American Airlines has gotten slightly closer to merging with the US Airways Group after labor unions representing pilots, flight attendants and other staff surprisingly agreed to support the lesser evil deal of possible deals with US Airways which should keep over 6,000 jobs out of 14,200 jobs safe. Airline mergers usually mean that a number of jobs are going to be cut which shows that the unions do not want to have American Airlines go to bankruptcy court & request authority to terminate labor contracts & make up new working terms, while workers could rather have a more clear-cut future where possibly less people may lose their jobs.
Though the unions may back a merger deal, there is no clear indication of whether or not the higher ups in either US Airways or American Airlines are ready to back such a move which would make the result the world’s largest airline.
Moreover, since American Airlines clearly wants to cut approximately 13,000 union jobs in addition to 1,200 non-union jobs (over 15% of its workforce) to cut down in labor costs, it is trying as hard as it can to achieve permission from the bankruptcy court to essentially do what it wants with current contracts, particularly with the termination aspect, & pension plans.
In response to the unions’ announcement of supporting the merger, spokespeople from American Airlines have stressed that the union support does NOT reflect current plans of the company and that it does not in any way move the airlines closer to a merger deal.
The Chapter 11 bankrupt AMR Corp. has before late September to submit a restructuring plan without any outside interference. The company has reiterated that it intends to first emerge from bankruptcy as an independent company before considering any mergers.
However, around 50,000 of the understandably outraged employees of the company have a say in the American Airlines’ unsecured creditors committee and thus direct influence in the restructuring of the company.
Out of the nine seats in the committee, three labor unions – the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants & the Transport Workers Union – hold 3 of the 9.
(Cover Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM / KHAMPHA BOUAPHANH)