"The pilots negotiated and signed a concessionary agreement during the recent bankruptcy, and management asked us soon after AAG [American Airline Group] exited bankruptcy for additional, significant concessions," William Sprague, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in a memo to union members.
"Our pilots decided they were not willing to work for less than the company is already paying our peers."
The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Thursday that the airline's management said during negotiations that the company would be downsized over time to the point that it could be liquidated.
There was a 10-year deal on the table, however, that would have had the airline using 60 new Embraer 175 jets. In return, the airline, which is soon to be renamed Envoy, would have frozen pilot pay until 2018.
After that, small raises would resume, but it would have capped pay at 12-year levels for captains and at four-year levels for first officers.
The deal would also eliminate profit sharing, although it would have secured jobs at the airline's core business group for some of Eagle's captains and first officers.
The contract proposed that 50 percent American Airlines Group cockpit crews include American Eagle officers.