The announcement of the proposed merger between American Airlines—now in bankruptcy proceedings— and US Airways has drawn mixed reactions from the AFL-CIO unions, which represent workers at both airlines.
The Air Line Pilots (ALPA), which represents the regional American Eagle pilots and many of the regional US Airways Express pilots, says:
ALPA will be watching this merger carefully because we represent pilots who fly more than 75% of express flying within the US Airways and American networks. We will work to ensure that our members are not negatively impacted during the merger process or by any subsequent agreements. And, in fact, they should benefit, as other stakeholders, in such a consolidation.
ALPA’s American Eagle Pilots Master Executive Council says:
Although it is far too early to tell how this merger will ultimately affect the regional carriers that support American Airlines and US Airways, the pilots of American Eagle—a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines—are looking forward to the opportunity to better serve the flying public in cooperation with the merged carrier.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), which represents the US Airways flight attendants, says:
As full partners in the world’s largest airline, we expect meaningful participation in its benefits. We look forward to working with our colleagues at American in improving wages, benefits, work rules and retirement security for ALL Flight Attendants at the new American.
The Machinists (IAM) represents US Airways ground workers who have been in contract talks for two years. Says IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney:
IAM members at US Airways need and deserve contracts now. The Machinists union will not allow US Airways to stall our members’ contract negotiations while it devotes its attention to merging with American Airlines. The IAM is prepared to support this merger only if it provides real value to employees.
The Transport Workers (TWU) represent ground workers at American, and TWU President James C. Little says:
Our members have made major sacrifices over the past year. We are pleased that today American Airlines and US Airways have reached a positive step toward building a stronger, more secure and more competitive airline.
Pilots at American and US Airways, along with American’s flight attendants, are represented by independent unions. Read their reactions. There are about 94,000 workers at both airlines and more than two-thirds are union members.
The merger still needs to pass several steps. It must be approved by American’s bankruptcy judge and US Airways shareholders. In addition, it will be reviewed by the Justice Department’s antitrust division but is expected to be approved.