Sept. 14, 2005 – Ahead of a nearly finalized merger between US Airways and America West, the unions representing workers at the two companies avoided a potential confrontation and announced a proposed partnership of their own Monday. The alliance represents the first major cooperative effort between an AFL-CIO-affiliated union and a member of a new, dissident coalition.
In a statement yesterday, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Communications Workers of America said they were forming a joint airline employees association, bringing unionized workers at both companies under a single banner in order to put them on better footing when dealing with the consolidated air carrier.
The Teamsters recently left the AFL-CIO in order to work with six other unions on new strategies for growing the size and power of organized labor.
Like the majority of airlines, US Airways and America West have been struggling financially for the past several years. Last year, US Airways filed for bankruptcy, paving the way for the imminent merger with America West. At a meeting yesterday, America West shareholders approved the deal.
Teamsters working for America West picketed the meeting to express concern over job security, the union said in a statement. The mechanics and airline management have been in contract negotiations for over a year.
In a letter to members Friday, America West pilotsâ€™ union president J.R. Baker cautioned pilots that the merger could be just the first of many as the industry pursues further consolidation, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today.
The consolidation deal still must gain the approval of a bankruptcy court.