Airline bonuses draw union ire
American Airlines parent company, AMR Corp., is paying bonuses to its executives amid its financial troubles, drawing criticism from organized labor.
The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Sunday that labor leaders compared the airline to American Insurance Group Inc., which has captured headlines for paying bonuses after receiving $170 billion in federal bailout funds.
AMR has not received any bailout funds, the newspaper noted.
If you compare us to AIG, American’s executives took bailout money from the employees in 2003, and they’ve rewarded themselves with millions of dollars in bonuses ever since, said Scott Shankland, an American pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association.
And in the meantime, the airline is doing terrible.
The airline’s bonuses, which are based on AMR stock performance during the past three years, will be significantly less than previous payouts, the newspaper reported. If they are awarded this week, company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Arpey would likely receive a bonus valued at roughly $225,000, down from about $1.7 million last year and $7.5 million in 2007, the newspaper said.
AMR officials accused union leaders of using the bonus program as leverage in their ongoing negotiations with the company.
This is simply another PR stunt to try and force the company into making decisions favorable to union interests, AMR spokeswoman Missy Latham said.
The APA is once again ignoring the basic facts in an attempt to gain leverage.