This Day On The Street
Continue to site
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

US Airways' Biggest Union Wants Contracts Before It Backs Merger

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- Hundreds of US Airways (LCC) employees are in Washington, lobbying members of Congress to support a planned merger with American (AAMRQ), despite opposition from the Justice Department.

Supporters do not, however, include leaders and members of the International Association of Machinists, the largest union at US Airways, representing about 3,500 mechanics and 5,800 fleet service workers.

"I think it raises a red flag with members of Congress when the largest labor group is not involved with the lobbying," said Bill Wise, president of IAM Local 1725 in Charlotte.

The Justice Department's 57-page complaint opposing the merger focuses on protecting consumers by preserving the low fares offered on some one-stop routes by US Airways. But it doesn't mention that US Airways earns lower revenue per available seat mile on comparable routes than bigger competitors do, and that it compensates for lower revenue by paying its employees less than their peers at bigger rivals.

Many employees were to receive contract improvements triggered by the merger: US Airways has estimated the gain in employee compensation at about $400 million annually. The biggest beneficiaries would be US Airways pilots. Pilots from both US Airways and from the former America West -- the two airlines merged in 2005 -- have below-industry standard contracts. East pilots have had bankruptcy contracts since 2003. For them, a merger means a new contract that over six years would provide $1.6 billion worth of benefits, including pay raises of 13% to 35% over existing rates and lump sum payments around $10,000 each.

But US Airways mechanics and fleet service workers are looking to make contract gains through negotiations, which have been stalled since their two contracts became amendable 21 months ago on Jan. 2, 2012. IAM members, primarily fleet service workers, picketed Friday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Talks have been delayed by the airline's merger efforts and by a failed effort by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to organize the mechanics. That effort began late in 2012 and ended in August, when the Teamsters lost a representation election .
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
LCC $0.00 0.00%
AAPL $95.10 -0.08%
FB $117.58 0.13%
GOOG $694.57 0.32%
TSLA $232.07 -0.11%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,718.82 -32.09 -0.18%
S&P 500 2,054.49 -8.88 -0.43%
NASDAQ 4,744.7920 -18.4320 -0.39%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs