American and US Airways mechanics reach seniority lists deal

Washington DC
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American Airlines and US Airways have reached a joint agreement with their mechanics unions on how they will integrate seniority lists under a merged carrier.

The Transport Workers Union represents American's mechanics, while the International Association of Machinists represents these employee groups at US Airways.

The agreement covers fleet service employees, maintenance control technicians, mechanic and related employees and stock clerks. The lists will be integrated based on the date that each employee entered into their job type.

"TWU believes this agreement will protect the rights of our members and all employees at the merged airline," says Robert Gless, deputy director of TWU's air transport division. "The agreement will also set the stage for a successful merger, long-term job security and quality customer service at the new American Airlines."

The seniority list would be effective upon the unions reaching a single collective bargaining agreement for each of the workgroups. This task could be complicated by the IAM's focus on securing a new contract with US Airways for mechanics and related employees before considering merger talks.

In March, US Airways' mechanic and related group requested that the National Mediation Board release the carrier from mediation, which would lead to a 30-day "cooling off" period before a strike could occur. The members have been in contract negotiations with US Airways for more than two years, and began mediation in July 2011.

US Airways employs about 14,000 mechanics and related, maintenance training specialists, fleet service and stockroom staff. The TWU represents about 11,000 mechanics and related workers at American.

In January, the union said that it worked out a memorandum of understanding to provide a wage increase of 4.3% above TWU's previous contract for its members, which would go into effect when American finalises its reorganization plan. This has already been approved by the bankruptcy court.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has started a campaign to garner interest among American Airlines' mechanics to join their union. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Organization (AMFA) is an independent union that also intends to garner support from American Airlines' mechanics through a drive.