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Latest News - July 2013

July 11, 2013
Transport Workers Union to challenge Teamsters on signatures
Source: Tulsa World
By: Kyle Arnold

The Transport Workers Union plans to contest the Teamsters' attempt to force a representation vote among American Airlines mechanics.

As part of a long-standing feud between the two labor groups, a TWU official said Wednesday that his union has gathered evidence of fraudulent signature-gathering by the Teamsters and that it will file an official challenge with the National Mediation Board on Tuesday.

"The rumors have been flying around for months and months about these forgeries, and now we've nailed down sufficient evidence," TWU organizer Fred McCann said in a phone interview.

After decades of TWU leadership at American Airlines, on May 28 the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed signatures with the National Mediation Board to force a representation vote among some 12,000 maintenance workers.

Federal rules require a challenging union to gather signatures from a majority of eligible workers. Those signatures are compared to a list on hand from American Airlines.

The National Mediation Board is still vetting the Teamsters' submission.

"Since the TWU cannot campaign on the merit of their representation at American Airlines, it has resorted to spreading lies," said Teamsters spokesman Galen Munroe. "We are confident that the cards we have submitted will meet the requirement for a showing of interest and the workers at American Airlines will be given the opportunity they have asked for -- to vote for the strongest voice for airline mechanics in the industry, the Teamsters Union."

The Teamsters union also has challenged more than 1,300 signatures on American Airlines' employee list. The group contends that those people are ineligible to vote because they have been furloughed and taken jobs elsewhere.

The Teamsters has been trying to organize a union representation challenge at American Airlines for about a year, as the company was in the midst of a bankruptcy reorganization process. The company managed to exact significant pension cuts from American Airlines employees and the elimination of thousands of positions.

The TWU has accused the Teamsters of raiding jobs. The Teamsters contends that the TWU has been too willing to concede to demands from American Airlines management going back to 2003.

The Teamsters never released the number of signatures it gathered from American Airlines mechanics and related workers. But American turned in a larger-than-anticipated employee list of more than 12,000 workers, raising the threshold for the Teamsters.

Voting started Monday at US Airways as the Teamsters tries to overthrow the incumbent International Association of Machinists.

If the Teamsters can win over the 4,000 mechanics and related workers, there could be another showdown with the TWU after US Airways and American Airlines merge. The TWU and Machinists unions have already agreed to share bargaining rights after the merger, which is expected to close by in September.

But that deal is only valid if the TWU and Machinists still represent workers at both unions.

US Airways maintenance workers have until Aug. 12 to vote in their union representation election, either online or

 

 


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