Sickout Over, But Not Dispute

Most American Airlines pilots were back at work after a sickout, which has been waning since a federal judge held the Allied Pilots Association in contempt of a back-to-work court order.

But the court ruling does not address the pilots' original dispute, says CBS Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin. They are angry that pilots of a new American Airline, called Reno Air, will be paid at a lower wage

Harley Shaiken of the University of California at Berkeley said it was crucial that this dispute be settled.

"They see the lower wages at Reno being their future unless these issues are resolved," he said. "There is one thing that has been a constant in the airline industry: Unresolved labor problems don't go away. They really come back often, and in even more devastating form."

In the meantime, nervous passengers have lost their confidence, which could be the biggest loss of all for American Airlines.

While normal service is resuming, easing flight cancellations that have left more than a half-million passengers stranded in airports, the ultimate cost has yet to be tallied, especially for the pilots union. It is expected to receive a heavy fine by an angry judge later this week.

Pilots had been calling in sick and refusing to accept overtime since Feb. 6 in a dispute over how quickly American should integrate the pilots from recently purchased Reno Air into its own roster.

Fewer than 800 of American's 9,400 pilots were still listed as sick Monday. Nearly 2,500 were out Thursday and Friday, airline officials said.

The number of canceled flights Monday dropped to 250, compared to 400 the day before. Monday's 11 percent flight cancellation rate was no worse than what would be caused by a day of bad weather in a hub city, officials said.

American officials estimated about 5,600 flights have been canceled since the work action began, costing the airlines between $67 million and $90 million.

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