from the IAM communications department

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger

General Secretary-Treasurer 
Donald E. Wharton

GVP Western Territory
Lee Pearson

GVP Canada 
Dave Ritchie

GVP Midwest Territory
Alex M. Bay

GVP IAM Headquarters 
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern Territory 
George Hooper

GVP Eastern Territory 
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

Monday, March 12, 2001

American Airlines Declared Winning Bidder For TWA
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Walsh ruled today that American Airlines is the winning bidder for TWA’s assets. It was widely anticipated that American’s $742 million bid would be found the “highest and best” offer for TWA’s routes and other assets. The court threw out all other competing bids for the bankrupt carrier, including one by former TWA owner Carl Icahn. that was described by the judge as “almost a joke.”

American plans to operate TWA as an independent subsidiary for up to five years, while the two carriers’ operations are integrated. As a condition of closing, American continues to seek contract waivers from TWA’s unionized employees. The IAM filed objections in court to the proposed waivers and continues to negotiate with TWA and American to resolve the dispute. Key among the IAM issues are American’s failure to commit to hire all IAM employees and the contract terms under which TWA employees will work prior to full integration with American’s workforce. The IAM is also seeking agreement on a process to resolve additional disputes that may arise from the integration of the two airlines.

“We are not interested in complicating an already complicated deal any further,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “But we must have guarantees that our members at TWA will not be unfairly penalized by the terms of American’s proposal.”

Related Links:

IAM Transportation
District 142

Bush Grounds AMFA at Northwest
Using the faltering economy as a pretext, President George W. Bush took his pro-business agenda a step further when he jumped into the Northwest Airlines contract dispute with both feet.

Brushing aside his own pledge to wait until the end of the 30-day cooling off period, Bush established a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) late last week, halting any strike at Northwest for at least 60 days. The Executive Order calls for a three-person panel to investigate contract demands by Northwest Airlines and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA). 

The National Mediation Board (NMB) recommended the PEB a month ago, citing billion dollar differences between the two sides. Despite the absence of any strike fund, the New Hampshire-based AMFA had been boasting of plans to strike Northwest Airlines on March 12. The president said last month he would appoint the PEB at Northwest if a contract was not reached by that time.

The PEB is the first such board established in the airline industry since former President Clinton appointed a panel in 1997 following a strike by pilots at American Airlines. PEB’s are generally considered to favor management, and are rare in disputes between airlines and AFL-CIO affiliated unions. AMFA and the pilots association at American are not affiliated with the 13-million member AFL-CIO.

Announcing the rarely used PEB during a speech in South Dakota, Bush also said that he would “take necessary steps to prevent airline strikes this year.” The comment is in contrast to earlier White House statements that the president viewed the situation at Northwest as unique and that the president did not intend to become routinely involved in airline labor relations.

“On the surface, the establishment of a PEB at Northwest’s urging shows how little political 

influence is wielded by the so-called fraternal association at Northwest,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “If, however, AMFA has provided the president’s party with the opportunity to launch a general campaign against the legal right to strike, we will not rest until every politician and corporate executive understands this is one line in the sand that will not be crossed.”

Related Links:

IAM Transportation

Dakotas Ring Death Knell for ‘Paycheck Deception’
IAM members played key roles in killing that misnamed “Paycheck Protection” legislation in both North and South Dakota, reports GVP Alex Bay. “These were huge wins for working families,” he said. Even many Republicans were convinced to cross party lines and vote against the anti-worker measures by the tremendous effort put forth by IAM members and the rest of the trade union movement.

The South Dakota House of Representatives killed the bill by a 44-to-25 score. In North Dakota, a similar measure sank beneath a 58-to-40 tally.

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