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?