American Airlines Announces Surprise Raises For Most Employees

Wednesday, December 24th 2014, 3:48 pm
By: Richard Clark

American Airlines announced it's giving 4-percent pay raises to most of its employees, in addition to whatever raises they were already scheduled to get next year.

Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker made the announcement in a letter to employees Tuesday, December 23, 2014 saying the company's performance has surpassed everyone's expectations:

"In celebration of that success, today we are announcing a pay increase of 4 percentage points for represented workgroups with ratified joint contracts and for non-contract employees below the director level. For our flight attendants, this means the contract ratified just last week will now be improved (subject to APFA approval) by another 4 percentage points in pay, bringing hourly rates 7% higher than the flight attendant pay rates at the other large network airlines (Delta or United). 

For groups who have not yet reached ratified joint contracts, they will now see larger increases when those joint ratified contracts are achieved. 

Lastly, for our non-contract team members below manager level (L4 and below), this increase is in addition to a previously announced 6% increase, bringing their total increase to 10%. The flight attendant and non-contract increases will be effective in January 2015 and details are being provided today by departmental leadership."

The company is keen to sign a single contract with both unions that represent its mechanics. 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents the 11,000 mechanics who had worked for US Airways when it merged with American. The Transport Workers Union represents the mechanics who were already with American at the time of the merger, including the bulk of the 5,800 American Airlines employees in Tulsa.

The former US Airways mechanics approved a new contract this year that included a raise. The American Airlines mechanics received a 4.3-percent raise at the completion of the merger. Signing a single, new contract would mean even higher raises for both groups in 2015.

12/16/2014: Related Story: Mechanics Overhaul 737s At American Airlines Tulsa Plant

In the letter Parker sent to all employees except pilots he stated he's opposed to profit-sharing, which is used by other airlines.

"There are many ways to share success, but when it comes to compensation, we believe it is best to reward the 100,000 hard-working team members of American with industry leading wage rates – not lower wages supplemented by compensation that varies with airline profitability," he wrote. 

Parker goes on to say that the increases announced Tuesday "are permanent and certain. They are not dependent on fuel prices remaining low, the global economy remaining strong or pandemics staying out of the news."

News On 6 attempted to contact members of the Transport Workers Union Local 516, which represents the mechanics in Tulsa, but our calls weren't returned. 

Also on Tuesday, Parker sent a separate letter to the pilots' union, saying the company is finished negotiating. That means the pilots can either accept the company's final offer or go into arbitration.

Parker said the company's last offer included pay raises and noted that if the pilots accept it by January 3, 2015, the raises would become effective December 2, 2014.