American, IAM in Tentative Contracts for 11,000 Workers

Jun 16, 2014 11:34 am ET

(Updates with union comment in fourth paragraph.)

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- American Airlines Group Inc. and the Machinists union reached tentative contracts covering more than 11,000 mechanics, airport ground workers and others at merger partner US Airways Group Inc.

The three-year accords cover three separate work groups and must be approved by union members, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said in a statement today. The agreements provide wage increases and improved job security while maintaining health benefits, the union said.

If approved, the US Airways accords will allow the start of negotiations on a single contract covering 30,000 employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and the Transport Workers Union at the merged American. Such joint contracts are important because they establish one set of pay, benefit and work rules for each labor group.

“Your committees have stood their ground in achieving non- concessionary, standalone agreements that address the current needs of this membership and provides increases moving forward,” Tom Higginbotham, president of IAM District Lodge 142, said in a statement posted on the union website.

The agreements cover mechanics, fleet service workers, maintenance training specialists and stock clerks. Among other changes, the accords provide a 3 percent increase in base pay when signed, followed by 3 percent boosts in September 2014 and 2015.

“We look forward to working together to reach joint collective bargaining agreements for all of the employees in these job classifications at American Airlines,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said in the statement.

Negotiations for a single contract to cover flight attendants at the merged carrier are under way, American said. Unions for pilots, flight attendants and service agents have filed required petitions with the National Mediation Board that will clear the way for selection of one union to represent each of the combined labor groups.