The Powerful Afl-cio Union At It Again

TWU informer

Nov 4, 2003
US Air, mechanics to arbitrate maintenance dispute
Wednesday March 3, 4:26 pm ET

CHICAGO, March 3 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday told US Airways (NasdaqNM:UAIR - News) mechanics it would not rule on a dispute over outsourcing aircraft maintenance, leaving the matter to be resolved through arbitration between the union and the country's No. 7 airline.

The International Association of Machinists had asked the full 13-member 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear its case after a three-judge panel last month overturned an injunction blocking US Airways Group Inc. from subcontracting heavy maintenance on some of its Airbus aircraft.

The panel said the temporary ban on outsourcing was not valid because the lower court lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter, but it did not determine whether outsourcing violated the union's contract.

The matter will now be settled through binding arbitration, the union said. A union spokesman said the IAM will work with US Airways to schedule the arbitration as quickly as possible.

In October, U.S. District Judge Robert Cindrich permitted a private contractor to complete maintenance on one Airbus, but he blocked plans for work on nine more.

The IAM claims its collective bargaining agreement requires US Airways to use IAM employees to perform heavy maintenance work, while the company has sought to outsource the work as it tries to cut costs.