Apa Blankenship New Aa Labor Coordinator

FA Mikey

Aug 19, 2002

Trying to rewrite the long-held rules of how carriers deal with their employees, American Airlines Inc. has turned to an unlikely figure.

As communications chairman for the Allied Pilots Association, Steve Blankenship was known for parrying every thrust from American under Donald J. Carty, the former chairman of the Fort Worth-based carrier.

Mr. Blankenship was one of the primary architects of a union-led effort to oust Mr. Carty during American's financial crisis last year.
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But the relationship between the airline and Mr. Blankenship changed with the appointment last year of Gerard Arpey as the airline's chief executive. Mr. Arpey has involved union leadership and front-line workers in decisions.

"Management is beginning to awaken to the fact that labor is simply a business partner," said Mr. Blankenship, who has been named labor coordinator for a leadership team of managers and union chiefs.

"We need to help them get out of this hole," he said. "As long as Gerard is marching to this drum of collaboration, cooperation and inclusion of labor in the business decision-making, he has my undaunted personal commitment."