IAM Wins US Airways Airbus Arbitration
October 1, 2004 - The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced a major victory over US Airways in a year-long dispute over subcontracting heavy maintenance of the airline’s Airbus aircraft.
“The IAM more than a year ago told US Airways that our contract prohibited subcontracting this work,” said Robert Roach, Jr., IAM General Vice President of Transportation. “US Airways wasted countless dollars on attorneys to fight their employees, and is now financially liable to our members for their corporate arrogance. I urge US Airways to begin embracing their employees as valuable assets and listen to our ideas for addressing the substantial challenges facing the airline.”
US Airways began illegally subcontracting Airbus Heavy Maintenance Visits (HMV) to Singapore Technologies Mobile Aerospace Engineering located in Mobile, Alabama in October 2003. The IAM won an immediate injunction in Federal District Court halting the subcontracting, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on February 3, 2004 lifted the injunction. The Appeals Court ruled the dispute should be resolved through the System Board of Adjustment, which is the arbitration mechanism provided for in the IAM-US Airways contract. The three-member System Board is made up of one Union member, one company member and a neutral.
“The Airbus was acquired by the Company in October of 1998 and the Company was, or should have been, well aware of maintenance obligations, particularly with respect to HMV work,” says the System Board of Adjustment’s decision. “If the Company is now faced with a bona fide dilemma, it is one that could have been, and to a certain extent was, recognized early on, but never accommodated in bargaining. The Company is ordered to cease and desist in outsourcing Airbus HMV work.” ST Mobile Aerospace has completed twelve Airbus overhauls in violation of the IAM collective bargaining agreement.
The complete signed decision will be available at http://transportation.goiam.org when received from the arbitrator.
“This decision reaffirms 55 years of contract language,” said William O’Driscoll, President of IAM District 142. “US Airways illegally outsourced Airbus work just months after IAM members provided $1.5 billion in savings to rescue the airline and allow it to emerge from its first bankruptcy. US Airways’ actions severely damaged the labor-management relationship that is critical for the company’s success.”
The parties have been ordered to meet and discuss how affected employees will be made whole for losses caused by the airline’s flagrant contract violation.
“The IAM will use every legal venue necessary to enforce this award,” said Roach.