Machinists Union Questions United/Continental Merger Fallout

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ (IAM) General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. will testify before three Congressional Committees this week about the proposed merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

“The IAM is concerned that the new entity may be too big to succeed,” said Roach. “Failure of such a large entity could be disastrous to employees, the industry and the national economy. Our concern is for the entire industry, and we do not believe mergers alone provide the answers. The only way to establish an air transportation industry that is both competitive and profitable is through some limited re-regulation.”

Two June 16, 2010 hearings will be before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as the Committee on the Judiciary. The IAM will also testify at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on June 17, 2010.

The Machinists Union represents 26,000 workers at the two carriers.

“As this merger proposal moves forward, the Machinists Union asks regulators to take the merger’s impact on employees into consideration,” said Roach. “A combined carrier must offer employees more stability and opportunity than are available at the two independent airlines.”

The IAM represents 16,000 United Airlines Ramp, Stores, Public Contact, Fleet Technical Instructor, Maintenance Instructor, Security Guard and Food Service employees, and another 76 employees at United’s frequent-flyer program, Mileage Plus, Inc. The IAM also represents Continental Airlines’ 9,500 Flight Attendants, 250 Flight Attendants at Continental’s wholly-owned subsidiary Continental Micronesia and 1,200 Flight Attendants at Continental and United regional partner ExpressJet Airlines.

The Machinists Union is the largest airline union in North America, representing more than 110,000 airline industry workers.

The IAM’s complete testimony is available in PDF format: