A group of American Airlines mechanics who are dissatisfied with the Transport Workers Union’s representation have launched a drive to unseat the TWU.
Called the Association of Maintenance Professionals, the group is handing out authorization cards to mechanics at various American maintenance facilities, including Dallas/Fort Worth and Alliance airports. The union says it is independent and not funded by other, larger national unions, such as the Teamsters.
“The underlying problem is the lack of accountability and the lack of democracy and the lack of control of the union,” said Don Rodgers, a member of the AMP steering committee and a mechanic at DFW Airport.
The TWU’s mechanic and other maintenance-related groups are currently in the process of contract ratification votes on American’s proposed contract. That proposal includes pay raises and bonuses, but changes retiree medical benefits and turns the maintenance bases in Tulsa and Fort Worth into 24-hour, 7-day-a-week operations. Votes are due by Aug. 24, and the union expects to announce the results that day.
This is not the first time a group has formed to try to replace the TWU as the union representing American’s mechanics.
In 2003, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association launched a drive to unseat the TWU. The drive did not collect enough representation cards from members to force a vote on whether to keep the TWU or bring in AMFA.
“AMP is AMFA without the FA,” said TWU International President Jim Little. “These are clearly difficult economic times, but a vote for AMP would make things much worse by eliminating all the leverage mechanics currently have as part of American’s largest union.”
The TWU represents about 26,000 American employees in several bargaining groups.
The TWU is also circulating material that ties the current union drive by AMP with the failed drive by AMFA. The TWU points out that AMFA was decertified at United Airlines and did not secure representation of former Northwest Airlines mechanics when the airline was bought by Delta.