At US Airways, top scale mechanics make $71,323 annually, with no increases scheduled, according to the IAM. Top-scale mechanics at American earn $75,254 annually with an increase to $77,126 scheduled for September, the union said.

Top-scale US Airways fleet service workers are paid $42,785 annually. Top-scale American fleet service workers are paid $47,526 annually, with an increase to $48,526 scheduled for September.

Tiberi acknowledged that some of the benefits in the IAM contract are better, but said some benefits in the TWU contract are also better. For instance, TWU members were awarded stock in the new American, while IAM members do not hold any stock. Apart from wages, the benefits in the two contracts are "a wash," Tiberi said.

Even if the NMB were to release the parties, that does not mean the IAM will strike. A more likely outcome would be stepped-up negotiations that could lead to higher pay for IAM members. 

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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