FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., April 28, 2011 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) welcomed today’s National Mediation Board (NMB) single carrier ruling for the Ramp and Fleet Service classifications at the recently combined United Airlines and Continental Airlines.
The NMB decision sets in motion a 14-day period during which the IAM will provide sufficient evidence of support for the NMB to call for a union representation election. The Board requires a “showing of interest” by at least 35 percent of the combined classification before an election will be scheduled. The NMB will set the time frame for an election after the IAM provides its showing of interest.
“We are very pleased with the NMB decision,” said IAM District 141 President and Directing General Chairman Rich Delaney. “This will allow Fleet/Ramp service employees to determine their future and allow the IAM to continue to negotiate from a position of even greater strength. As airlines continue to consolidate for their best interests it is equally important for airline employees to consolidate into a single group. This decision is the first step.”
The IAM has represented Ramp Service employees at United Airlines since 1948, negotiating collective bargaining agreements that repeatedly set compensation standards for the entire industry while providing solid careers for generations of workers at United.
“This is the first step towards bringing together the Fleet/Ramp service classifications at the new United under the banner of the IAM,” said New York Local 1322 President James Carlson. “The IAM has the knowledge, experience and strength to deliver a combined collective bargaining agreement that secures the wages, benefits and working conditions we deserve.”
“IAM members in Chicago are looking forward to the process that will welcome our brothers and sisters from Continental into the IAM family,” said Chicago Local 1487 President Tony Liccardi.
Fleet Service workers at Continental are also looking forward to the representation election. “The fact that the Machinists were the only union at United to secure a defined benefit pension for its members when the carrier went through bankruptcy is proof they can get the job done,” said Houston-based Continental Fleet Service worker David Otoya.
“The best job in the world isn’t worth much if it can be easily outsourced, subcontracted or drastically cut back,” said Newark, NJ-based Continental Fleet service worker Mitch Buckley. “The IAM contract has solid job security language that doesn’t have an expiration date.”
The IAM has represented United’s Ramp Service workers for more than 60 years while Continental and Continental Micronesia’s Fleet Service workers are currently represented by another union. The IAM is the largest airline union in North America. More information about the IAM campaign is available at www.voteiam.com.