The International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed an election application with the US National Mediation Board to represent US Airways mechanics and related workers, bringing the union closer to representing more than 4,000 US Airways workers.
The Teamsters filed the application after workers, currently represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, received the required majority support from their work group, says Jim Blanton, a US Airways mechanic who spoke during a media call Tuesday.
The application paves the way for a final vote by all eligible employees, which could happen in two or three months, says Blanton.
The Teamsters also plan to file an application to represent more than 11,000 mechanics at American Airlines, which is in the process of being acquired by US Airways.
Blanton says some 2,800 mechanics, more than 60% of the eligible US Airways employees, supported the change. Those employees include mechanics, technicians, technical planners, quality and assurance planners, station trainers and others, Blanton says.
"The teamsters union is the best and logical choice to represent us," says Blanton, adding that US Airways mechanics have offered numerous contractual concessions in recent years while US Airways posted record profits.
Blanton also referenced the US Airways-American Airlines merger, saying, "When we become the largest airline in the free world, we are choosing the Teamsters."
Other mechanics speaking on the call derided US Airways for paying top executives "obscene bonuses" while workers were paid the lowest wages among legacy airlines and were saddled with rising medical insurance premiums.
The mechanics say the Teamsters, which represent more than 80,000 airline workers, has preserved jobs at United Airlines and Continental Airlines and returned outsourced work to United.