By Mike Brownfield/The Heritage Foundation
American Airlines announced today that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the final large U.S. full-fare airline to seek court protection from creditors. One of the primary reasons? American is at a disadvantage because of high labor costs, proving that in a competitive economy, unions can’t do much for their members without sending companies into bankruptcy.
American had struggled after 9/11 to avoid heading to bankruptcy as its rivals did in the hopes of securing favorable contract agreements with labor unions. The unions though, had other ideas. Among their demands: Pilots wanted a 10 percent signing bonus followed by 7 percent raises in each of the next three years–massive raises in the midst of a miserable economy.