Headline News

Airline Division News, Week Ending June 1, 2013

Wanting a Better Future, American Airlines Mechanics turn in cards, seek to join Teamsters

Capping off a grass roots campaign by mechanics; tired of poor representation by their current union, this past week the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed with the NMB for a representation election at American Airlines.

“These mechanics and many of their co-workers have been working very hard for many months to build a nationwide rank-and-file mechanic-led movement for positive change at American Airlines,” said Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne in a May 28th press conference.

“It is my honor and I am very proud to announce that this morning at 9am the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed an application for an election with the National Mediation Board on behalf of American Airlines mechanics and related employees. Soon we hope the NMB will schedule an election for American Airlines mechanics and related, giving them the opportunity to vote for a positive change in their union representation.

After many years of enduring concessions, job losses, furloughs and declining standards for their craft, the mechanics of American Airlines came to us and asked the Teamsters Airline Division for our help in changing their representation,” Bourne went on to say. “They saw the strength of our numbers and decided they wanted to become members of the largest and strongest union in the industry representing aviation mechanics – they wanted to join the Teamsters. It truly was an honor to have them come to us and we were happy to help them as they worked to make today a reality.”

“Today represents a great milestone in their campaign to stop the erosion of their careers and raise standards for mechanics at American Airlines,” Bourne said. “Let me be clear about this. The stakes are high for mechanics throughout the industry. Our TAMC…the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition represents 18,000 aviation mechanics and related workers and is the one unified voice for maintenance professionals in Washington and across the airline industry – what happens anywhere in our industry is important to all of us.

For too many years mechanics in the airline industry have seen their airlines outsourced critical aircraft maintenance on aircraft that they are specifically trained on to the lowest cost bidder who may or may not have the technical expertise to properly do the maintenance. Oversight and repair standards plummet, comprising maintenance quality, workers’ livelihoods and even worse, the safety of the flying public and the crews who operate the aircraft.”

“Along with this campaign at American, we have also been working with mechanics of USAirways who have also organized a powerful and dedicated campaign for strong Teamster representation. They face many of the same issues as mechanics at American face and earlier this month they filed with the NMB for an election to change their union representation to the Teamsters as well,” Bourne continued.

“Together, these impressive campaigns for Teamster representation at the time when American Airlines and USAirways are merging to become the nations’ largest airline represent a major step toward reversing the downward trend in airline industry maintenance. The Teamsters Airline Division is proud and honored to work with these mechanics in this historic effort,” Bourne concluded.


Protocol Agreement Deadline for UAL Mechanics Passes without Agreement

Management and union negotiators for the UAL mechanics met this past week in Chicago in a facilitated expedited bargaining process under the auspices of the National Mediation Board to continue negotiations under the outline of the Protocol Agreement with the hopes of concluding a joint combined agreement.

The protocol agreement called for discussions to end if agreement was not reached by May 29, 2013. While progress was made in certain areas, the union negotiating committee felt managements latest offer fell short of their expectations, and a tentative agreement between the parties was not finalized.

In a message to their members, the negotiators stated that they felt the addition of future bargaining dates could lead to an agreement and committed to work with the carrier, to the fullest extent possible, to arrange those dates in the immediate future.

The parties will continue to operate under the existing agreements as they decide how best to move forward in the Collective Bargaining process.

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

TSA's John Pistole has called for risk-based transportation security across all modes.

A bankruptcy judge has approved a settlement between the FAA and American Airlines.

Airlines for America and the Regional Airline Association asked the Department of Transportation to exclude April flight delays due to federal furloughs of air traffic controllers.

Airlines, Labor and Industry

In the aftermath a rash of 787 systems problems — the dissolution of Boeing Commercial Electronics offers a case study in how Boeing dealt away in-house expertise and relinquished control over systems suppliers.

At American Airlines, the carrier says the decision over union representation should be left to the mechanics. "Our people have the right to union representation and to choose which union represents them," said AA spokesman Paul Flaningan.

US Airways says merger with American Airlines is a "big plus" for consumers.