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Transport Workers Seek a Seat at the Table in US Airways/American Airlines Merger Case

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUCase will go forward despite government shutdown

Washington, DC – The Transport Workers Union has taken legal action in federal court to protect the jobs, pay and benefits of its members, TWU President Harry Lombardo said today.

The TWU, Lombardo said, is seeking intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the proposed merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The case will go forward despite the current government shutdown, under terms of an order issued on Oct. 1 by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

“We represent workers at both airlines, and the livelihood of our members is at stake” said Lombardo. “That’s why we filed for intervenor status.”

More than 23,000 TWU members work at American Airlinesand American Eagle in seven crafts and/or classes, including: Mechanics and Related, Fleet Service, Materials Logistics Specialists, Dispatchers, Ground School and Simulator Pilot Instructors, Maintenance Control Technicians and Flight Simulator Technicians.

Three hundred employees of US Airways are also TWU members in the Flight Dispatch, Flight Crew Training Instructor and Flight Simulator Technician crafts and/or classes.

“TWU members have been involved with intense negotiations with current management at American Airlines and at US Airways,” said Lombardo. “We don’t see any reason for the Department of Justice to be involved in the merger process – but if this case is going to court, our members deserve to be heard.”

As a result of negotiations with airline management during the bankruptcy of American Airlines and talks leading up to a merger agreement with US Airways, TWU members at the new American Airlines will receive a four percent pay raise if the merger is successfully completed, as well as a 4.8 percent equity stake in the new company.

The TWU filed for intervenor status in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 30th.  On Oct. 1, Judge Kollar-Kotelly denied a request by DOJ attorneys for a stay of the proceedings due to the current government shutdown. Employees of American Airlines and U.S. Airways, the judge noted, “have a vested interest in adjudication of this case without delay.”

Transportation Workers Union Call For DOJ To Drop Suit Against Airline Merger

Transport Workers to Deliver Petition with Thousands of Signatures to U.S. Dept. of Justice Offices in Tulsa Thur., Calling for End to Lawsuit Aimed at Blocking the American-US Airways Merger

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUJobs at American Airlines’ Maintenance Facility, Tulsa’s Largest Private Sector Employer Placed in Jeopardy by DoJ’s Misguided Interference

 Tulsa  – A caravan of vehicles driven by members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 514, employed at the American Airlines maintenance base, will deliver a petition with more than 8,000 signatures to the U.S. Department of Justice’s office in Tulsa on Thursday, August 29.

Airline workers and supporters are calling for the government to drop its irrational lawsuit against the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  The merger will protect good-paying U.S. jobs and give consumers the only real chance for competition with the Delta-United duopoly, which currently dominates the U.S. airline industry.

“We put this on the Internet a couple of weeks ago, and it’s spread like wildfire,” said TWU Local 514 President Dale Danker. “People just can’t understand why our own government is trying to block a merger that’s pro-competition, pro-consumer and that protects good-paying U.S. jobs.”

More than 8,000 signatures calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to drop the government’s lawsuit against the proposed merger were collected all over the United States, said Danker.  They are being delivered in Tulsa, where American operates the largest remaining U.S.-based hub for aircraft repair and maintenance.  With 6,000 workers, the airline is the largest private-sector employer in Tulsa.

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, is ready to emerge from a difficult two-year bankruptcy process with a plan to merge with U.S. Airways.  The proposed merger would create, for the first time in years, head-to-head competition with Delta and United and an American Airlines more able to compete with foreign carriers.

“The DOJ says this merger is anti-competitive. Actually, it’s their lawsuit against the merger which will block competition,” said Danker. “Neither American nor US Airways alone can effectively compete against Delta or United, which means the duopoly will eventually control more routes, raise prices even higher and give consumers fewer choices.”

“If this merger goes through, it will protect the jobs of our members and allow us to give consumers excellent service and real choice.  If DOJ succeeds with its wrong-headed attempt to block this merger, we’ll lose jobs and income, and consumers will have fewer choices at a higher cost.  That’s why we’re asking Eric Holder to reverse course and drop the DOJ lawsuit.”

The union also has sent a letter to Attorney General Holder requesting that he meet with TWU members.

Tentative Agreement Reached for 6,500 Agents at US Airways

CWA-blue-line

teamster airline

Washington, D.C. — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement covering 6,500 passenger service employees at US Airways. The IBT and CWA together represent the reservations and airport agents.

The tentative agreement provides for wage increases at every step for all passenger service employees and includes a ratification bonus. It also provides critical job security protections, an important issue for workers as the US Airways- American Airlines merger goes forward.

Agents from US Airways and American Airlines have launched a joint campaign to make certain they have a strong union voice at the merged airline.

‘“Working together, passenger service employees at US Airways have built a strong, united group that will continue to make advances for all agents as the US Airways-American Airlines merger proceeds,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.

 

A ratification vote is being scheduled.

 

This S#*^ Needs To Stop Before We Completely Destroy Each Other

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.

Transport Workers and Machinist Union to Jointly Represent Ground Workers at the “New” American Airlines

TWU and IAM Logo

TWU and IAM Logo

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) today announced a partnership to jointly represent nearly 30,000 ground workers at the “new” American Airlines following the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

This week the two international unions have signed joint agreements to cover the Mechanic & Related, Fleet Service, and Stores employee work groups at the soon to be merged airline. The new labor partnership, to be known as the TWU/IAM Employee Association, will ask the federal National Mediation Board (NMB) to hold elections among the combined employees for each classification after the close of the American-US Airways merger.  The election will formalize the joint-council agreement reached this week.

“I am proud that our two great unions put the members first in a true demonstration of solidarity,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “These agreements protect our members’ representation, pensions and seniority. Working jointly with the TWU, we will ensure both unions’ members are rewarded in this merger.”

“This agreement allows us to use our combined strength and resources on behalf of all our members as we move forward at the new American Airlines,” said TWU International President James C. Little.  “Both unions have decades of experience representing workers at US Airways and American Airlines and both unions are members of the AFL-CIO.”

Following certification, negotiating committees comprised of an equal number of representatives from each union will begin working out the details of collective bargaining agreements to cover the combined carriers’ employees.

The accords reached this week, designate which union will enforce a post-merger agreement in specific cities, as well as providing a mechanism to designate contract enforcement responsibilities if the carrier expands to new markets.

The IAM currently represents Mechanic and Related, Fleet Service, and Stores employees at US Airways; TWU represents these classifications at American. TWU also currently represents aircraft dispatchers, flight crew training instructors and flight simulator engineers at both airlines. Additionally, IAM represents Maintenance Instructors at US Airways.

The full agreements and a Question and Answer document are available at both the IAM website www.usaamerger.com and at the Transport Workers Union’s website: www.twu.org.

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