When American Airlines merged with U.S. Air, there were two unions representing the AMT’s — TWU and IAM. Rather than allowing the membership to determine which union they wanted representing them moving forward, the two unions decided to both remain in power so that neither of them would have to lose, even though TWU represented a solid majority of the combined AMT’s. When the workforce was combined, the IAM workers were elevated to our pay scale, but we did not get elevated to their benefit level. That injustice cost us at TWU years without sick pay and half the holidays of our colleagues at IAM. Had the association been truly invested the members interests, they would have insisted on parity across the board, but they were more than happy to allow the TWU membership to suffer.
To this day, we have separate insurance plans with IAM’s being less expensive. The situation our leadership imposed on us would not have happened if they behaved more democratically and put major decisions like this to a vote. Creating this dual status within our membership, with the minority receiving a better deal than the majority, would never have happened if things were put to a vote and the leadership listened to its constituents. Even if basic common sense is applied, we would have to agree that representation by a single union would give us more power to negotiate and enforce our agreements than splitting our power between two unions.
This is why I have signed a card for AMFA and urge my fellow American Airlines AMT’s to do the same. On one level, this was a hard decision for me as I have been a loyal TWU member for over 35 years. On another level it was easy because we are currently represented by two unions that don’t listen to their membership and put their own interests as organizations ahead of the best interests of the people they represent. Ultimately, it is more important that we have a single union that is grounded in integrity and democratic values and will represent its member more faithfully and that is why I support consolidating our representation with AMFA.
- American Airlines AMT Tom Aurilio