This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

US Airways and American Ramp Up Merger Push as Labor Steps Up

Stocks in this article: AAMRQDALLCCLUVUAL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- Signs of a full-court merger press emerged Thursday afternoon, as US Airways (LCC) and American (AAMRQ) pushed for an early court date, backed by most of the airlines' unions, and two labor leaders visited Pennsylvania's attorney general to challenge her opposition.

The airlines filed a motion requesting a court date of Nov. 12, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where the Justice Department has filed a suit contesting the planned merger. The DOJ has requested a court date of Feb. 10, 2014.

"We are eager to get to court so that we can make our case and explain exactly how this merger enhances competition across the US and the globe, and begin creating the new American Airlines as soon as possible," said US Airways CEO Doug Parker, in a message to employees.

Late Thursday, a coalition of six unions representing 70,000 workers at the two carriers issued a joint statement backing the request for a speedy trial. "Our members want a fair shot at competing in the market place," the unions said. "Our members have borne the brunt of the severe turbulence in the aviation industry. Justice delayed is justice denied for our members."

Meanwhile, Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, and Ed Mooney, vice president of the Communications Workers of America, met with Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, one of the six attorneys general who joined the Justice Department in its opposition to the planned merger.

"It's important to talk about why this merger is important to workers and their families," Shook said, in an interview. "The merger would obviously have a significant impact on the state of Pennsylvania. We went in to try to gain a better understanding and some background on why the state joined with the DOJ.

"US Airways has a long history in the state of Pennsylvania," Shook said. "But what ability does US Airways as a standalone have to compete with the duopoly that's been created?" Since 2007, the Justice Department has allowed mergers for the three biggest airlines -- global carriers Delta (DAL) United (UAL) and domestically focused Southwest (LUV). Shook posed a rhetorical question: "You've allowed mergers for three and you're not going to let four happen?"

Shook said she and Kane, a Democrat, "had an ability to listen to each other. (Kane) knows who she is and stands up for equality and voting rights." But the two remain divided on the merger. Late Thursday, Kane spokesman Joe Peters said, "I can confirm the meeting took place (and) Attorney General Kane has not changed her stance on the merger."

In a statement issued last week, Kane explained her opposition. She said that competition would be reduced and that in Pennsylvania, "US Airways has repeatedly asked for public dollars in exchange for expanded service, but it has often failed to deliver on its promises." The airline largely abandoned Pittsburgh after a $500 million hub expansion, she said, and did not fully repay a $71 million, 2000 bond issue for a Philadelphia maintenance facility.

Although she did not change Kane's mind, Shook said she hopes to make similar visits to the attorneys general in the six other jurisdictions: Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She said she is working together with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American flight attendants, and demonstrations are likely. Leaders of the two unions met Wednesday in Washington to discuss strategies to advance the merger; they also agreed that they hope to avoid competing in a union representation election if a merger occurs, APFA said in a press release.

AFA represents nearly 10,000 flight attendants at US Airways, subsidiaries Piedmont and PSA and AMR subsidiary American Eagle. CWA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters together represent 6,500 airport and reservations agents at US Airways.

If the merger occurs, US Airways' Philadelphia hub would become the principal trans-Atlantic hub for the world's biggest airline and would likely benefit from increased service and employment.

On Monday, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American pilots, took out an ad in the Dallas Morning News to display an open letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot challenging his participation in the lawsuit. "We have to ask: Are you opposed to having a leading global carrier in Fort Worth?" the pilots said in the ad. "Considering everything at stake -- including the large number of jobs and the tax revenues they generate -- that doesn't make any sense."

The International Association of Machinists, which represents about 9,500 workers at US Airways, where it is the largest union, did not sign the joint statement. "Our position today is the same as it was when the merger was first announced: our members need a contract," IAM spokesman Joe Tiberi has said. "US Airways is not supporting our members, so our members cannot be asked to support US Airways' merger."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,380.41 +263.17 1.63%
S&P 500 1,886.76 +24.00 1.29%
NASDAQ 4,258.4380 +41.0480 0.97%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs