American retiree sues union for not distributing stock in merged airline

02/04/2014 5:33 PM

02/04/2014 5:34 PM

An American Airlines retiree has sued his union for not giving him shares in the new airline.

Thomas Powell, a member of the Transport Workers Union who worked at American’s Tulsa maintenance operations, says the union wrongly excluded American workers who took an early retirement buyout in 2013 from receiving their portion of equity in American after it merged with US Airways.

According to the lawsuit, filed last week in federal district court in North Texas, Powell was not informed until August that those who took the early separation package would not receive “their previously-vested rights to the TWU Equity.”

Powell is seeking class-action status, saying about 2,000 TWU members applied for the early retirement program, and he has asked for a jury trial. He also listed several TWU local chapters as defendants.

As part of American’s bankruptcy reorganization, the TWU and its members negotiated a concessionary contract that included an early retirement offer rather than layoffs and guaranteed members an equity stake in American after it emerged from bankruptcy.

“When TWU members asked about whether Early Separation might adversely affect receipt of their vested share of the TWU Equity, the Defendants refused to provide any information or guidance at all, even though the plan for TWU Equity distribution had to have been already considered,” the lawsuit says.

The TWU could not be reached for comment.

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