Disgruntled Pilots Look to Switch Unions

Published: 10-26-2016
A group of unhappy pilots from American Airlines are looking to make a change.

After seeing pilots at Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines agreeing to tentative deals with better pay and benefits, pilots from American Airlines are looking to make a move.

American pilots are currently represented by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which was founded in 1963 by a group of American pilots who decided leave the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). 53 years later, disgruntled pilots from the APA are urging their union to merge into the ALPA.

While the APA represents 15,000 pilots from American, the ALPA represents over 54,000 pilots from 31 North American airlines. The decision to merge would offer a great number of financial and legal resources to American pilots

“There’s a well-founded belief that APA, as an independent union, underperforms,” said Mitch Vasin, an American first officer based in Phoenix. “It can’t compete with a national union with the resources and political connections and the size of ALPA.”

Although pilots at Delta and Southwest agreed to favorable terms, pilots from United Airlines would also benefit; a provision in United’s labor agreement would increase the pay of their own pilots.

“Our pilot compensation will soon likely rank a distant fifth or sixth in the industry,” APA President Dan Carey told the union board last week. “As the largest pilot group in the world, employed by the most profitable airline in the world, that’s simply unacceptable.”

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