Two major unions are agreeing to avoid a fight and instead will share representation of ground workers at American Airlines after it merges with US Airways.
The unions announced the deal Tuesday covering nearly 30,000 workers.
“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.”
The Transport Workers Union represents mechanics, bag handlers and other employees at American, while the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents ground workers at US Airways.
“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."
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has been urging the unions to share representation to avoid bitter and divisive election campaigns against each other.
The unions released the following statement Tuesday:
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.
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 unions said in a news release.
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.