American Airlines Resuming Negotiations With Mechanics

Filed Under: American, Unions

American has had huge problems with their mechanics the past few months. Management and the union representing mechanics haven’t been able to agree on a contract, and talks broke off in April.

Ever since, mechanics have been accused of intentionally delaying flights as a way of slowing down American’s operations.

With that in mind, there’s some potentially positive news today.

American Airlines & TWU IAM Resuming Negotiations

It has just been revealed that mediation for negotiations between American Airlines and the TWU-IAM will soon resume. TWU-IAM represents nearly 30,000 American Airlines ground workers, and is the largest union at American Airlines.

The talks are expected to be held on Monday, September 16, 2019, through Thursday, September 19, 2019. This will happen in Washington DC at the National Mediation Board.

Union representatives already met with the National Mediation Board on August 29 to outline their views on negotiations.

As TWU-IAM Association Director Sito Pantoja says:

“Our meeting with the NMB was positive and we are optimistic that resumption of negotiations will be productive. It’s now time for the company to keep its word and give our members the industry-leading contract they promised. I thank our members for their incredible patience during this process.”

Meanwhile TWU-IAM Association Vice Director Alex Garcia had the following to say:

“The delays in this process have been frustrating for our members but they have remained fully supportive of the Association. We will use this opportunity to finally close these negotiations, if American Airlines is a willing partner.”

I haven’t seen American management make any statements regarding this, which is why I’m only quoting union officials for now.

American Management Has The Upper Hand

Over the summer American Airlines filed a lawsuit against their mechanics, accusing them of intentionally slowing down the operation. The facts seem to support this.

American won this court case, and just recently a US federal court issued a permanent injunction against American’s mechanics union. The judge determined that union members conducted a concerted slowdown, and that the union failed to take every reasonable action to prevent or stop it.

The unions are now required to do everything they can to tell mechanics that a slowdown is illegal, including possibly fining their own members.

The head of TWU has had incredibly harsh words for American management, including threatening the bloodiest, ugliest battle that the United States labor movement has ever seen.

However, at this point the union doesn’t have that much leverage. They’re not actively negotiating, and they’re potentially in big trouble if they continue with delaying flights.

Hopefully management and the union can come to an agreement, and they can go back to running an only slightly messy operation, rather than what they’re currently doing.

So if the two sides are smart they’ll come to an agreement — American can maybe make some small concessions and the mechanics can hail it as a victory (even if it’s a far cry from what they want), realizing that they don’t have a chance of doing much better, and enough damage has been done already.

How do you see this playing out?

Comments
  1. Sounds like American Management does not want a new contract.. Can you say “Reorganization” (Bankruptcy).. $54 Billion in debt, $5 Billion is Cash.

  2. AirlineGod nailed it. Lord knows the airlines declare bankruptcy like the rest of us eat lunch.

    You’d think they’d reform bankruptcy laws to prevent this sort of revolving door of debt avoidance and actually force airlines to meet their obligations.

  3. I am retired from American as a Crew Chief Mechanic 20 years ago. It was a grest company then. It seems to me Mr. Parker only cares about the bottom line and not his people. Take care of your people snd they will take care of the company

  4. The company might or might not have the upper hand but they cannot merge the company without an agreement with Mechanics and Fleet Service workers. They will continue to have 2 contracts, 2 airlines, 2 set of work rules and a disorganized labor force. Missed bags, delays and complaints will continue.
    And I am still waiting to see how a judge can force a mechanic to work or accept overtime that he doesn’t want to work. I hope that gets appealed.

  5. The IAM gave it all up when they agreed to work on American’s metal for a lousy pay raise without even letting their rank and file even vote on it…

    Now American has built parking garages the size of whole city blocks @ DFW and will ckme to the table whining if the mechanics don’t take concessions the company will go under…

    What a shitshow…

  6. How is AA supposed to negotiate with a board member of United Airlines, Sito Pantoja?
    No wonder they can’t get a deal done…

  7. ryby- according to Americans own most recent statements they have group Net Liabilities (which technically may not be wholly debt in the conventional sense) of 55.2 billion.

    James W / Airline God. Completely agree. It’s incredible that they whinge about the ME3 and their subsidies when they basically can just flick the reset switch on their debt pile and in many cases it’s then the US Government having to subsidise : support those impacted. However you’ve also got to ask why anyone would lend them the money in the first place.

  8. This American Airlines management group should be fired en masse. They went from being the best airline in America to one of the 3 worst. You can imagine who the other two are.

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