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Bankruptcy Judge Voids American Airlines Pilot Contracts

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For 22 years, First Officer Basil Lowe says he’s seen American Airlines try to cut back paychecks.

He told CBS4 Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine that what it couldn’t win in negotiations with the union, it’s just won in bankruptcy court.

Arguing they can no longer afford to pay their labor contracts with the pilots’ union, the court ruled it to change them, under court supervision.

Some veteran pilots now worry they could face pay cuts or layoffs after years of stalled negotiations.

Since filing for bankruptcy protection in November, American’s maintained its Miami operations with about 9000 employees.

It’s still operating about 300 flights a day, and is even adding routes including Seattle, Barcelona, and expanding its’ South and Central American service.

The good news for local employees is operations are still crowded with Miami International Airport remaining one of the company’s biggest hubs.

Some employees questions whether the company is really making more money.

“It’s been reported they are making lots of money now…they have a lot of money,” said Lowe.

American Airlines insists it was forced into bankruptcy protection after losing billions of dollars and still needs to slash personnel costs.

The company confirms it’s now sharing some of its’ financial data with U.S. Airways and some industry insiders say that could lead to a possible merger or buy out of the company.

But in the meantime, American employees at Miami international continue to worry about another round of possible lay-offs.

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