News Column

Good News, Bad News for American Airlines Workers

Oct. 4, 2012

Gregory Karp

American Airlines

Layoffs of American Airlines mechanics and groundworkers, about 2,000 of whom work at Chicago O'Hare, have been reduced by 80 percent, as many took early retirements and severance packages, the Transport Workers Union said Thursday.

AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines (NYSE:AIG, OTC:AAMRQ), originally slated 8,650 layoffs in March, but through negotiations that has been reduced to 1,800, the TWU said in a statement.

"We continue to believe there are much better ways to restructure this business than to lay off workers and cut back service," TWU International President James C. Little said in a statement. "But the fact is we reduced by 80 percent the number of job cuts AMR management originally demanded."

About 2,800 workers elected separation deals, negotiated this year as part of the bankruptcy reorganization of AMR. That number is in addition to 3,100 jobs saved during union contract negotiations. Union-represented workers could elect the "early out" and retirement options until Sept. 25, and the result was released Thursday.

The remaining 1,800 layoffs include fewer than 500 employees in the "mechanic and related" work group, fewer than 100 stock clerks and 1,200 in the fleet service work group, the union said.

Union officials have said it's impossible to say yet how many of the layoffs would happen in Chicago because of union bumping rules, which allow workers in eliminated positions to take posts of those with less seniority in other locations around the country.

Since AMR entered bankruptcy in November of 2011 all seven TWU work groups have ratified new labor agreements with the company.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 the Chicago Tribune

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