(Reuters) - Pilots at American Airlines will not go on strike unless it is legal to do so, the president of the pilots' union said on Thursday.
The Allied Pilots Association had said last week it was making preparations to call a strike vote should American implement harsh new work terms on pilots. The carrier has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since late last year.
Keith Wilson, who was named to head the pilots' union earlier this month after his predecessor resigned, said on Thursday that while the union is exploring legal options, it would be difficult to stage a walkout while American, a unit of AMR Corp, is in bankruptcy.
"We will not strike unless we are legally allowed to strike," Wilson told a media briefing at the union's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters.
A hearing on a second American Airlines request to void the carrier's collective bargaining agreements with the pilots' union is scheduled for Sept 4.
The union is the only major work group at American that has not agreed on a contract offer with concessions since the carrier filed for bankruptcy. Pilots rejected a last and best offer from American on August 8. Should a bankruptcy judge allow the carrier to scrap its current contracts with the pilots' union, American could implement new work terms that are harsher as it looks to save labor costs.
Wilson said his union hoped to reach a consensual agreement on a contract with the carrier.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by Matthew Lewis)