Unions Shocked By American Airlines' Proposed Cuts

American Airlines is looking to cut 13,000 jobs as part of a restructuring. The company — which is in bankruptcy — also wants to reduce costs by 20 percent and end its pension plan.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with big layoffs at American Airlines.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Yesterday, American Airlines announced it wants to eliminate at least 13,000 jobs. The carrier went into bankruptcy last November, and cuts have been expected. But the depth of these proposed cuts has caught workers and unions off-guard, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: American wants to cut its costs by 20 percent, and most of the savings will come at the expense of the company's workers - 400 pilots, 4,600 mechanics, 2,300 flight attendants and 4,000 transport workers would all be cut, and benefits for remaining workers would be significantly scaled back. [POST-BROADCAST CLARIFICATION: This listing of jobs that would be eliminated is not comprehensive.]

Jeff Brundage, senior vice president for Human Resources at American, wrote in a letter to workers: After losing $10 billion over the last 10 years, and financing those losses with debt, we must now prove to our creditors and the court that we can implement significant cost reductions.

For the thousands who will lose their jobs, and the tens of thousands who will suffer having their benefits cut yet again, this is a frightening moment.

James Little is the president of the Transport Workers Union. Nearly 9,000 of his 26,000 workers at American are scheduled to lose their jobs.

JAMES LITTLE: Tremendously shocked by the depth of the cuts they're talking about - not just freezing the pension plan, but the elimination of a pension plan, and the elimination of all retiree medical.

GOODWYN: It's possible that this process will end up in court, but American Airlines must first negotiate.

Wade Goodwyn NPR News, Dallas.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.