AFL-CIO president seeks to head off fight over representing American-US Airways workers


The president of the AFL-CIO is worrying that the merger of American Airlines and US Airways will trigger a fight between two unions over representation of airline ground workers.

Ground workers at American are represented by the Transport Workers Union, while those at US Airways are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the two unions should share representation of the airline employees instead of engaging in a potentially costly fight over already unionized workers. That way, he says, they could focus on organizing workers who aren't union members.

Over the weekend the unions disclosed that they reached an agreement on merger-related seniority. That's a big issue in airline mergers because seniority affects pay and work assignments - and, sometimes, who gets laid off - after airlines combine workforces. The two airlines also have agreed to the deal.

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