Machinists Union: US Airways Chooses Labor Unrest
WASHINGTON -- November 12, 2013
“US Airways’ celebration is premature,” said IAM District 141 President Rich
Delaney on the announcement of a deal between US Airways, American Airlines
and the Department of Justice that removed government opposition to the
proposed merger. “Until the carrier negotiates new contracts for its own
IAM-represented employees, the new American Airlines will not get off the
The IAM and the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which represents American
Airlines’ ground employees, earlier this year formed an alliance to jointly
represent the combined airline’s 30,000 workers in the Mechanic and Related,
Fleet Service and Stock Clerk classifications. Terms of the alliance agreement
state both unions must agree when to request the National Mediation Board
(NMB) determine the two carriers are operating as a single transportation
system for employee representation purposes.
Only a union, and not an airline, can make such a request. Until the NMB
issues its single carrier rulings, employees cannot be integrated and work
will remain divided.
“Under our current contract, American Airlines employees cannot maintain US
Airways’ planes and we can’t touch American’s aircraft,” said District 142
President Tom Higginbotham.
“Similarly, US Airways employees can’t load American’s aircraft where TWU
members are present and vice-versa,” added Delaney. “The synergies and
seamless operation the airlines promised shareholders and passengers will not
exist until our members get new contracts. US Airways has chosen to start this
merger off with major labor unrest.”
After nearly three years of fruitless bargaining, the IAM has requested the
NMB release it and US Airways from further mediated negotiations and declare
the parties are at an impasse. This would trigger a 30-day cooling off period
after which IAM members could be free to strike the airline.
“US Airways has been too focused on its merger plans and getting agreements
with American’s unions to care about its own workforce,” said Higginbotham.
“US Airways’ claims of labor peace are just another in a string of lies that
airlines tell the public and the government in order to get mergers approved,”
The Machinists Union is the largest union at US Airways representing
approximately 14,000 Mechanic and Related, Maintenance Training Specialists,
Fleet Service and Stockroom employees. More information about the IAM at US
Airways is available at usaamerger.com.
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