Airline Merger Could Mean Another Union - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Airline Merger Could Mean Another Union

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The merging of American Airlines and US Airways could bring changes to union organization.

The local Transport Workers Union is now dealing with another union trying to take their members.

Teamsters started last May to win over AA mechanics.  Representatives say they have reached majority support to take the decision to a vote.

Teamsters officials say they have 11,000 workers across the country ready to switch to their group.

"I feel it won't be that long," says Joe Moberly.  He's been with American for 24 years and says he hasn't been represented well.  "We feel that we have had concessionary contracts basically for the past 24 years that I have been there.  We have constantly given back and we've barely had a cost-of-living allowance increase on our contracts," Moberly says.

Representatives from the TWU say with AA filing for bankruptcy, employees are frustrated; and that's where Teamsters came in.

"We are aware that the Teamsters were driving on our membership back during the bankruptcy process, and we just rely on our track record," says John Hewitt, the TWU Maintenance Chairman.  "I mean, we have managed to keep heavy maintenance at AA in Tulsa for over 60 years," Hewitt says.

He also says they have already worked out deals with U.S. Airways to get some benefits back to the mechanics.  "{We} negotiated a 4.3% raise across the board for all TWU-represented members, and also what we have done is preserve the Tulsa maintenance base by putting in our contract that they cannot contract out more than 65% of maintenance, and that keeps maintenance base basically full," Hewitt says.

If Teamsters is able to get enough members to sign cards, they will be able to take their case to the National Meditation Board to move for a full vote."

"New airline, new union," says Moberly.

Teamster will not tell Channel 8 how many signatures they already have, but say they are close.  They will spend the weekend talking to any mechanic they have not reached yet.

The TWU says Teamsters does not have a good background with following through on promises.  They say they will work to reach the current members to let them know the benefits of staying put.

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