September 2, 2014

TTD issues statement on Teamster raids

The following statement was issued by AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind regarding the raiding of union membership by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“As many of you are aware, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has increased raiding activities directed at TTD affiliates. At a time when the labor movement – and more importantly, its membership – is under constant attack in Washington, at the state and local government level and on the job, these raids are weakening our movement and should not be tolerated.

“Specifically, the IBT has filed for an election with the National Mediation Board (NMB) to represent US Airways mechanics who are longtime IAM members. This election has now been ordered for July 8 by the NMB. Simultaneously, the IBT has filed for an election with the NMB to represent American Airlines mechanics who have been TWU members for decades.

“These raids are especially egregious and ill-timed. As you know, US Airways and American have a pending merger before our government and by all accounts, the merger is headed towards approval. Clearly, IBT is attempting to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty surrounding this merger, and to position itself to represent the combined mechanics workforce once the merger is consummated. This is not how to grow our movement.

“It is significant that American Airlines is just emerging from bankruptcy where TWU has had to wage a difficult fight under badly rigged bankruptcy rules to defend its members. Similarly, the IAM has represented mechanics at U.S. Airways through mergers and difficult economic challenges and the union is fighting to secure a new contract in the face of company stonewalling. Another important fact is that the IAM and TWU reached a joint council agreement in May to represent the employees together – a forward-looking approach to dealing with the wrenching employee challenges stemming from mergers. This will combine the strength of the two unions in representing workers at the new American Airlines who will be employed at the world’s largest airline.

“TTD stands solidly and completely against these raids. We will lend any assistance needed and urge all affiliates to do so as well. I have directed the TTD staff to no longer work or cooperate with the IBT on legislative or political activity in Washington. While we have had many transportation labor issues in common with IBT, we can no longer conduct business as usual while these raiding activities continue.

“In addition to the raids against the TWU and IAM, I know that IBT has raided other TTD unions. Recently, the IBT attempted to raid SMART – Transportation Division bus drivers in Charlotte, N.C. Fortunately, this raid was defeated by a vote of 268-94. Similarly, in 2012 IBT failed in its bid to raid SMART-represented bus drivers in Pennsylvania. We would appreciate receiving any information regarding other IBT raids against your union.

“This is of course a very challenging time for the labor movement and for the workers we represent. The last thing we need is to spend time, money and other resources on these types of destructive raids. It is my sincere hope that the IBT raids will be rejected and that this predatory behavior will end. More than 9 out of 10 private sector workers in America do not have collective bargaining. Surely, IBT could redirect its organizing resources to giving voice to those workers that desperately need union representation.”