Unions reach US Airways accord

The Transport Workers Union of
America and the International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers have reached an agreement over the
future representation rights for the close to 8,000 active and furloughed
fleet service workers at the merged US Airways and America West Airlines.As part of the accord, the TWU today is withdrawing its application
with the National Mediation Board (NMB) seeking representation rights for
the merged workforce, and has agreed to work with the IAM leadership on a
seniority integration process to ensure a smooth transition of
representation services between the TWU and the IAM.
  The TWU has represented America West fleet service employees since
1999. The IAM has represented US Airways fleet service workers since 1994.
  TWU International President James C. Little said that the TWU
International Administrative Committee made the decision after recognizing
that an NMB-conducted election would possibly result in no union for the
merged workforce.
  “I believe we have made the right decision for the members we represent
at America West. Considering the current state of the airline industry, no
workforce should be without union representation,” said Little.
  “The IAM will work closely with the TWU’s International and Local 580
representatives to ensure a smooth transition into a single, unified
workforce,” said IAM General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “The IAM and
TWU have worked together for many years, and that relationship will
continue.”
  “A major part of this process will be negotiating a transition
agreement with US Airways that covers all Fleet Service workers,” said
Roach. “Current TWU Local 580 representatives from the former America West
will participate in the transition negotiations alongside IAM District 141
representatives. The TWU representatives’ knowledge and experience will be
invaluable.”
  Little added that the two sides had explored other options to avoid an
NMB election, including a Joint Council or a private election. “In the end,
however, circumstances made it clear that only our withdrawal of our NMB
petition would guarantee uninterrupted union representation for the merged
workforce.”
  Little also said that the TWU Administrative Committee was acceding to
the wishes of the Local TWU leaders at America West that the union not
become involved in protracted dispute with the IAM that could result in no
union for the merged workforce.
  “The TWU certainly hates to lose representation rights for this fine
group of workers and union members at America West. But it would be far
worse if the merged workforce was faced with a future of no
representation,” said Little.
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