All for one, one for all, and it’s unanimous: nobody is happy at American Airlines. The airline and every one of its employee groups have now handed their negotiatIons over to National Mediation Board referees. The last group standing, the Transport Workers Union, now says it has sought a federal mediator for the last two of the employee groups it represents. The airline, based near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, says it “agrees guidance by the National Mediation Board would be beneficial.”
Bill Swelbar of The MIT Airline Project offers some perspective, noting that “this is the first time in memory that any large carrier has seen every one of its unions seeking mediation.”
But, he adds, “even though this sounds grim, this could help the situation. Mediation may be a lengthy process, but in the long run it can provide cover for either side. The unions can end up telling their members that they had no choice” but to accept a contract proposal that the mediator wants – even though neither the board nor its mediator has any power to compel them.