Air- US Airways mechanics reject raise- AZ Central

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Mar. 15, 2013

US Airways mechanics won’t accept a 3 percent raise followed by another 2 percent in 18 months, and say the airline is disrespecting them as it works towards its merger with American Airlines.

The union representing the mechanics, the International Association of Machinists Local 142, has been negotiating a new contract with the airline for two years, and officials said their deal was put on the backburner once the airline announced its $11 billion deal with American on Feb. 14.

The 3,500 US Airways mechanics and related workers are scheduled for a raise this July of 3 percent if they don’t get a new contract, but that won’t suffice, union president Tom Higginbotham said. More than 630 of those employees are based in Phoenix. An additional 34 members of the union who work in maintenance for the airline negotiate separately for contracts.

“We are pretty ticked off, really,” Higginbotham said. “We met last week and can’t seem to get them off the dime to make a reasonable contract proposal to us financially.”

In a letter to members, the union said that during meetings last week in Washington, D.C., US Airways offered to move the date of the expected 3 percent raise up from July to whenever the new contract is signed and added another 2 percent in 18 months.

“The company’s position on premiums, pension contributions, and other economic proposals were inadequate,” the note said. “These proposals were a slap in the face to this membership, and flatly rejected by your (negotiating) committee.”

A spokesman for the airline said the negotiations are ongoing.

The union is frustrated that US Airways managers last year reached out to the union that represents American mechanics and offered them a 4.3 percent raise in a “memorandum of understanding” that will take effect once the merger is complete. US Airways also agreed to honor contract improvements the mechanics union negotiated with American.

The US Airways workers say they deserve at least that much, considering their work has helped position the airline for the merger with the bankrupt American Airlines.

“Why aren’t we talking in those kinds of numbers?” Higginbotham said. “They negotiated things with the other company’s unions so that when a merger is approved, they automatically get pay increases, and yet they won’t deal with us right now.”

The next meeting before a federal mediator with the union and airline executives is scheduled for April 2 in Charlotte, N.C.

American’s mechanics are represented by the Transport Workers Union.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been attempting to take over representation of those workers.

Once the merger is approved the workers will have to select which union will represent the combined mechanics.


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