The airline now plans to ask a bankruptcy judge to impose harsher terms.
DALLAS - Pilots for American Airlines have strongly rejected a contract offer that would have helped the company cut labor costs, dashing American's hopes of winning voluntary concessions from all its labor unions.
American said that it was disappointed by the vote. The company will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to let it impose terms on pilots that would be harsher than the rejected deal.
Mechanics and maintenance-stock clerks ratified new contracts, their union said Wednesday. Flight attendants are voting through Aug. 19.
In the most closely watched contest, the Allied Pilots Association said 61 percent of its 7,500 members who cast ballots voted to reject American's final offer. American had offered pay raises and a 13.5 percent stake in the new company in exchange for more flexibility to shift flying to partner airlines.
"We are disappointed with the outcome of today's APA voting results, as ratification of the pilot tentative agreement would have been an important step forward in our restructuring," said Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for American parent AMR Corp.
The union has fought against management for years, and many pilots hope that American will be forced into a merger with US Airways. Some believed that ratifying the final offer from American would have strengthened the position of American's management and made a merger less likely.
Union spokesman Gregg Overman said pilots were concerned about the long term of the contract -- six years -- and a potential two-tier pay scale with lower pay for pilots of new Airbus A319 aircraft that the company is expected to add to its fleet.
But the overarching theme of Wednesday's vote was more visceral: "It's a decade's worth of accumulated frustration with management," Overman said.
Anger against management runs deep at American, the nation's third-largest airline. Workers have not forgotten that several years ago, hundreds of management employees got stock-based bonuses -- a few high-ranking executives got millions -- after the unions had accepted deep pay cuts to keep the company going.
Still, most leaders at the unions for pilots, flight attendants and ground workers favored ratification. They said that the deals, while painful, were better than terms that American would impose with the bankruptcy judge's approval.