The president of the union that represents pilots at American Airlines has resigned after members soundly rejected a tentative contract from the bankrupt carrier.
David Bates said in a letter to the pilots on Thursday that he agreed to resign late on Wednesday at the request of the board of the Allied Pilots Association.
Bates will be replaced by Keith Wilson, who ran against Bates for union President in 2010, losing in a run-off election, according to a source close to the matter.
The union's board planned to announce Wilson as the new president on Thursday, the source said.
Rank-and-file pilots turned down American's last and final contract offer on Wednesday, with 61 percent of those that voted, or 4,600, opposing, and 2,935 in favor. The pilots could face stricter terms should the judge overseeing American's bankruptcy now allow the airline to end its current contract with the union.
"Although I believe that ratifying the tentative agreement would have been the best course for our pilot group, the majority of our pilots signaled their preference for taking a different path," Bates said in his letter.
"Given these circumstances, I concluded that continuing to serve as your president was not in the interests of the pilots I have been charged with representing."
Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for AMR Corp's American Air, declined to comment.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; editing by John Wallace and Andre Grenon)