American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways‘ (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) passenger service agents have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. This is another step towards the final merger. The union issued this statement:
In a vote announced today by the National Mediation Board (NMB), more than 15,000 passenger service professionals at the newly-merged American-US Airways have voted to join the CWA-IBT Customer Service Employee Association. The joint effort to organize passenger service agents was led by Communication Workers of American (CWA) which will represent about 7,500 new members; 1,300 new members will be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Agents at both airlines voted over the phone and online in a month-long election administered by the NMB. The results were tallied and it was announced today that the workers had voted for the CWA-IBT Association by a 6-to-1 margin.
“We are honored to represent a total of more than 3,000 passenger service agents at the New American Airlines,” said Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne. “The Teamsters are committed to providing American Airlines employees and our existing members at US Airways with strong representation as both airlines continue to integrate in this merger.”
Prior to its merger with American Airlines, US Airways’ passenger service agents were represented by CWA in the east with approximately 4,700 members and by the Teamsters in the west with about 1,800 members. The shared representation was the result of US Airways’ merger in 2005 with America West Airlines whose customer service agents were Teamsters. US Airways’ latest merger with American Airlines, whose agents were nonunion, led to an election to determine representation for all agents at the newly-merged carrier.
“With our partners in CWA, the Teamsters are leading the way in protecting airline professionals involved in the biggest airline merger in history,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Our union is dedicated to fighting on behalf of workers in this volatile industry. Our new members at the combined American-US Airways now have two of the strongest airline unions in their corner.”
American Airlines agents who have won representation for the first time are concerned about outsourcing, job security, fair work rules and having a strong contract. The agents know from experience how vulnerable they are without representation. American’s 2011 bankruptcy led to layoffs, outsourced job titles, and sharp cuts in pay and benefits for those who kept their jobs.
“I can’t tell you how great this victory is for us,” said Debra Ewing, a 15-year US Airways agent in Phoenix, Arizona. “American Airlines customer service agents have tried for over 20 years to gain representation and the merger with US Airways allowed the Teamsters to step in and bring home a win. This means an end to so much outsourcing for American agents who will regain profit-sharing, shift differentials, a three-tiered medical plan, paid vacation and more. That’s what union representation is – and now we all have it.”
Agents at US Airways have enjoyed strong representation for years and are looking forward to having an even stronger voice in the merger process with 9,000 new agents at American strengthening their association.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways Airbus A319-112 N701UW (msn 890) departs from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) painted in American Airlines 2013 colors.