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American-US Airways mechanics, ground workers one step closer to union contract

Star-Telegram

The National Mediation Board has granted single-carrier status for American and US Airways mechanics and ground workers, moving the workers another step closer to getting a new contract.

“Today’s ruling sets the stage for Association members to get to the table and do whatever it takes to get a labor agreement that recognizes the sacrifices our members and their families have made in order for American Airlines to become the largest and most profitable airline in the world,” the Transport Workers Union and International Association of Machinists said in a statement.

The Transport Workers and Machinists jointly filed for single-carrier status with the mediation board in late July, saying they want to represent the work groups with an alliance. The federal labor board took almost nine months to reach a decision.

Last summer, a Transport Workers local president filed comments with the board arguing that such an alliance would keep mechanics in two different work groups just as they existed before the merger. He asked the board to hold a representation election that listed the Transport Workers on the ballot rather than the alliance.

In its ruling Wednesday, the mediation board said if other labor unions want to represent the workers, those unions have 30 days to file an application with authorization cards from 50 percent of the work group. If there are no other interested unions, the alliance would become the union representative without an election.

American thanked the board for its “thoughtful” consideration of the joint union application.

“It’s another milestone in our integration, and we look forward to working with our mechanic and related employees, our fleet service employees and our stock clerks on a joint collective bargaining agreement once a union has been certified as their representative,” American spokesman Casey Norton said.

About 30,000 workers are represented by the two unions at the new American Airlines.

American has already reached new contract agreements with its pilots and flight attendants unions. It is in talks with the union representing its customer service representatives and gate agents.

Separately, the mediation board granted single-carrier status for American and US Airways’ flight crew training instructors and dispatchers who are both currently represented by the Transport Workers. Since the same union represented the workers at both carriers, talks for a new contract can begin.

“With union representation decided for Flight Crew Training Instructors and Dispatchers, we can now work with the TWU to begin negotiations for joint collective bargaining agreements for these groups,” Norton said.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

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