Login

Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

DALLAS (AP) - Two major unions are seeking to avoid a fight and instead share representation of ground workers at American Airlines after the company merges with US Airways.

The unions represent nearly 30,000 workers at the two airlines, and a deal might help both fend off challenges by the Teamsters.

The Transport Workers Union, or TWU, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM, said Tuesday that they will form a council to negotiate a single contract with the post-merger American Airlines.

"This agreement allows us to use our combined strength and resources on behalf of all our members," TWU President James C. Little said in a statement.

IAM President Tom Buffenbarger called the deal with TWU "a true demonstration of solidarity."

The TWU represents mechanics, bag handlers and other employees at American, while IAM represents ground workers at US Airways.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had urged the unions to share representation and avoid bitter and divisive election campaigns against each other. He said the unions needed to focus their organizing efforts on workers who don't already belong to a union.

TWU and IAM are AFL-CIO members and both are being challenged by the Teamsters, which is not part of AFL-CIO. Last week Teamsters officials said they gathered enough support at US Airways to force an election to decide who represents the airline's ground workers. They said they were close to qualifying for an election at American, too.

Larry Ocheltree, a US Airways mechanic working on the Teamsters' organizing drive in Charlotte, N.C., said the agreement between TWU and IAM won't impress his co-workers.

"You have two groups that have done a poor job of representing the separate groups," said Ocheltree, who added that US Airways mechanics earn less than peers at other carriers. "This is a last-ditch effort to maintain representation because they're going to get voted out."

A fourth union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, is also trying to woo TWU members at American's maintenance facility in Tulsa, Okla. Some of those workers were discouraged that thousands of jobs have been outsourced or eliminated since American and its parent, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011.

American and US Airways Group Inc. expect to close their merger before the end of September, and then take 18 months or longer to combine into the world's biggest airline.

___

Follow David Koenig at http://www.twitter.com/airlinewriter


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
share this story:
Attention KTAR.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

    SCF Arizona has a new name. They are now CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Taylor Morrison

    World Class People. World Class Company. We are a national home builder committed to building homes inspired by you.
  • Go Daddy

    World Class People. World Class Company. Go Daddy is a Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For."
  • Avnet

    World Class People. World Class Company. Here's information on a Fortune 500 company from Arizona.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Working For Arizona

    The business and economics of Arizona at the start of 2014 and looking forward.
  • Arizonans In Need

    Putting a focus on charities and organizations who provide help and/or need your help to fulfill their missions.
close

Share: