Advantage: Union Employees

February 5, 2013

All the unionized work groups have agreed to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with management of both American Airlines and US Airways and with the bankruptcy Creditors Committee, providing legally protected raises and job security in the event of a merger.

We have a promise from management that we will get raises – and one came just in time as we prepared to vote for representation. But we have no legal binding agreement for future improvements, and certainly no job security.

Merger talks have intensified and an announcement could come by Feb. 15, when nondisclosure agreements expire, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

For the pilots, a merger would mean an additional $522 million over the current contract approved in December ($87 million per year over six years), plus improved pay and job security, including furlough protections.

The flight attendants negotiated improvements over and above the original term sheets. Under the MOU, they will get $45 million in annual improvements, including an immediate 2.5 percent raise, as well as a $1,700 ratification bonus and a $40,000 early out deal for members once the merger is approved. The APFA also heralded “industry-leading job protections” in security scope provisions in their contract.

Like the pilots and the flight attendants, ground crew represented by the Transport Workers Union also agreed to immediate improvements, including a 4.3 percent raise with the approval of the merger. TWU also negotiated with US Airways to bring back as many as 1,000 jobs that have been outsourced during the bankruptcy.

Agents at US Airways, represented by CWA, continue their negotiations for a new contract, but we are left out of the discussions after the company spent millions to keep us from voting for CWA. The company says it will honor its promise to provide annual raises over the next four years, but we have no legal guarantees. Don’t be surprised if management extends other olive branches before we have a chance to vote again.

American Airlines has asked the bankruptcy judge for more time to file a reorganization plan even as the likelihood of a merger increases. With so much at stake in our careers, and with other American Airlines employees gaining improvements, we must stick together and continue working for a voice and a seat at the table.