BY JAMES FARRELL
Transport Workers Union (TWU) locals picketed against American Airlines in Manhattan on Wednesday, claiming that the airline is outsourcing jobs and has not delivered a quality contract for its airline workers. American, meanwhile, alleges that a contract is being negotiated and denies that they are outsourcing work.
American Airlines operates out of LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports in Queens.
The protests garnered about 400 picketers, according to Brian Parker, the strategic action coordinator with TWU Local 513 in Dallas, who was down on the ground as protests surrounded a negotiating session in Times Square.
Protests began in July and have occurred in several cities since that time, including Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago. The workers claim that American Airlines is moving forward with plans to invest $100 million in a new aircraft maintenance facility in Brazil that is staffed by foreign workers who are not certified by the FAA. Additionally, they claim that American Airlines has outsourced FAA mandated security inspections and aircraft cleaning to third party contractors, who pay employees minimum wage.
Workers allege that the company forced employees to make concessions after it went bankrupt in 2011, but as the company’s financial situation recovered, a better contract was never negotiated. But the real issue, according to Parker, is about the alleged outsourcing.
“This is not a fight for money, this is a fight to save American jobs,” he said. “American is making billions per quarter and they’re still outsourcing our work.”
American Airlines said that it presented the TWU IAM Association with a proposal in July for a contract “that would provide our team members with the highest pay rates in the industry and insure American will continue to do more maintenance and fleet service work in-house than any other U.S. airline,” according to spokesman Matt Miller.
“Nothing in the proposal that we put forward in July seeks to outsource aircraft inspections or aircraft maintenance that’s currently done by our own team,” he added.
Additionally, he claims that the hangar in Brazil is meant to “put a roof over the head of our employees who do routine maintenance work there today.”
“We are not seeking to shift work there or change the dynamic in anyway,” he said. “We’re not trying to create a heavy maintenance base or anything like that in South America.”
The union recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump, requesting that he “look at this situation and let American Airlines and CEO Doug Parker know that this behavior [of outsourcing] is downright un-American.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, email@example.com or @farrellj329.