IAM Balks over Secret US Airways Deals

IAM representatives from District 141 and 142 responded quickly to an announcement by US Airways that agreements were reached with the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) over terms for labor agreements in the event US Airways were to acquire American Airlines.

“It is unbelievable that the company [US Airways] would secretly negotiate with labor groups outside of their own airline, and reach contractual terms for the future, when the state of labor relations within US Airways is so uncertain,” said District 141 President Rich Delaney, who also called it “insulting” and “disrespectful” for employees of US Airways to learn that, while the company’s negotiators have been unwilling to agree to terms with their own unions, they reached agreements with unions representing workers at American Airlines.

Delaney reserved judgment on the wisdom and likelihood of a US Airways-American Airlines pairing, but called on US Airways to put the same effort into reaching contractual terms with the IAM and the Fleet Service employees of US Airways as they have in reaching agreements with unions that may or may not ever be part of US Airways.

Leaders of IAM District 142 were equally assertive in their response to the news that US Airways had concluded secret deals in exchange for support from TWU and other unions at American.

“We strongly believe that US Airways should focus on successfully concluding our negotiations rather than striking backroom deals with other unions at other airlines,” said District 142 President Tom Higginbotham, who added that District 142 membership would determine if any enhancements would be made to their agreements, not another union at another airline.

District 142 and US Airways have been in contract negotiations since January 2011 for the airline’s Mechanic and Related employees and since April 2011 for Maintenance Training Specialists.