TribLIVE

| Business

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Teamsters, IAM battle at US Airways

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

DALLAS — The Teamsters say they have enough support to force an election with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to see which union will represent mechanics at US Airways.

Teamsters union officials said on Tuesday that they received support of 2,800 of the roughly 4,500 US Airways workers who would be eligible to vote.

The Teamsters' ambitions are not limited to replacing the machinists' union, known as the IAM, at US Airways. They are eyeing a bigger prize: The 11,000 mechanics at American Airlines, who are represented by a third labor group, the Transport Workers Union, or TWU.

Speaking at a Teamsters news conference in Charlotte, N.C., US Airways mechanic Jim Blanton said that under IAM representation, he and his co-workers have endured concessionary contracts even as the airline has reported record profits. He said the Teamsters union, which claims to represent 18,000 mechanics at 10 airlines, is “the best and logical choice” for US Airways mechanics.

The Teamsters hope to exploit unease over the IAM's inability to negotiate a new contract with US Airways. In response, IAM officials said US Airways mechanics would no longer be covered by the union's fully funded pension plan if they join the Teamsters. Blanton said workers who are fully vested would not lose their benefits if their union changes.

Joseph Tiberi, an IAM official, said that the Teamsters became more interested in representing US Airways mechanics when speculation grew last year of a possible merger between the company and American Airlines. In February, the two carriers announced plans to merge and create the world's biggest airline. They hope to complete the deal in late summer. The IAM and the Transport Workers could end up fighting to see who represents mechanics after American and US Airways merge. For now, they're united in opposition to the Teamsters. A top TWU official said that the Teamsters, in going after another union's members, were “acting like a parasite.”

“They are desperately attempting to feed off another organization to cover up their own failures” and lost members, said Garry Drummond, director of the TWU's airline division. He said the Teamsters “sat on their hands while jobs were outsourced overseas.”

The fighting among unions to represent mechanics at American Airlines could get even more tangled: A fourth group, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, is also trying to challenge TWU.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Stocks bounce back from big losses to close relatively flat
  2. Post-Gazette offers voluntary buyouts in bid to avoid layoffs
  3. GNC to convert more stores to franchises as sales, profits slip
  4. Muni bond funds stressed
  5. Kennametal expects to consolidate plants as it shrinks manufacturing in continuing streamlining; profit drops
  6. EPA ordered to ease limits on cross-border air pollution that involves Pennsylvania
  7. Range Resources cuts workforce 11%
  8. Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban
  9. Travelers find direct Web route to Priory’s spirited past in North Side
  10. PPG puts brand 1st in strategy to reach commercial paint market
  11. United Airlines hack coincided with incursion into government employee data