Teamsters officials said more than half of mechanics at the American Airlines maintenance base in Tulsa have signed on in support, as well as a majority of mechanics at 14 other bases. Said Wise, "The cards are good for a year. If there is an election on American property and they lose and the merger is consummated in June or July, they could come back to the combined group and try again."
In a prepared statement released Feb. 15, TWU President Jim Little blasted the Teamsters for "raiding" other unions.
"TWU will put our record against the Teamsters any day of the week," Little said. "If you really want to study Teamsters' representation in the aviation sector, buy a plane ticket to China, where most of
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aircraft are repaired. In contrast, American Airlines repairs the bulk of its aircraft in-house and in the United States and will continue to do so under agreements reached by TWU with both AMR and US Airways.
Additionally, referring to the raid on IAM members, Little accused the Teamsters of "a campaign of misinformation," saying, "look at what they promise US Airways workers on issues like reopening a contract before it is amendable or their lack of knowledge about seniority issues when they talk to workers at American.
"It's a sad history," he said. "The Teamsters dropped out of the AFL-CIO, claiming they wanted to devote more resources to organizing. Instead, they devote their time and efforts to hurting the labor movement."
Teamster spokesman Galen Munroe, responding to both Wise and Little, said: "The statements are surprising and utterly ridiculous."
Another union, the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association, is also seeking card support from American mechanics,
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The IAM also represents fleet service workers at US Airways, while the TWU represents fleet service workers at American. Both unions are AFL-CIO members and they are said to be discussing future representation issues.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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