January 27, 2009

American Airlines unions seek mediation

A union representing two groups of employees has filed to take contract talks with American Airlines to federal mediation, calling the U.S. air carrier greedy.

The TWU represents 12,000 mechanics and 86 technicians at American, the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

Bob Zimmerman, president of Transport Workers Union Local 565 said AMR, American's parent company, was becoming the poster boy of corporate greed and excess.

Airline spokeswoman Tami McLallen said talks with the union continue to make progress. American agrees guidance by the National Mediation Board would be helpful, she said.

In taking the talks to a federal arbitrator, each one of the company's union groups would be involved in mediation, a rare event for a large company, the Star-Telegram said.

Don Videtich, a union member, said the TWU was trying to regain some of the $300 million in concessions it gave up in 2003. At the time, American Airlines mechanics were responsible for hundreds of millions in new revenue by taking on outside contracts, Videtich said.