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October 02, 2012

TWU says loose seats work performed by third party, TIMCO

The seats that came loose midflight on two different American Airlines 757 flights were installed by a third party company called TIMCO, according to American's mechanics union.

The Transport Workers Union deputy director Robert Gless said the seat issue does not stem from any labor issues between American and the mechanics but instead comes from outsourcing maintenance work.

Here is Gless' full statement.

"The Transport Workers Union of America, which represents aircraft mechanics and other maintenance workers at American Airlines, has launched an investigation into problems related to loose seats on recent flights.

"Much of the work related to seat installation on American Airlines’ aircraft has been done by an outside firm, TIMCO, rather than by maintenance personnel employed by the airline.

"Statements by some in the media and by self-appointed ‘experts’ linking the seat problem to labor issues are without any basis in fact. The facts are TWU has ratified agreements with the airline in recent weeks for all its members. Problems related to seats are less likely a labor problem, but rather a management issue related to outsourcing work to third-party facilities.

"The use of outsourced maintenance is increasing. American Airlines has announced their intention to increase the use of third-part facilities, especially ones located in China and other overseas locations as part of their plan to exit bankruptcy."

"Historically, American Airlines and TWU led the industry in maintaining work in house. This was to the benefit of the company, its workers, and the flying public. This incident clearly reveals that AMR’s plans to replicate some of the worst practices of its competitors by expanding outsourcing are short-sighted and not in its or its customers’ interests."

-Andrea Ahles


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It's a shame to see AA go the outsourcing route, but I suppose they had little choice after all their major competitors did it.

What we really need is FAA oversight of these third-party facilities. That will be tricky considering that most are outside the United States and hence beyond the FAA's jurisdiction.

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