Agents Compare Notes in Town Hall Call

June 11, 2013

With American Airlines stakeholders preparing to vote on the reorganization and merger with US Airways by July 30, agents and other employees are wasting little time in getting ready for the next steps, which could lead to the creation of the world’s largest airline by the end of August.

Among the first steps for agents will be joint Town Hall conference calls with agents from both airlines scheduled for this Wednesday, June 12. “It is critical that we stand together and have a choice in our workplace,” said Daryl Heimgartner, an American Airlines agent attending a steward and mobilization training session in St. Louis.

We’ve already been talking with US Airways agents in joint training sessions held across the country, comparing the difference in our overall compensation and work rules. Representation by CWA makes a big difference.

“What I like best about our contract is the job security because managers can’t play favorites or penalize people unfairly,” said Caridad Ruiz, a US Airways agent at MIA. “The union can fight for you.”

US Airways agents have similar experiences with bankruptcy, except they had the union fighting for them. “I was really glad we had a union because of what we were able to get back after bankruptcy when the company began making money again,” said Kathy Craven, Winston-Salem.

Unions representing employees at both airlines already are working together, including a recent joint letter to members of Congress urging them to call on the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation to retain American Airlines and US Airways gates at DCA, ensuring jobs for our agents.

In the letter, the union presidents urge Congress to preserve airline service in smaller markets, which they argue would be abandoned by the other carriers seeking the gates. “The new American is fully committed to using Reagan National Airport (DCA) to connect small and medium-sized communities to Washington and beyond,” they state.

The letter is signed by Larry Cohen, president of CWA; Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; Gary Hummel, president of the US Airline Pilots Association; Keith Wilson, president of the Allied Pilots Association; Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants; and William Gray, president of Transport Workers Union Local 544.

“We are going to continue working hard to gain a voice in the workplace,” American Airlines agent Sheila Bachtel said in St. Louis. Join her and others on the Town Hall call tomorrow and find out how you can help.