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Pension row at American Air

Dallas April 18 (Reuters): Mechanics and ground workers may have thrown a wrench into labour concession deals aimed at heading off a bankruptcy filing at American Airlines when their union leadership threatened on Thursday not to sign the pact over a dispute on executive compensation.

Two other major unions also expressed outrage at news of special pension funding for senior management, just as rank-and-file workers agreed to stiff pay cuts.

Jim Little, a senior member of the Transport Workers Union, berated a plan to provide funds for a pension trust that would pay top executives a portion of their pensions in the event of bankruptcy. He said unions were informed of the plan through a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing made as rank and file members were concluding the vote on the concession deals.

“We have signed no new agreement, and in light of the disclosure of American Airlines’ SEC filing, we must reconsider whether we will sign off, even if the consequence is bankruptcy,” Little said in a communication with members.

American Airlines, a division of AMR Corp, on Wednesday narrowly averted a massive bankruptcy filing when flight attendants joined two other unions in approving sweeping wage concessions needed to help turn the airline around.

The airline said the pension plan was not new, adding its “supplemental executive retirement plan” was established in 1985. The company described the plan as “conservative, responsible and well below what other American companies have provided their senior executives.”

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