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American Airlines, Union Fail To Hammer Out Quick Deal

Posted in Airline News, American AirlinesNo comments

Speeded-up talks between American Airlines and the Transport Workers Union ended Friday night without an agreement, and the two sides will now ask the National Mediation Board to step in.

The TWU said on its Web site it will make an announcement “regarding status of negotiations … relative to Federal Mediation on Monday, December 15.” An American spokeswoman declined to comment Saturday.

American and the union have been negotiating a new contract for more than a year. The two began intense talks Dec. 2 to push for a deal, and agreed they would bring in federal mediators if they didn’t work out an agreement by midnight Saturday.

The negotiations involved ground workers, instructors and flight simulator technicians. The airline and union are in separate negotiations for mechanics and other workers.

The TWU and American have twice tried to work out short-term deals, in September 2007 and May 2008. Both times, however, the talks ended without an agreement.

The union and airline have been at odds on a number of issues including pay raises, job protections, benefits and working conditions. American previously has pushed for lump-sum bonuses rather than increases in pay rates.

The TWU contracts became amendable on May 1. Under federal law, airline labor contracts do not expire.

American and its pilots, represented by the Allied Pilot Association, are already using the assistance of a NMB-appointed mediator. The airline and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants began their talks for a new contract in June.

Federal law sets a protracted process before either side can take actions like lockouts, slowdowns or strikes. Typically, negotiations continue for a long time after the National Mediation Board becomes involved.

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