American Airlines Mechanics Ratify Contract, Because They’re Not Morons

The American Airlines-US Airways merger wasn’t complete even 6 years after it closed. Mechanics from each airline still worked separately, on different sets of planes with only a limited amount of crossover, because they never got a new joint contract.

American handed out raises without a new contract, giving employees less of an incentive to agree to new terms. US Airways mechanics wanted to keep their more generous health plan. American employees wanted to limit outsourcing, which competitor airlines do more of. And everyone wanted more money.

After a ‘summer from hell’ operation, in which mechanics wrote up minor items at the last minute; slow walked repairs; refused to work overtime; and did everything possible to impair the airline’s reliability (which had other problems besides mechanics to begin with) American agreed to generous terms including preserving the US Airways health plan for a period of time, ensuring job protections, and increasing pay and profit sharing.

It’s been nearly two months since American agreed to that deal, and the aviation world has fallen apart in the meantime. Flight attendants and pilots are in the midst of negotiating new contracts, and surely wish they had gotten one done already. Because there’s no way that mechanics and fleet service workers would have gotten the same deal today that they were offered two months ago.

On Thursday the ‘association’ of two unions representing these employees announced that the contract was ratified. And the deal was overwhelmingly ratified, because their members aren’t morons. Going back tot he bargaining table now would mean a deal close to what they received was off the table. Signing bonuses? Now? Are you crazy?

  • Mechanic & Related: 90.94% in favor
  • Fleet Service: 95.45% in favor
  • MLS/Stores: 92.12% in favor

This is a 30,000 member group that can’t agree on a single union to represent them, yet each subgroup voted over 90% in favor of a deal despite years of acrimony and many of its members actively working to undermine the airline last summer. What could the handful voting against possibly be… ok, they weren’t thinking.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Morons?
    You might want to consider writing for a real media outlet before you retire.

  2. @ Angelo C — What, and get paid peanuts? I an sure this is much more lucrative and no censorship!

  3. Angelo C – did you really tell an entrepreneur with endless freedom to go be a corporate slave ? lol

  4. Gary,
    Please get it right!! The unions were never given the chance to vote on which union it wanted! It was an “agreement” between AA and the NLRB to make the “ Association” the “union”!! No one from AA or USAir had a say in it!! By The Way, one of the main leaders us a sitting board member of United Airlines!! Talk about conflict of interest!!

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