Two unions plan to jointly represent mechanics and ground workers once American Airlines and US Airways merge this year.The Transport Workers Union and the International Association of Machinists announced a new partnership Tuesday that will represent about 30,000 airline employees — the TWU/IAM Employee Association.After the merger closes, the unions said, they will ask government regulators to hold a union representation election among the affected work groups.Currently, the TWU represents mechanics, store clerks and fleet service workers at American. The IAM represents the same work groups at US Airways.“This agreement allows us to use our combined strength and resources on behalf of all our members as we move forward at the new American Airlines,” TWU International President Jim Little said.Under the agreement reached this week, the unions designated which organization will conduct post-merger business in a specific area. For example, in DFW, where the TWU has more members than the IAM, the TWU will keep its union facilities in place and work with employees. In Charlotte, the IAM will do the same.“These agreements protect our members’ representation, pensions and seniority,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Working jointly with the TWU, we will ensure both unions’ members are rewarded in this merger.”The partnership does not cover aircraft dispatchers, flight crew training instructors or flight simulator engineers, since the TWU represents those work groups at both carriers. Likewise, it does not include maintenance instructors at US Airways, who are represented by the IAM.Recently, the Teamsters filed for a union representation election for US Airways mechanics. If the Teamsters unseat the IAM, the agreement between the TWU and the IAM would not affect that work group.The Teamsters have also been campaigning to represent American’s mechanics, as has the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Neither union has filed for a representation election with regulators.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk