US Airways ground workers reach accord with merged American Airlines

The 11,000 mechanics, fleet service, maintenance, and other ground workers at US Airways have reached tentative three-year contract agreements with management of newly-merged US Airways and American Airlines.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) negotiating committees unanimously endorsed the tentative agreements and recommended ratification, paving the way for joint collective bargaining with their American Airlines' counterparts at the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

IAM District Lodge 141 said the agreement provided improved wages, better sick pay, a $1,500 signing bonus for full-time hires, an improved pension, and merger seniority protection.

In April, labor unions at US Airways wrote to American Airlines CEO Doug Parker that while they were "proud to have supported a merger," critical issues remained unresolved.

The IAM had asked the National Mediation Board to be released from contract talks, triggering a 30-day cooling off period, and potential strike.

"We are very pleased to have reached tentative agreements covering the US Airways mechanics, fleet service and maintenance training specialist employees," Parker said Monday. "We look forward to working together to reach joint collective bargaining agreements for all of the employees in these job classifications at American Airlines."

In a message, IAM District 142 Lodge president Tom Higginbotham said: "Your committees have stood their ground in achieving non-concessionary, stand-alone agreements that address the current needs of this membership and provide increases moving forward."

Since the US Airways-American merger closed on Dec. 9, negotiations have begun for a joint flight attendant agreement. In addition, unions for pilots, flight attendants, and customer service agents have filed petitions with the National Mediation Board for single carrier status determination to resolve union representation, the airline said.

The new American, with hubs in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., operates 6,700 daily flights to 339 destinations in 54 countries.