Some American Airlines Mechanics Upset At New Union Agreement

Thursday, May 21st 2015, 4:27 pm
By: Richard Clark

Some American Airlines mechanics are upset that the government granted two unions permission to represent them along with other airline employees in different job classifications.

Earlier this week the National Mediation Board certified the TWU-IAM Association as the collective bargaining agent for workers in the new company's Fleet Service, Mechanic and Related and Stores classifications.

TWU, the Transport Workers Union, represents American Airlines workers. The IAM is the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers which represents workers at US Airways.

5/20/2015: Related Story: Two Unions Certified To Represent American Airlines Mechanics

The mechanics are upset with the NMB's move for a variety of reasons.

"I have no love for the TWU, but if given a ballot with the only choice being between the TWU and this Association I would vote to stick with the TWU," wrote Dave Stewart, a mechanic who says he's worked for American Airlines for 31 years.

What really upsets Stewart is that the mechanics didn't get to vote on the certification. Stewart says he would rather be represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which he says specifically represents mechanics.

Stewart, who has supported a switch to the AMFA for years, says the TWU and IAM also represent unskilled workers, which negatively impacts mechanics. 

7/14/2015: Related Story: American Airlines Mechanics Mull Break From Union

Stewart objects to the TWU and the IAM saying they avoided a fight by agreeing to jointly represent the three groups of employees. He says the union membership should have been allowed to vote on the deal but weren't because he believes the TWU and IAM would have been voted out.

"Why is allowing the membership to vote called an internal 'fight' and a waste of resources? That's a ridiculous cop-out," he said.

"The Mechanics of both AA and USAir would have initiated a campaign to go with the write-in option of AMFA and thrown both the TWU and the IAM off the property and we would have a mechanics-only union instead of one dominated and controlled by Fleet Service Clerks and Stock Clerks," according to Stewart.

Other mechanics who spoke to News On 6 shared the same view. Stewart said he and the other mechanics who agree with him will continue to work to vote out the TWU, which has represented American Airlines mechanics in Tulsa since 1946.

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Other mechanics News On 6 spoke to said what's most important to them is getting a new contract and that the TWU-IAM deal is the fastest way to accomplish that. They said they'll worry about who represents them after they get a new contract.

A call to the local TWU leadership for a comment on this story wasn't returned.