Workers File A Court Motion On Wages And Working Conditions
By Jim Douglas
February 23, 2012 - The Ad Hoc Committee of Passenger
Service Agents, representing agents at American
Airlines, filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court on
Wednesday to prevent AMR Corp. from making unilateral
changes in the wages, benefits and working conditions of
American Airlines agents.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has helped
the airport, cargo, and reservations agents create the
Ad Hoc Committee so this group would have standing in
bankruptcy court. On Jan. 27, AMR attorneys and the
bankruptcy judge recognized the standing of the
committee; AMR has tried to ignore the committee but
clearly that isn?t working.
On February 1, AMR Corp. announced it would make changes to compensation and other employment terms of non-management workers who do not have a union. On that same day, AMR presented specific proposals for changes it wanted in the collective bargaining agreements of the union groups and currently is bargaining with them.
has not told those without union representation all of its plans
for cuts for those workers, it has said it wants to terminate
their pension plan, eliminate their subsidy for retiree health
care, dramatically increase active employees? health care costs,
and cut jobs.
motion to Judge Sean H. Lane, the Ad Hoc Committee of PSAs
strongly objected to such changes, especially since a petition
for a representation election among agents was filed by CWA with
the National Mediation Board on Dec. 7, 2011. Passenger service
agents already have been hit with wage and benefit cuts,
beginning in 2003 when AMR cut wages by 4.75 percent and
eliminated a scheduled wage increase of 3 percent. Workers who
are classified as home-based employee agents, about 26 percent
of all reservations representatives, receive lower wages and
has filed to represent the workers, with strong support among
passenger and reservations agents, allowing AMR management to
make changes in the current compensation and working conditions
of agents would violate the Railway Labor Act, which requires
that ?laboratory conditions? be maintained while the NMB is
processing the petition.
The Ad Hoc Committee also told the bankruptcy judge that AMR should be prohibited from making unilateral changes during the period between CWA?s certification as the agents' bargaining representative and the approval of an initial collective bargaining agreement.
that AMR management will act quickly to cut wages, benefits and working
conditions are real. AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on
Nov. 29, 2011 with the express goal of reducing labor costs, despite
having $4 billion on hand.
Bryan Wall is a Sacramento-based agent. He says: ?The company has already said it wants to outsource jobs. I know as an agent in a small station my job is in jeopardy if we don't get CWA representation. The company can't do whatever it wants to with the union groups, it has to negotiate. With our upcoming union election, already in the works, I think the company should agree to wait to make changes until after our election. This way we can negotiate a contract that would work best for us and the company.?
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