Steelworkers Make Big Gains at American Airlines

TORONTO, MONTREAL, OTTAWA, May 27, 2016 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) members at American Airlines operations in Canada have made significant gains in their first collective agreement following corporate and union mergers last year.

More than 230 members of USW Local 1976 have ratified a five-year collective agreement that will reverse outsourcing and add unionized jobs, prioritize full-time jobs over part-time positions, improve working conditions and provide competitive wage increases.

The new contract covers American Airlines employees in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, including ticket and gate agents, baggage handlers, airport lounge employees and ramp workers who work on the tarmac.

"This is a solid collective agreement that will benefit our members and their families", said Steven Hadden, President of Local 1976 for the USW members at American Airlines. "It will improve working conditions and will allow us to continue to build the labour-management relationship in the workplace."

The contract is the first collective agreement negotiated by the USW since last year's merger of American Airlines and US Airways. As a result of the corporate merger, the Canada Industrial Relations Board ordered a vote by the airlines' Canadian employees to choose a single union to represent them.

Prior to the vote, the Steelworkers represented US Airways employees while American Airlines employees were members of Unifor. More than two-thirds of the affected employees voted to be represented by the Steelworkers.

The new contract includes competitive wages that are superior to the rest of the airline industry in Canada.

"These increases were in order to reconcile discrepancies between employee groups from the two former airlines and to reflect American Airlines' commitment to be an industry leader in employee compensation," the USW said.

The average wage increase in the contract's first year will be about 15%, while total increases over the five-year term will amount to nearly 25%. As well, employees will receive a transitional payment, ranging from $365 for workers with less than one year of service, to $6,500 for employees with 17 or more years of service.

"This is a fair agreement that recognizes the hard work and excellent customer service that USW Local 1976 members bring to their jobs each day and their vital contributions to the company's success," said USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Steve Hadden, President USW Local 1976, 514-526-8280; Mike Piché, USW Staff Representative, 416-543-4770, mpiche@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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