UPDATE: The contract passed 66% to 34%. Turns out it wasn’t as close as I thought it might be.
Today we will find out whether the pilots for American Airlines have voted to accept a proposed contract between AA and the Allied Pilots Association. Voting has been ongoing for a couple of weeks, and will close today at 9am CST. At a high level, the contract will provide substantial pay raises. Of course, having just enough experience in matters like these from a while back to be dangerous, I think I can confidently say that a contract isn’t just about the money. If you watched the drama surrounding the flight attendant contract unfold, you know that this process is much the same. There is no going back to the table if the contract gets turned down, it goes to arbitration and the value of the contract that arbitration produces has a pre-determined cost outcome.
Could the pilots wind up with the same deal anyway, much like what happened with the F/A situation? Perhaps. I’m going to predict the contract passes by a narrow margin, but won’t be surprised if it doesn’t by the same narrow margin. Whatever happens, this is an important day for American Airlines. Keep your eye on it because I think the outcome of this vote will say a lot about the future.
-MJ, January 30, 2015