Yesterday, Teamster mechanics and
customer service representatives raised concerns to management and the
board of directors at the America West Airlines, Inc. 2005 shareholders
meeting. The workers’ concerns ranged from potential conflicts of interest
over loans to a former CEO to anxiety over the airline’s possible merger
with US Airways. “As a 17-year employee who has been through bankruptcy and reorganization
many times, I deserve to know where my future lies,” said Kimberly
Barbaro, a Teamster member and AWA ticket agent, in her question directed
to America West chairman and CEO Doug Parker.
The Teamsters Union wants America West Airlines to negotiate contracts
that will protect the job security of its workforce in the event of a
merger with US Airways. The union represents more than 4,000 aircraft
maintenance technicians, customer service representatives and stock clerks
at America West.
“If there is a formal announcement of any type of merger between America
West Airlines and US Airways, we will fight for our members’ rights and
negotiate protections on their behalf,” said Andy Marshall, Secretary-
Treasurer of Teamsters Local 104 in Phoenix.
Another of the workers’ concerns was the potential conflicts of interest
involved in the company’s loan to former CEO Bill Franke. “Bill Franke was
able to borrow $1.7 million in the 1990s to pay for earned income through
company stock,” Teamsters Union Representative Bernadette McCulloch said.
“Doesn’t AWA see this as a conflict of interest?”
Parker responded that the company has implemented a policy to no longer
grant loans to employees.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4
million hardworking men and women throughout the United States and Canada.