Teamsters, IAM battle at US Airways
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trib 30 index drops nearly 5%
- Software developers aim to ease crush of emails for businesses
- EPA talks on pollution limits trigger protests, arrests Downtown
- 3 things to know about Do Not Call registry
- It’s lights out for Bayer sign on Mt. Washington
- Roundup: Huntington Bancshares to cut 200 jobs; Kennametal posts drop in 1Q profit; more
- SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines to end partnership
- French company Iliad bidding for T-Mobile US
- Fast-food scandals in China troubling for industry
- Target replaces interim CEO, names Pepsi’s Cornell
- Vitaminwater goes back to old formula because of outcry