AMR Pilots Ratify New Labor Contract

 @JosephLazzaro on December 07 2012 3:27 PM

(Reuters) - American Airlines pilots on Friday voted to ratify a new union contract, ending a years-long labor dispute and stabilizing American's parent, AMR Corp, as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy.

The contract, approved by nearly three-quarters of the pilots who voted, gives the Allied Pilots' Association a 13.5 percent equity stake in AMR and offers what the union sees as a path to "industry-standard" pay, union spokesman Dennis Tajer told Reuters.

AMR filed for bankruptcy in November 2011, primarily due to high labor costs. It said it needed to cut those costs by $1 billion a year. It achieved concessions from its ground workers and flight attendants but remained at odds with pilots in bitter labor talks that date to 2006.

AMR creditors had deemed labor peace a major priority, saying labor uncertainty could make it difficult for creditors and potential investors to assess the company's post-bankruptcy viability.

Friday's vote could be seen as addressing that concern and providing AMR a clearer path toward exiting Chapter 11.

Denise Lynn, a senior vice president at AMR, in a statement called the deal with pilots "an important step forward in our restructuring."

"Today's ratification gives us the certainty we need for American to successfully restructure," Lynn said.

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