American Airlines 737-800. Courtesy, Boeing

The Allied Pilots Assn. (APA) representing 10,000 American Airlines (AA) pilots has asked a US bankruptcy court to require airline management to continue negotiations toward a new labor agreement.

The union expects AA to utilize the Chapter 11 process to reject existing work rules and impose new conditions. AA has said it needs to cut about 13,000 jobs through bankruptcy reorganization (ATW Daily News, Feb. 2).

But APA said in a court filing that the provisions in US bankruptcy law that allow for rejecting work agreements shouldn't apply in this case because the accord between AA and its pilots expired in 2008. The union is seeking a judgment from the court requiring AA management to continue negotiating toward an accord with pilots under a federal mediation process.

"Our objective is to enhance the prospects of a consensual agreement," APA president Dave Bates said in a statement. "The Railway Labor Act provides specialized procedures for peaceful resolution of labor contracts in the airline industry … The Railway Labor Act represents the more promising path to a consensual agreement."