APFA President Outraged at AMR Executives for Abandoning Pensions
Laura Glading Vows to Hold Management Responsible
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeff Pharr (954) 558-4155
January 19, 2012 (Euless, TX) – Laura Glading, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), reacted to news today that American Airlines’ parent company failed to make its obligatory payment to employee pension plans this month. AMR Corp paid only a scant $6.5 million of the $100 million payment it was scheduled to make. The decision by AMR management threatens to undermine funding for the pension plans that cover over 130,000 American Airlines workers and retirees, including 16,000 active and 4000 retired Flight Attendants.
“I am outraged,” said Glading. “This is further evidence that Tom Horton and his team have their priorities upside down. For years, they awarded themselves millions in bonuses even while they destroyed the company we Flight Attendants worked so hard to build. Now, with a well-publicized $4 billion in cash on hand, they are forgoing their legal obligations to our pension plans. It seems they would rather spend the company’s cash on the lawyers and advisors that will help them try to scuttle our benefits packages. We’ve seen some changes at the top since the Chapter 11 filing, but there has been no change in direction whatsoever.”
Although this week’s non-payment will not necessarily result in a freeze or termination of pension plans, it will certainly have an adverse affect on employee morale. At the outset of the bankruptcy AMR argued in court documents that the mere delay in benefit payments would “irreparably impair the Employees’ morale, dedication, confidence, and cooperation.” The company also recognized that since the employees are the face of American Airlines, their support for the reorganization efforts is critical to its success. Unfortunately, American’s words bear no resemblance to its actions and this decision will have precisely the results the Company claimed only weeks ago it wanted to avoid.
AMR Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 29, 2011. The nine-member unsecured creditors’ committee includes the three major labor unions (APFA, Allied Pilots Association, and Transport Workers Union), the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Co., Boeing Capital Corp., M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust and Bank of New York Mellon.
About APFA – Founded in 1977, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is the largest independent Flight Attendant union in the nation. It represents more than 16,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines. APFA Members live in almost every state of the nation and serve millions of Americans as they travel the nation and the world. In 2003, APFA played a major role in keeping American Airlines solvent and out of bankruptcy by giving back an employee bailout of $340 million in annual salary and benefits, for a total of over $2 billion and counting. APFA had been in negotiations with American for almost four years when the carrier filed for chapter 11-bankruptcy protection on November 29, 2011. Laura Glading is serving in her first four-year term as president of the union.