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December 10, 2013

Unions reaction to closing of American, US Airways merger

With all of the news surrounding the close of American Airlines and US Airways merger, I didn't get the chance to post how the various unions were reacting to the merger.

Several union leaders were at the NASDAQ bell ringing event, cheering on American's executives on the first day of trading. But not all of the unions participated or are pleased the merger has happened.

Here's the official statements from a few of American's unions.

Allied Pilots Association and US Airlines Pilots Association

The powerful trend of airline industry consolidation has brought our pilot groups together through an unusual and historic process that will be studied for years to come. Rather than fight it, APA and USAPA recognized and embraced this trend. After many years of unfruitful talks at our respective negotiating tables, we've leveraged consolidation to our collective advantage. Today, we find ourselves in a remarkably strong position, with an even more promising future.

During the past 18 months, USAPA and APA have developed a collegial working relationship on many fronts, which will be instrumental to our collective success going forward. Our negotiating committees worked well together during the critical memorandum of understanding negotiations. Our cooperation was pivotal to bringing a deal together with a reluctant and unwilling AMR management team in the room. AMR's strategy at the time was to demonstrate that our pilot groups could not work together and that no deal would be achievable. We proved them wrong.

A healthy, functional labor-management dynamic must be embedded in the heart and soul of the new American Airlines. Our management team has promised a new corporate culture — we're going to hold them to that promise. We will begin joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) talks soon and expect to achieve mutually beneficial results. A smooth transition from two airlines into one will depend on it.

Cooperative work between our two unions has been underway for some time. Committee members and national officers have addressed each other's boards. APA officials participated in USAPA road shows. Our DCA reps have conducted joint domicile meetings. Our training committees have established an outstanding level of cooperation and data-sharing that will benefit us all. The USAPA Retirement and Insurance Committee and the APA Pension Committee have already made substantial progress toward a pilot-only 401(k) plan, which we hope to implement in 2014. The APA Negotiating Committee and the USAPA Negotiating Advisory Committee have worked tirelessly together on the PBS memorandum of understanding, which is nearing completion. Those two committees have also worked closely in developing JCBA goals, which are being used as a starting point for our respective boards. Our boards have already conducted a joint get-acquainted meeting and are planning another to review JCBA goals and strategies after the first of the year.

Across the spectrum, our teams have worked together productively. While there will be no shortage of challenges to navigate — including an eventual seniority integration — we  must respect each other's ways of doing things as we re-examine each company's approach to training, scheduling, bidding and other facets of our work life. Our shared goal is to ensure that we all enjoy careers commensurate with our status as pilots for a premier global carrier. We are committed to serving the best interests of the pilots we represent with the appreciation that in the not-too-distant future, there will be one pilot group: the pilots who fly for the new American Airlines.

Most of us have been down the merger road before, and there's one thing we can probably agree on: Moving forward, unity will be imperative. While we're not quite there yet, we should now consider ourselves one pilot group. As equals, an outreached hand and a smile will go a long way toward fostering the courtesy and respect we'll need as we look to an exciting shared future.

CA Keith Wilson
APA President

CA Gary Hummel
USAPA President

Association of Professional Flight Attendants

Hundreds of members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union proudly representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines, were on hand this morning to introduce the new American to the flying public.
 
“Christmas has come early for the APFA,” said union president Laura Glading. “It’s been a long, tough slog, but today our hard work has paid off. The Flight Attendants of the new American are looking forward to building the world’s greatest airline.”
 
In a ceremony at American’s headquarters near DFW, Flight Attendants joined other frontline employees for a special ceremony commemorating the merger with US Airways and the first day of trading for the new American Airlines Group Inc. (ticker symbol AAL) on the NASDAQ. The new American, the world’s largest airline, will offer consumers a third network carrier option to compete with United and Delta.
 
APFA members are also looking forward to receiving their allocation of the new American’s equity. The anticipated value of their share is by far the highest in Flight Attendant history.
 
As a member of the unsecured creditors’ committee during American’s bankruptcy, APFA led the charge in pushing for the merger. After reaching a conditional labor agreement with US Airways, APFA focused on explaining the benefits of the merger plan to the other various creditors and convincing them to support it as well. When the Justice Department challenged the merger with an eleventh-hour antitrust suit, APFA took to Capitol Hill to generate support for the deal.
 
As part of the labor agreement with US Airways, APFA prescribed a clear and direct path to an industry-leading contract. The agreement will soon bring American and US Airways Flight Attendants together at the bargaining table to unite the groups under a joint collective bargaining agreement that reflects the size and competitiveness of the new American. Most importantly, the agreement will allow the new American’s Flight Attendants to avoid the challenges and pitfalls that beset work groups during previous airline mergers.

Association of Flight Attendants

 AFA US Airways President Roger Holmin

“Today, we ring the bell to honor our past and celebrate our future. Our history was made by little airlines that could – and did. US AirwaysFlight Attendants have spent entire careers building unity. And today, we stand up for the opportunities that come with building the world’s largest airline.

“We proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our new American flying partners and we cheer the end of the American bankruptcy. All FlightAttendants and frontline workers at the New American know what it is to sacrifice. There is no doubt it is our turn to experience the benefits of our success. 

“Since the announcement of this merger we have met every challenge through unity. We expect to continue as full partners in this merger, in terms of what we bring to its success and the equal share of benefits we receive in recognition of our efforts.

“Completing the financial transaction is a moment of hope and celebration. We congratulate Doug Parker and every employee of our two airlines. And, we encourage management to lead an airline where the front line workers are proud of where we work and who we work with at every level of the airline. That will set us apart and catapult us well above the rest of the industry – only the best for the world’s biggest!

“Flight Attendants are ready. We have done our part and we will redouble our efforts going forward. Our experience shows nearly anything can be done when we stand together.”

International Association of Machinists

The IAM announced it declined management's invitation to participate in the “new” American Airlines’ opening bell ceremony at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport celebrating the carrier’s first day of stock trading on the NASDAQ.

"Make no mistake, this airline has ignored and disrespected IAM members at US Airways by its shameless refusal to settle a fair contract,” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “To stand there with American’s management and pretend there are no labor problems and celebrate ‘one airline’ would be an outright lie.”

IAM members at US Airways have been in contract negotiations for almost three years. The carrier’s management, headed by Doug Parker, who will assume the reins at the “new” American, has refused to settle new accords with IAM members at pre-merger US Airways. Earlier this year, the IAM requested a release from contract talks from the National Mediation Board (NMB), a federal agency, which, if granted, could lead to a strike.

“This is a merger in name only,” said IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney. “As long as this management team refuses to settle a fair contract, approximately 32,000 employees will remain separated and the merger’s synergies will not be realized.”

The IAM and Transport Workers Union (TWU) formed an alliance earlier this year, the TWU-IAM Employee Association, to jointly represent mechanic & related, fleet service and stockroom employees at the new airline. The agreement stipulates the TWU-IAM Association will request a single carrier determination from the NMB, a pre-requisite to integrating unionized workforces. This request will only occur once contracts are settled for IAM-represented workers at pre-merger US Airways. Workforce integration will be delayed for approximately 32,000 workers at the carrier, by far the largest percentage of the combined workforce, until the airline settles agreements with the IAM.

-Andrea Ahles

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Comments

Delta mechanic

Why are ramp and stockroom employees included with licensed a&p mechanics? Delta does the same thing,we have passengers lives in our hands!!

CeoCrookWannaBe

It's because they lump these non skilled clerks in with the mechs so they can lower the overall wage and benefits. The ramp smashers and stock clerks will accept lower contracts compared to the mechs. And in a union shop it is supported by the union because of the magnitude of the dues collected. The only single class & craft union is AMFA which negotiates for the mechs only.

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