OMG: American Mechanics Union Threatens “Bloody” Battle

Filed Under: American, Unions

Update: American Airlines has won their court battle against mechanics.

Yesterday I wrote about how American Airlines filed an injunction against TWU-IAM, the union representing their mechanics (in the meantime a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against mechanics).

According to American’s management, the union has tried to “illegally gain leverage in contract negotiations by directing a coordinated and deliberate illegal slowdown focused on the maintenance operation.”

American claims that customers have been impacted by 650 cancellations and more than 1,500 maintenance delays as a result of this slowdown, and that the odds of this being random are less than one in a billion.

I’ve said that this is going to get very, very messy, and things are only going to get worse rather than better.

Union president confronts American president

Sometimes videos can better portray a situation than a written letter, and here’s the perfect example of that. American’s mechanics union has shared a video of the question and answer session that American President Robert Isom hosted on Tuesday at LaGuardia Airport.

This is next level. Here’s the video for those who have time to watch it:

To summarize as briefly as possible, the position of the union is that they’ve given huge concessions dating back to 2003, when American was more or less at its lowest point. Now the airline is making billions of dollars per year, and rather than giving mechanics a better contract, they want concessions.

But the way the TWU President confronts Isom to his face is just… wow. Here are a few of the things he says:

“I stand here to tell you that you’re not going to get what you want. If this erupts into the bloodiest, ugliest battle that the United States labor movement ever saw, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re already profitable enough.”

“If we ever get to a point where there’s self help, we are going to engage in absolutely vicious strike action against American Airlines to the likes of which you’ve never seen, not organized by airline people, but organized by a guy that came out of the New York City subway system that’s well inclined to strike power and who understands that the only way to challenge power is to aggressively take it to them. We’re going to shut this place down.”

Since the video is put together by the union it doesn’t capture Isom’s full response, though it does have this part of his response:

“Anybody that seeks to destroy American Airlines, that is not going to be productive. It just won’t.”

My take

I’m so grateful I don’t work for a publicly traded company or one where I have to answer to shareholders. I see both sides here.

That’s to say that the head of union is telling Isom the airline is making “enough” money, and that they shouldn’t compare their maintenance costs to those of Delta and United. The problem is that at the end of the day Isom reports to shareholders, and they do very much care about the relative performance of American compared to Delta and United.

At the same time, our system for how all of this works is just so wrong. Isom’s compensation last year was over $7 million, while Parker’s compensation was over $12 million. “You need to pay executives well to retain talent,” you might say.

But here’s the thing — they made that much even though they didn’t actually do that great of a job. Parker has said that the absolute least American will ever make in a bad year is $3 billion, and that’s what American made last year, which was by most accounts a good year.

That kind of performance is worth $12 million in compensation?

Never mind the fact that these executives are so out of touch and unrealistic. Isom in the above video talks about how he wants to be sure American Airlines is a company that people want to work for for generations to come. Did he not see the results of their employee survey?

Our system is fundamentally screwed up, in my opinion. Isom is doing what executives at big companies have to do (which is often justifying their massive bonuses by not paying their workforce well). And I don’t blame the head of the mechanics union for doing what he has to do to get a good contract for him and his colleagues — they’re not asking for million dollar salaries, they just don’t want their jobs to be outsourced.

American has had big problems with maintenance delays, and something tells me things are about to get a lot worse. Like, a lot worse. We saw the “summer from hell” at United years ago, and something tells me that American’s mechanics might just be replicating that at American in 2019…

How bad do you think things are about to get?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. So glad I’m not hub captive to American! Good luck to those who are…. expect massive delays after delays.

  2. Underpaying your people with the excuse of expectations in Wall Street is just misguided. I have shares in American but think that its people should share some of the wealth that airlines are currently enjoying. Running a company also means treating your employees fairly. THAT will pay the most dividends.

  3. Normally I’m not pro-union, but AA’s management is just horrid. They are anti-customer and anti-employee to a degree that is sickening. Frankly, I hope the mechanics tar and feather the upper management of AA.

  4. i second “Kevin”‘s point. Not being hub captive to not just AA, but to just about every major airline, is one of the greatest benefits of living in higher cost cities.

    Sure Fort Worth’s cost of living is low, but as we can all see, so is their sense of morality.

  5. Small writing tip: If you’re going to quote directly from someone and you choose to omit words/phrases you feel don’t otherwise change the meaning or tone of the quote, please use an elipsis to denote the removal of words so readers can find the full quote and determine if the removal is justified. Both your quotes from the TWU President omit several things he says to solidify his determination to strike by addressing the number/type of people in the audience where he’s making such declarations.

  6. @henry LAX We Texans aren’t to blame for this one. The current US Airways dba American Airlines hierarchy of incompetence all came from Tempe.

  7. I’m going to get roasted for this, but putting all of the blame on AA senior leadership in this situation is just wrong. The union leadership is just as bad (as if this video isn’t proof enough). AA’s contract proposal isn’t perfect, but it’s far from horrible. Guaranteed employment for every current employee at their station for as long as they want? That’s a pretty big concession by AA right there. The pay is industry-leading and the holidays are a huge improvement over what the mechanics have now. There are other things that AA should just give in on (health insurance), but the big hold-up, according to what I’ve read, is an area where AA can’t afford to give much more.

    In addition to some other things, the union is caught up on the scope clause and wants AA to guarantee that there will always be the number of mechanics at AA that there are now, which completely ignores the way that businesses work. Numbers ebb and flow as technology, and, yes, outsourcing, prove to be valid replacements for some work done in-house. Instead of being willing to negotiate on this particular item the union just keeps screaming that they won’t negotiate this point. In other words, both sides are at fault here because both refuse to bend on certain items. Either way, it’s pretty obvious that all of AA’s fliers are in for a long summer.

  8. henry LAX says, “Sure Fort Worth’s cost of living is low, but as we can all see, so is their sense of morality”.

    I have lived in Fort Worth for 58 years and my morality is just fine. Don’t throw all of the people that live in Fort Worth into this. This belongs to American Airlines that is based in Fort Worth not on the people that live here.

  9. Your AA flights are usually delayed as they cite “mechanical reasons”, right, Ben? Clearly that shows that they care about maintenance, right? ;). I think the union should go on strike. See how that’ll affect AA’s operations

  10. The union guy comes across as completely unprofessional and almost like a tough guy – “We are going to fight you.” The executive, at least here, appears to be trying to find common ground. Granted, I do not know the details of their labor issues and whether the union has a legitimate argument. However, as Lucky alludes to in the article, the union guy is naive if he thinks that a corporation does not benchmark its performance to its competitors.

    Benchmarking ultimately goes to a company’s ability to be competitive and a strong participant in its industry. The union leader keeps citing a profit dollar value that alone sounds like – a lot a tactic that unions use? But by itself it says little without knowing the total revenue (speaks to margins), invested capital (speaks to returns), etc. These are all legitimate financial metrics that, if they lag, will lead to bigger issues down the road. As Lucky says, management reports to shareholders and most of these shareholders are not individuals like us but rather include activist investors, mutual funds, pension funds, etc. who are laser-focused on their returns due to THEIR fiduciary duties. If management lets these metrics lag, there will be a push to replace management, implement more painful measures later (i.e. prevention is better than cure), etc.

    That is a big problem I have with unions – they are myopic and rarely see a big picture. I get that they are there to represent their members’ interest but if their demands are ultimately economically unsound, they hurt not only the company but also themselves. This is one of many reasons I am almost always opposed to the union position. I also do not like the “us vs. them” mentality they foster with their employer. I see myself as part of my employer, part of the team. I do not see my company as my adversary. If my company succeeds, hopefully in part due to the value I am providing in my work, I succeed. If the unions were more reasonable, I would probably be more disposed to side with them at times. Perhaps this is one of those rare exceptions. But the tone of the union leader does not make me think their position is well thought-out and supported.

  11. This is a case of upper management being completely out of touch with their middle management and workers. I applaud the union for standing up for their welfare. Viva la revolucion!

  12. Far from being “broken” this is how capitalism works. The tension between labor and management is nothing new. It will all get worked out through the usual mechanisms with both sides making some concessions after a potentially difficult faceoff. If it takes an actual strike for that to occur, so be it. Might be inconvenient for some but life will go on as normal afterwards.

  13. Whatever is the situation, the union guy is totally unprofessional, he is literally thretening AA to distroy them. He doesnt understand that if you distroy AA, he wont have a job. The way he is behaving it leads me to believe that AAs lawsuit is probably right.

  14. Ex-AmericaWest leadership at AA. Ex-US Airways/Eastern Shuttle leadership at the IAM. Even when American had union issues with the pilots and flight attendants, it had good relations with the mechanics represented by the TWU. The IAM ultimately shut down Eastern Airlines even though they had to know that they would never, ever have jobs as good as they had. Same thing could happen at AA. Good luck finding jobs that pay as much in Tulsa.

  15. CEO’s and executives of publicly traded companies are there to ensure the company performs for the SHAREHOLDERS…period. $3B in profit is irrelevant to the discussion. It’s what that $3B represents as a percentage of revenue. If investors choose to move their investments to Delta instead of American, watch how quickly the stock will fall and the airline will fail…this is basic capitalism. Unions are there for one purpose…the unions…not their workers. If the unions give up positions, they lose unions dues and influence over their workforce…it’s been this way for decades. Sadly, there’s not much American can do to break the impasse without negatively impacting the traveling public. I just hope I don’t have to travel American anytime soon.

  16. In a free society, the company would hold the same level of control as the union, i.e. the right of a “mass firing”. It’s simply an option they should possess.

  17. If the mechanics union chooses to strike I will support them. I fly AA often and have tickets booked this summer. AA should do what the union is asking, and it’s nice to see some backbone and some fiery class politics from working people in 2019.

  18. Doug Parker’s $12 million annual compensation is based on AA stock price. His monetary compensation is $0 and he isn’t even in the company’s payroll. Thus if AA stock price increases, then Doug will be rewarded but if it tanks, then Doug’s pay also decreases. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about his compensation a few days ago.

  19. The union leader acts like a mob boss which may play well with other union members but is a losing strategy. He never shuts up to let anyone else speak, no wonder “negotiations” have stalled. The problem for the union is that management can afford to play the long game and even if they strike, eventually they will capitulate because they need their jobs and their paychecks. AA could lose millions in the short term but they have the potential to outsource and save millions in the long term or in the extreme break the union. Management has the upper hand.

  20. Unions just suck. A job guarantee? What’s the incentive there? Trump should tax CEO pay above $5M too.

  21. Workers of the World Unite! and we’re only on our way to perfection…

    I support the workers and believe the ultimate success of the company relies on happy productive employees. AA executives have NOT earn their salaries. But it should be clear than threats of violence and use of violet terminology is not OK.

    The immoral harm lies in Wall Street and the Oligarchy’s obsession with short term gains and total control of workers.

  22. The TWU-IAM should I think back to what Northwest did to AMFA when they struck the carrier. Northwest wrote the book on union busting, and every airline CEO has read it carefully. The TWU-IAM will not win this battle.

  23. The Union may have valid concerns but this Union rep is an a**. 1, get your math right. 2, stop focusing on “last year” and look at the airlines historical profitability. There are a lot of unprofitable years in there that easily wipe out lots of the profit that the airline has recently seen. 3, know the title of the person you are speaking to. 4, be professional.

    Regardless of concerns regarding the contract, if I was a Union member, I sure wouldn’t want this retard representing me.

  24. AA was not in bankruptcy in 2003. They got concessions from all the labor groups to avoid going into bankruptcy. AA entered bankruptcy in 2011 the last of the legacies to do so.

  25. Every worker in this country should have someone like that negotiating for them that has that kind of leverage over management.

  26. I am in agreement with @JAMES. In a time where social responsibility is declining and the income equality is diverging, leaders must emerge to lead towards a re-balancing.

  27. “they’re not asking for million dollar salaries, they just don’t want their jobs to be outsourced.”

    This isn’t quite right, it’s not ‘their’ jobs (existing employee jobs) they don’t want outsourced. TWU-IAM wouldn’t see their existing members’ jobs outsourced. Existing employees would still be guaranteed their jobs under the proposed contract. But the average age of AA mechanics is 55+ and it would allow AA to begin outsourcing as existing employees retire.

  28. TWU-IAM is trash. Trying to “destroy” your own company. Brilliant. Do they deserve a new much better deal? Of course. But costing the company money just means there’s less to give you. Not to mention 3 billion being “enough”. That’s not exactly how it works in the real world with a fiduciary duty to shareholders.

  29. This will work out for the union, just like it did for Hostess and countless other companies;

    “About 400 workers began picking up what is presumably their final paychecks as Hostess shut down 33 snack-food factories and 565 distribution centers nationwide and began what it is calling a “liquidation” of the company. The move followed lengthy, acrimonious negotiations between the company and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM).”

    I’d be interested to see how tough guy makes out when he’s having to stand in line at the unemployment office.

    People who believe that a union represents them are fooling themselves. Unions only exist to enrich the union leaders and donate to the political hacks who protect them. No one is forcing anyone to take a job, or stick around in a job that sucks.

  30. Of course TWU wouldn’t want to let AA outsource mechanics as the existing ones age out. More mechanics means more bargaining power. Once AA outsource it to various cities, TWU will no longer have any leverage. They are not stupid, they see where it is going if they make this concession. I can’t say I blame them. I would say this is more important that health care and pay and TWU knows that.

    It also makes sense that AA wants to outsource like United and Delta. Heck, if I am the management, I move the whole thing just south of the American border where it is cheaper and not so far from Dallas.

    I look forward to see what happens next and thank god I have zero AA flight planned for the coming year!

  31. So typically America, play tough and pull everything you have. Can’t say I hope the union gets what they want.
    And please don’t wear a jacket if it doesn’t fit. He seems to be XXXXXXL but the jacket is double the size. LOL

  32. there is strife with the mechanics dating many years. i remember a story of this parker fellow visiting the mechanics after the us airways merger, they had a talking session like this where mechanics said they are getting paid minimum and parker told them if anyone has a better job offer to take it because he wasn’t going to give raises.

  33. i’d like to add, this is a services company that barely makes 5% in good years. parker and his team should take all stock compensation. they were brought up by us airways. all they know is us airways. is compensation not enough? let them take ask for their retainers elsewhere. let’s see them leave their life’s work because the 10 million in stocks isn’t enough.

    they could use their salaries to pay these people. also no, the union is not threatening its members’ jobs. lol. there is shortage of mechanics. so they are fighting for better pay from american’s successor organization.

  34. No airline executive in the US deserves a 12 million bonus check! They have not done a good job. They make flying miserable. Employees are miserable! This kind of Wall Street culture is toxic and I will argue if Parker is a “talent.”

    I have two AA flights next week and then two AA flights in the end of June. I think I will just book other airlines for the rest of the year. This looks pretty bad, and the way AA is handling it is not great. The 737 MAX will definitely not be back till end of the busy summer season.

    Gosh this summer does not look good for AA!

  35. Rebuilding a strong middle class takes work and my hat’s off to these guys even if it inconvenient to me personally.

  36. A serious mechanics’ dispute and trying to reintroduce the 737-MAX is enough to rethink flying on American.

  37. “And I don’t blame the head of the mechanics union for doing what he has to do to get a good contract for him and his colleagues”. The head of the mechanics union speaking here doesn’t even work for AA. He gets paid $270k a year by the international union. Of course he would argue against policies that hurt the long term size of the membership at the expense of the current members because it means less money in his pocket in the future.

  38. I think I am gong to fly Delta where employee relationships are not impacted by hateful union noise resulting in appreciative service.

  39. Reading this and the comments brought one quote to mind:
    “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton)

    I work in a publicly-traded company, though there are no union workers here. Strong (that is, genuine and authentic) leadership is a paramount, critical requirement for every member of the team to feel valued not only for the short term, but also the long term in balance with the leader’s ability to manage the business. Unions were created as part of the industrial revolution and because power-corrupted business owners with no real leadership skills viewed workers as parts of a machine – exchangeable parts. A strong company with strong leadership should be able to operate sans unions, as most workers feel they have an ownership stake in the success of the organization.

    The almighty dollar drives nearly everything (right or wrong), and Wall St/shareholders are part of the problem. They want more money for their coffers. But before you think all of them are rich white guys, think again – anybody with a 401(k) is a shareholder. Everybody wants their retirement to grow, which in turn means the ‘shareholder’ wants more return, which means folks at the helm of places like AA have to provide a return. It’s a mess, certainly and an unsustainable circular reference.

    I tend to agree with most that the union leader is not being professional. However, if this level of toxicity has been commonplace between airlines and their unions, that is a culture that will take years to undo, and will require a different breed of leader than is currently in place. Indeed, a leader who’s compensation is in line with expectations of the people they are leading.

    Benchmarking to the competition is a convenient term for Wall St thinkers, but it’s hogwash. A strong company focused on providing the best product/service at the best price with an efficient delivery model and an engaged, happy workforce will succeed, and if grown at a stable sustainable pace will continue to do so for years to come.

    All that said, I think it’s time the old models of operating are disrupted and reengineered, because this current model is way past its prime and no longer effective.

  40. I was traveling AA LGA-MIA on Monday 12:30pm (before I knew that day was the 2,100 flights were delayed)……and, on board, pilot said “after doing a look around, I noticed two bald tires that need to be replaced, not sure why this was not done while in Chicago last night, but we want to be safe and need to replace those two tires” .
    3 Hours on board with no AC. I exited and tried for a later flight which was then 3 hours late, as well.
    At 5 pm, I called to rebook for Tuesday. Glad I was not a business traveler with a busy schedule.

  41. GOOD FOR THE UNION! American is a very selfish company. I see their frontline employees treated bad, cumstomers treated like they don’t matter… It’s time someone stands up to the higher-ups.

  42. There are 3 major labor groups at AA. The actions from any single group, affect the other 2. None of the labor groups should dictate how much profit the company is to make or how it is dispersed. The formula is ALWAYS THIS.. ALWAYS.

    Company: We’re going to give them 3% raises. (Tell them 0 raises)
    Union: We want 5% raises
    Company: Tell them no raises
    Union: Threaten labor actions
    Company: Offer 1% raises
    Union:Shout, march, protest.
    Company: Give them 3% raises
    Union: Hey members, we got them from 0% to 3%, we’re great.

  43. AA Management is a disaster starting fights with their Employee’s will be the end of that place..

    3 billion in profit is not that much for a company the size of AMR

  44. So an NBA team has the worst record and worst in attendance but that team’s best player made over $25,000,000. No one is complaining about that! No one boycott’s the NBA!

    But we always complain about a CEO with 126,600 employees making millions.

  45. This is not going to be a 100% popular comment.

    Sounds like the Union will be deploying similar tactics used against Southwest a few months ago: “Let’s see what we can find, write-up, and delay/cancel as many flights as possible until we get what we want. Oh, I see a Seat Number missing overhead…let’s write it up. What, one of the two coffee makers is not working on this 55 minute flight…let’s write it up”. Etc.

    I take an agnostic position towards unions in general. But I also believe that if you really hate your job, if you feel you are not compensated fairly, if you don’t like the working conditions (or even your boss)…….then just quit and get a better job where all of the above gets “fixed”.

  46. I’m a 26 year employee of aa the public needs to no that my pension was frozen at 900 dollars a month when I retire in 2035 I will have 40 years and be 65. Aa took away our retire medical so you are forced to work until 65 we have been in negations for 3 years United was given 40 thousand an employee aa wants to give 3000 we have so many managers who don’t have a clue about the airline .Our leader John Samuelson is one of the best if not the best union leader you can find,the public does not realize that we gave back so much ,let’s back our union leaders and not accept this weak contract.

  47. George in Miami hasalready experienced the Bad Summer of 2019 with AA and it is still only spring.

    In Feb I traveled from my home to Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv in app 14 1/2 hours.

    This past saturday had planned that with an 8:30 am departure from mia to clt then with a connection in clt would arrive to asheville in 3 1/2 hours about 12 noon.

    At boarding time the first flight from mia was cancelled after mechanics inspected the plane and deemed it unworthy .

    We were told another plane would be in service by 9 am but at 9 that flight was also cancelled and we were told to march 10 gates to the rebooking desk which was understaffed.

    After a 1 1/2 hour wait in a long line I was told to go to fart lauderdale airport for a 7 pm flight to clt with a connection on to avl.

    The 7 pm departed on time but the 11pm connection to avl was delayed about 2 + hours as mechanics mucked around.
    I hoped this was not a rerun of mia but finally they declared it airworthy.

    I arrived in avl about 19+ hours after leaving home which put a damper on the next day.

    Ok folks who are better traveled than I am and know the system whom do I kvetch to about this and what can I expect in return?

    Have already paid for travel to BOS in june and have a reward ticket to ZRH in Sep.
    The return travel was fine yesterday from avl to clt to mia. pheew

  48. Can’t wait for these EC261 compensations to pile up abroad. This is at least one field where American is a sitting duck, probably the only one where one can get even with their own deceitful practices against passengers.

  49. Union thug on one side. Doug Parker on the other. Kind of like choosing between cholera and typhus.

  50. Unions always want too much and do not care about customers and where they get stranded!!

  51. Parker and his team were brought up by America West and Northwest. They want to “outsource” as much work as they can via (concessionary) contractual agreements. It happened with the APFA, CWA and now he and his team are going after the Association membership. It should be criminal what they want to do to their own employees!

  52. The trend of outsourcing airline maintenance will continue. Robots may end up doing this work one day. AA made 3B last year but is in debt over 35B which includes issuing bonds to pay for pensions. The Union may eventually bankrupt the airline they always do.

  53. Unions these days as far as I can tell are completely counter to free market capitalism. UAW workers making over $100,000 during the financial crisis when US automakers were asking Congress for bailouts? Yeah, read about that in the WSJ. Oh, and getting paid even when they weren’t working at the plant.

    Longshoremen union workers making over $300,000 a year on the docks in Elizabeth? Yeah, I personally know a woman who makes that. She has 6 kids and husband stays home to take care of them.

  54. According to some people nobody should earn a minimum wage. According to some people nobody should earn more than me.

    We just paid some jock baseball player $50 million a year (or whatever) which works out to about $500,000 per game.

    Salaries are a zero-sum game eventually. Every extra dollar spent on one aspect of transportation must be recovered from some other part of the total budget. So if you pay every worker $10 more per hour that money comes from somewhere. You really happy with 30″ seat pitch?

    Supposedly AA mechanics are the best paid in the industry. Yet almost everyone here supports paying them anything they ask for.

    Check it out. Do you earn more than an AA mechanic? I’ll bet that less than 10% of the people who want to give them anything earn nothing near as much as they do at the present salary level.

    We are a society that thinks it is logical and reasonable to pay an athlete who has a few well tuned muscles $50 M per year yet really hate a CEO who has a few muscles between his ears who might be earning $5 M per year. Where is the logic and where are your values?

    Good luck AA. Someone has to apply reason to compensation. Otherwise we, the travelling public, will end up paying the cost in further deterioration of our travel experience.

  55. I can NOT find anywhere in the original comment by Lucky who “Parker” is ?!? Am I supposed to know ? Like a “JFK” figure ??? or George Washington ? WHO IS PARKER ??

  56. I would really like to see more profit sharing with all these companies. The employees should have a chance at ownership. They are always crying about wages though. With that said, I am grateful for unions. It is because of their constant whining that I got my first real job. Before India, some jobs moved to places within USA that didn’t have many jobs. I was so happy to have a real job.

  57. “If investors choose to move their investments to Delta instead of American, watch how quickly the stock will fall and the airline will fail…this is basic capitalism.”

    Actually Migflyer, no, it’s not.

    If the share price falls, the company will NOT fail. The share price is a reflection of the company’s value, so as long as there is still profitability – which nobody is alleging will be impacted by the negotiations – , the company is viable and has value. The company itself will keep trading as long as it has profitability.

    The share price is irrelevant to that in this context. All that’s impacted is the value of someone’s investment… makes it seem like that’s where you fit in and are trying to make this a bigger deal than it is.

  58. AA can claim profits going to incoming DFW terminal F development so AA won’t have enough profits sharing with their employees. Parker will take this for excuse for sure.

  59. Do not underestimate this TWU leadership. They are not the air division of the TWU of several years back. And keeping jobs in America is what is at the core of this battle. Without a contract this is still 2 airlines flying under one name. The TWU will keep it that way for as long as it takes to secure a good contract.

  60. This is why I hate unions. Often their goals aren’t constructive endeavors to gain fair and decent benefits and compensation for employees but to bleed a company dry, to use bully tactics to get their way and to make it difficult to effectively manage employees.

    Regarding pay, these mechanics already get paid very fairly and above average for their trade with excellent benefits. American Airlines doesn’t even make money from flying planes just from its mileage program. If gas prices rise or another plane issue arises like the Max the profitability is gone. It’s just like the U.S. car manufacturers closing down some factories. Would you rather have a company that is financially sound and shuts down unproductive factories so 85000 can have jobs for many generations 20, 50, 70 years ahead or force the company to keep 100,000 workers and go bankrupt in 10 years in a downturn

  61. Took a round trip on AA a week ago with my 92 year old dad. We arrived very late BOTH ways. On the return, after a 2.5 hour delay it was already after midnight, and 2 crews declined the aircraft, leaving us stuck overnight.

    I’m an EXP this year with American, but I can’t count on American and am booking away.

  62. I seldom agree with unions, but the head of their mechanics union is absolutely right. Isom 7 million. Doug Parker 12 million. They can’t give a small slice of the 3 billion they’re making to the maintenance department working under an old agreement when the airline was under tough times that they no longer are? That’s pretty ridiculous.

    AA is really out of touch with their customers, employees, and especially their mechanics. It’s high time Doug Parker goes away. He’s not running a budget airline anymore named America West, and his mentality (when he’s sober) of trying to run a budget airline when you’re a global carrier just doesn’t work. He’s not operating a small airline anymore trying to save every last dime. This cheapskate mentality he has from America West that had only some domestic routes does not fit for AA that’s become a global airline. I don’t understand why he can’t understand that.

  63. The crux of the issue here is respect. American Airlines (AA) has been in negotiations with the TWU-IAMAW Association for the better part of 4 years for fleet service (baggage) and Mechanic and Related employees.
    AA believes that while they are recording record profits they should decrease the union member workforce as well as attempt to over manage the workforce and increase health insurance costs with a more inferior plan for the legacy IAMAW (USAirways) employees. Oh and abolishing the pension plan.
    This is despicable during a time of record profits. AA’s profits are further diluted by stock repurchases and investments in new aircraft and materials.
    Before the merger AA knew that between both legacy airlines there were many union represented employees and they gave a ransom to pilots which equated to a quick contract same for customer service above the wing and flight attendants then figured that they will do what they want to fleet service and mechanics.
    I know it may be difficult to understand and digest employees talking or threatening there employer but believe most of all of AA employees I know love working in aviation and serving passengers needs but the work groups in question have giving massive concessions over the years and refuse to lie down and give more for corporate greed and the plight of satisfying Wall Street analysts. We want to be treated fairly throughout our careers and would like to retire with dignity. Not a lot to ask.

  64. AA is trash. I’m hot and cold on unions. THey’re necessary, though they can go overboard at time. Well, not this time. AA has been treating its employees like garbage for a very long time. The fact that they’re still trying to operate under a post-911 order set is unreal. 911at was 18 years ago! The fact is that as badly as United handles customer service issues, AA is probably the worst run major in the USA. I’m on the side of the union on this one. The recent employee survey, even if somewhat biased, sheds a lot of light on just how various AA employee groups – not just the mechanics – view management. Simply put, they don’t trust them, they feel that management doesn’t respect them, and they have little to no confidence in their decision making abilities. These are Doug Parker problems.

  65. I don’t understand why we should make excuses for the President of the company and his absurd salary on the basis that he answers to ‘shareholders’ (30% of whom are foreign and everyone of whom can sell all their shares in five minutes between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm on any weekday), while scolding the leader of a union for using colorful language to create solidarity in case of a strike. The lord of the manor wants more, and he wants to take it from the serfs who are just getting by. Of course they’re angry about it. Nobody likes to be screwed this way.

    Note that these remarks occurred just after President Trump threatened to wipe Iran off the map. Where was the indignation over that?

  66. The mechanics don’t understand that their pensions will not exist in 20 years. Ask the other failed airline pensioners how that worked out. The only guarantee that any amount of money will be doled out to retiree’s is to make sure the company keeps flying and stays profitable – right now, the union is doing everything it can to ruin those chances. You know what the non-employee union reps in all those situations are doing now? Living off your dues. So just keep paying them. Suckers aren’t born, they are trained over time to ignore their own demise.

  67. “I’m a 26 year employee of aa the public needs to no that my pension was frozen at 900 dollars a month when I retire in 2035 I will have 40 years and be 65. Aa took away our retire medical so you are forced to work until 65 ”

    “We want to be treated fairly throughout our careers and would like to retire with dignity. Not a lot to ask.”

    Uh, actually in today’s economy (which is nowhere near as good as you think) yes it is. I’d LOVE to work to 65. I worked for one of the most famous media companies in the world (of course you know it) and I literally never knew anyone that retired from it – folks were blown out before they got too expensive. I maybe knew one or two that made it past 50 before the black ops squad got them. I didn’t. Years later I’m still looking for work. The media business is notoriously ageist. Pension? That’s hilarious. Who has one? They are like those old trusses people used to wear to hold in hernias. A relic of an earlier age.

    So yeah , I just want to have guaranteed job all the way to retirement, and a pension. Give me a break.

  68. As a former UAW-148 member & negotiator of contracts in Long Beach, I’m really surprised how one of the union leaders starts off with ” you’re not going to get what you want & this could turn into a bloody battle.” I know about those concession contract as many unions has had to go through those periods in time. What made me so upset at McDonnell Douglas before Boeing bought it out was they kept on making more VP’s & laying off our work force at the same time. Neanderthal management is not the future in the American workforce & either are threats made by our unions members calling for ‘ bloody battles. ‘ Negotiations is exactly what the word means so, don’t go losing your company & see the doors close. ‘ Airline mechanics have some of the best remaining decent jobs left in America, keep American in the air & keep your jobs. Work is what built America. It also sounds like management needs a real lesson on how to ‘ treat people / your fellow worker.’ The same goes for management.

  69. As a Retired AA Maintenance Tech I can assure you the fleet will be grounded in 1 day if folks went by the book…same for Flight Crews…. contracts should not last 5 years to talk over. Glad Im Retired from Aviation…. Love hate Jon Relationship.

  70. All US airlines are looking to outsource heavy maintenance as much as possible. Much of it is done in foreign countries with minimal FAA oversight. These companies pay crap wages, have 1 licensed mechanic to oversee dozens of unlicensed people to tear these aircraft down to the bare bones and HOPEFULLY reassemble them correctly. The airlines are only interested in “checking the box” that the aircraft has been through heavy check. They are striving to send it to the lowest bidder. So as all you commenters bashing unionism remember they are licensed professionals trying to protect their jobs and protect the paying passengers from the airlines willingness to take the CHEAPEST route to maintain said aircraft. Is it going to take a tragic accident to bring these practices to the public consciousness. I pray it never happens but remember who is actually working on your airplane as these companies chase profits. I’ve been in this industry 35 years and I have watched it happen and will continue unless there is a unified voice to make it public. Remember that union “thug” as many have put it has more integrity than any of the airlines upper management.

  71. dfw 88, contract law can be tricky. Airline contacts are only good on average for 5 years and then become amendable. Once this happends, airlines can negotiate new terms. so, this clause about guaranteed employment, in essence, is only good until the contract beomes amendable which would probably be 5 years .

  72. How much do you value your life? In the airline business we provide a service, that service depends on ,2 groups mechanics & pilots. Mechanics have long been ignored, be but without them pilots and passengers would just be bystanders waiting on a bus ! As far as pay and compansation, I liken that to conversation I had with a neosurgon who claimed that I was paid too much! I simply asked him ” on a bad how many people did he kill? He replied 1″! ” I asked if I had a bad day how many would kill? He realized he wasn’t God!: So just think about this when you’re 45k inflight.

  73. It is not just the mechanics jobs to be out sourced it is also GSE (ground service equipment) deicing and ramp services in smaller cities. American has already out sourced all building cleaning and cabin services in the past. The union boss is right with 3B in profits why must more jobs go overseas or be out sourced. A cost of living adjustment without more concession should be acceptable to all.

  74. AA has literally offered to match any other airline’s mechanics contract. In fact, they would be thrilled with that. You should see what TWU/IAM is demanding, it’s absolutely ludicrous.

    Yes, Isom and Parker make too much money. But this isn’t about them. This is about the 100,000+ other AA employees that are going to have to watch the company suffer because of the mechanics’ extortionate demands.

    This issue has already been through third party mediation, which basically said the union was being unreasonable. This will have to go to Congress if the union wants to legally strike, and the union knows they will be outed at that level once all the facts are in the public eye.

  75. AA’s culture is bad and its seems to be getting worse. However, this Union leader is really not the way to conduct oneself. I wouldn’t want to be the one working with him. I see the value in a Union and I understand why companies don’t like them. In this case, this Union is why I sometimes lean anti-Union. This is not how you negotiate.

  76. 3 A.A. flights in the last week – all three had cancellations caused by mechanicals (in one case I had a double cancellation that turned a trip from the east coast to LA into a 30 hour affair. The summer of hell is already here

  77. What took so long?! I’m glad the union has that guy! Someone needs to finally stand up for the mechanics. Did you guys know this contract isn’t from 2015, this contract that has yet to be finalized is from 2003!!! Since the concessionary contract started. Yes they received a raise but their vacation time, sick time, insurance, attendance and so on has not been resolved since then. I would be fired up too!

  78. Outsourcing? No. It’s about time working men and women said “enough.”

    Burn the whole damn airline down. No more outsourcing.

  79. The only fiduciary duty Parker and Isom are displaying is to their bonus.
    Shareholders, workers and passengers be damned.

  80. I’m a pro-union guy, but being one of thousands of people stranded at DFW the last few days sure doesn’t put me on their side.

  81. @ Mark McDannel – thank you for supporting unions.

    These outages are not being caused by Mechanics. They are happening because the new AA cannot operate if the airline is forced to follow safety practices that are standard at every other airline.

    I’ll give you one example: recently at PHL airport, there were no water trucks available to service the planes at the AA terminal. They didn’t have any working water trucks.

    There was one on the repair line, but it was not on the “ready-line” indicating that it had been repaired.

    A supervisor demanded that it be used, anyway. When the ramp worker tried to position it near the plane to fill out the water tanks, it jumped a gear and slammed into the aircraft.

    The employee that was forced to use the defective water truck was fired. The truck had been tagged out for repairs 9 times in the past 12 months.

    Now, suddenly, no ramp workers are willing to easily obey that supervisor when he demands that they ignore some safety policy.

    Let’s put it this way. If AA cannot operate with these safety policies, then AA should change their policies to something that the airline can handle. If these mechanics are doing a slow-down, then they should be written up. Neither of those things are happening.

    This is a management issue that is being blamed on the Mechanics.

  82. So the CEO that represents 150k employees gets paid $12m, but the union leader that represents 25k gets paid 3/4 of the CEO at $7m for representing 1/6 of the workers…. hmmm maybe the union should stop being “so profitable” and let the workers keep their own money!

  83. Union leaders, like local lodge presidents, get around $100/month. District level officers might get $40k/year, but only when they are re-elected. Baggage handlers who aren’t union officers get $30/hour plus overtime and bonuses. Union leadership comes with a pay cut.

    If you’re talking about international union leadership, they tend to represent 600k members or more, if you count retirees.

  84. @ Ben (Lucky) He just made that number up. Anti-worker activists think that telling unions that their leadership are wealthy elites will make them look like hypocrites.

    According to anti-union websites (which I will not link to. They are easy to find), the top earners at the IAMAW and TWU earn less than $1M. In fact, the highest salary the anti-union corporate lobbyists could find is half of $1M.

    It’s a good living, but these guys are heading organizations that are absolutely massive. The IAM alone has more than 600K members in hundreds of companies. No CEO on earth would do that kind of work for so little pay.

    Anti-union activists are enraged that front-line workers might get uppity. They do not want anyone involved in a union to earn even a modest income. No, they don’t.

  85. Don’t know if it’s because of employee compensation or not, but American Airlines is one of the worst airlines I’ve ever flown. Delays, pissy attitudes, dirty planes. I avoid them at all costs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *