The airline, which filed for bankruptcy in November, said it wanted to get rid of 13,000 workers, or 16 percent of its work force. It plans to terminate its pension plans. It wants to cut back health benefits for current employees and retirees. Over all, it said, it seeks to cut employee costs by 20 percent.
The proposals are just the opening move in what are expected to be long and contentious negotiations. A bankruptcy judge must approve any new contract if the unions reject American’s proposals. But judging from previous airline bankruptcies, American might get much of what it is seeking.
Union representatives said they were stunned after meeting throughout the day with airline executives at the carrier’s headquarters in Fort Worth.