NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Labor leaders representing American Airlines > (AMR) mechanics and fleet service workers were visiting Wall Street analysts Thursday and Friday to tell their side of the story.
"Analysts love to get all the information they can get," said Bob Owens, president of Transport Workers Union Local 562, which represents about 800 American mechanics and stock clerks at New York's Kennedy, LaGuardia, Boston's Logan and San Juan airports. "They appreciated the fact we could give them information that is not readily available."
|TWU leaders Bob Owens and Dave Virella|
Owens and Dave Virella, president of TWU Local 501, which represents about 1,600 fleet service workers, called on a half dozen analysts.
Owens questioned American's frequent assertions that its labor costs are higher than other carriers'. He said American mechanics are in the middle of the pack on pay and that even if relative costs rise in the near term, they will fall as other carriers negotiate new contracts.Moreover, Owens noted that American, unlike most of its competitors, eschews outsourcing and maintains its own aircraft. Therefore, he said, other carriers do not account for aircraft maintenance as a labor expense. "They put the cost elsewhere," he said. "That doesn't mean they don't do the work." American continues to negotiate with its mechanics. American has said that its overall labor costs are about $600 million higher than an average of its competitors' costs, and that -- unlike most competitors -- it continues to offer a defined benefit pension plan. The carrier "continues to perform over 90% of its maintenance in-house, far more than any other airline,