Merger could hike pay for American Airlines ground workers
By TERRY MAXON
A possible merger between American Airlines Inc. and US Airways has brought the chance of a pay raise for American’s ground workers.
The Transport Workers Union said Monday its members will get an immediate 4.3 percent raise if the two carriers merge.
TWU leadership has signed a memorandum of understanding that spells out what happens in the event of a merger, including a process for deciding how to combine the seniority lists of American’s ground workers represented by TWU and similar work groups at US Airways.
“Our members have made incredible sacrifices to keep American Airlines afloat,” TWU International president James C. Little said. “If there is a merger, their critical role must be recognized. This agreement is a step in that direction.”
The union and American management said the agreement was worked out in discussions over the past month.
The agreement “was reached to give the parties greater clarity on both the costs and integration processes associated with a potential merger with US Airways,” American spokeswoman Missy Cousino said.
The memo “is based on American’s seven new collective bargaining agreements with the TWU work groups and makes adjustments to accommodate the economics of the conditional labor agreements TWU reached with US Airways last year,” she said.
Cousino was referring to the deals US Airways signed with American’s three unions in April 2012, before American agreed to sit down with US Airways to discuss a merger.
The two airlines also have memos of understanding with the pilots at American, represented by the Allied Pilots Association, and at US Airways, represented by the US Airline Pilots Association.
The union representing American’s flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, signed a memo of understanding in early January to handle contractual issues in case of a merger.
But the union is largely relying on the “conditional labor agreement” signed with US Airways management last April to improve the flight attendants' contract, the APFA told members in a Monday hotline.
All the memorandums of understanding will require approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane, who is overseeing the bankruptcy case of American, parent AMR Corp. and related subsidiaries.