The Transport Workers Union and International Association of Machinists announced on Tuesday that the two unions have agreed to jointly represent mechanics and ground workers at the new carrier once American Airlines and US Airways merge later this year.
The unions said the partnership will represent about 30,000 employees and will be called the TWU/IAM Employee Association. After the merger between American and US Airways closes, the unions said they will ask government regulators to hold a union representation election among the affected work groups.
Currently, TWU represents mechanics, store clerks and fleet services workers at American while IAM represents the same work groups at US Airways.
"This agreement allows us to use our combined strength and resources on behalf of all our members as we move forward at the new American Airlines," said TWU International president Jim Little.
Under the agreement reached this week, the unions designated which one will conduct post-merger business in a specific city. For example, in Dallas/Fort Worth where the TWU currently has more members than the IAM, the TWU will keep its union facilities in place and work with employees. In Charlotte, the IAM will do the same.
"These agreements protect our members' representation, pensions and seniority," said IAM International president Tom Buffenbarger. "Working jointly with the TWU, we will ensure both unions' members are rewarded in this merger."
The partnership does not cover aircraft dispatchers, flight crew training instructors or flight simulator engineers as the TWU represents those work groups at both carriers. It also does not include the maintenance instructors at US Airways which are represented by the IAM.
Recently, the Teamsters filed for a union representation election of US Airways' mechanics and has said it plans to file a similar application for American's mechanics as well.