Secretly I have been watching the situation unfold at US Airways. No I am not taking a trip. I have been following this because I am very dishearten to hear that the Teamsters are moving in to try to take the representation rights away from the Transportation Workers Union.
I was first alerted to this when I got a press release with this title, “Teamsters Raid on American Airlines Mechanics and Related Workers”. If you follow this blog regularly you probably already know that I did not post this press release like I do with many others.
Labor unions have serious problems in the eyes of the public. Many see us as outdated, worthless organizations that only promote laziness. Those of us who work inside labor movement know this is the farthest thing from the truth. Yet actions like this from the Teamster are dangerous to our movement. I want to make it very, very clear. I have great respect for all of the Teamsters I know. They are very hard-working men and women. The IBT has had it fair share of ups and downs over the years but anyone who stands up for workers is a winner in my book.
However I disagree greatly with this move by the IBT to go after jobs that are currently represented by the TWU. This make no sense whatsoever. We need to expand our ranks, not cannibalize them. This is also a very bad time to try to take these members away. US Airways and American Airlines are in the middle of a merger. When companies merge, there are usually job losses. Change unions during this delicate negotiation process could result in even more job losses.
The TWU Air Transport Director Garry Drummond had this to say about the upcoming elections:
“Many mechanics signed cards calling for an election between unions because they believe in democracy, ironically a vote for the Teamsters means that democracy would be suspended. If the Teamsters were to become the bargaining agent, under federal labor law, elections for new local leaders wouldn’t happen for as long as three years. Meanwhile critical negotiations with the ‘new’ American Airlines will take place before the end of the year. Workers at the new American would be voiceless during these crucial contract talks.”
I am reminded of the problems that the IBT has been having with Republic Airlines. They have gone for years now working without a contract. They even threatened to strike. Now is not the time to switch from one representative to another.
Workers deserve a voice in the workplace and these workers have already chosen who will represent them. Now the IBT is using the same tactics of the vulture capitalist that unions protect workers from. This corporate raiding is wrong and needs to stop. Let me reiterate, I have nothing against the IBT overall, I disagree with this raid on the US Airways workers. I hope for the sake of all the workers involved that the TWU retains their representation rights and this matter is ended.
We need to be working together, not fighting each other. We are all in this fight together. We all want what is best for the workers. This S@#$ has to stop.