Sides Fail To Reach Agreement In Extended Talks
Talks between management and the union representing roughly
14,000 baggage and cargo handlers at American Airlines broke down
recently, after both sides failed to reach a deal on a new
Bloomberg reports talks between American and the Transport
Workers Union started December 2, and extended well past the
December 8 deadline. Despite that extension to hammer out a deal,
the talks ended in an impasse in the late hours of December 12.
"We discontinued the negotiation last night," said American
Airlines spokeswoman Tami McLallen on Saturday.
The next step appears to be mediated talks before federal
officials. McLallen wouldn't confirm a mediator would be brought
in, though both sides agreed before talks began the National
Mediation Board would be called if a contract deal couldn't be
When the NMB is called in, it will mark the third mediated labor
negotiation now underway between American and its workers.
Mediators are also overseeing talks between AAL management, and its
pilots and flight dispatchers.
And just as with those contentious negotiations, it looks like
the NMB has its work cut out for them with the TWU. "The company
didn't seem very serious about getting an agreement," John Conley,
the union's Air Transport Division director, told the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram. "Union negotiators neither ignored the competitive
realities that American faces nor ignored the economic fragility of
the current environment. We gave them our equivalent of a red tag
American is working desperately to cut its labor costs, in the
face of declining demand. While fuel prices have since ebbed from
this summer's record highs, the airline says it's still trying to
recover those losses... and few expect those prices not to peak
The TWU also represents fleet service workers at American, along
with parts clerks, simulator technicians and ground school