In a move that will lead to joint contract negotiations for more than 30,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and Transport Workers Union (TWU), the two unions today jointly petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) asking it declare that post-merger American Airlines and US Airways are now operating as a single transportation system for employees in the Mechanic & Related, Fleet Service and Stores classifications.
Today’s filing is a necessary precursor to an NMB election to certify the TWU-IAM Employee Association, an alliance between the IAM and TWU formed last year, as the collective bargaining representative for all employees in the affected classifications at the new American Airlines. There is no defined timeframe for the NMB to act on today’s petition.
IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger and TWU International President Harry Lombardo issued the following statement after the filing:
“Today begins the next step in achieving the airline industry’s best labor agreements at the world’s largest airline. American Airlines has entered into an era of super-profits and it’s now time for our combined 30,000 members at the airline to secure the industry’s premier contracts. Our members, by pooling resources and uniting in solidarity, present the most formidable labor alliance in the airline industry. Executives and shareholders are profiting handsomely, and this alliance will ensure our members are also rewarded for their hard work and sacrifice.”
Each pre-merger group will continue working under their existing collective bargaining agreements until joint agreements are negotiated and ratified.
Also announced with this filing is the first membership benefit, a Preferential Hiring Agreement between the two unions and American Airlines. Under its terms, furloughed members from either American or US Airways will be offered, but are not required to accept, open job opportunities at the other airline without loss of pay seniority.ÂÂÂ