a robust process to resolve issues that are important to our pilots and important to American. We will work within the process we have in place to engage in a dialogue with APA to understand the concerns raised."
Carey’s letter says American should stop giving or threatening to give missed assignment designations to pilots who say they are too tired to fly according to federal regulations.
Last month, the board of the Allied Pilots Association passed a no-confidence vote in Chairman and CEO Doug Parker, claiming American’s management has failed to implement the pilots’ contract signed in 2015 and is dragging its feet on pilot pay and other issues.
The vote against Parker came after his decision to skip an industry meeting with President Donald Trump and instead attend a major employee leadership conference in Dallas on the same date.
“For our airline’s CEO to say ‘no thanks’ to President Trump flat-out amazes me,” Carey said in a statement at that time.
The pilots association in November called a news conference to announce that they won’t wait until 2020, when the union’s current contract becomes amendable, to correct what they see as a large pay gap compared to what Southwest, Delta and United airline pilots receive.
American Airlines pilots have fallen far behind their peers at other airlines in pay rates, profit sharing and pensions, Carey said at the November news briefing.
The company countered that, since the close of American's merger with U.S. Airways, the airline's pilots have seen an average pay raise of 53 percent. A pilot at American was making, on average, $129,000 in 2013. They are now making an average of $200,000, according to the company.