AFL-CIO backs mechanics on Airbus work |
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In their fight to maintain Airbuses, US Airways aircraft mechanics got a boost from the AFL-CIO on Wednesday.

The union’s Transportation Trades Department passed a resolution supporting the aircraft mechanics, including pressuring Congress to protect US Airways workers’ jobs lost from outsourcing.

“US Airways’ plans to contract out the repair of its Airbus planes to a Singapore-based company — a callous disregard of its contract with its workers — is part of a growing and damaging trend in today’s economy,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

The union claims the airline is going to outsource Airbus jet overhauls to Mobile Aeropace Engineering, of Mobil, Ala. It is owned by VT Systems Inc., which is owned by Singapore Technologies Engineering, said a spokeswoman, who declined to comment about Airbus maintenance.

But US Airways spokesman Dave Castelveter said no decision had yet been made.

US Airways is choosing between its unionized mechanics and a third party to perform Airbus heavy maintenance, such as overhauling engines and major components. Some of the European-made jets are coming due for heavy-maintenance checks next month.

The International Association of Machinists represents nearly 2,000 aircraft mechanics based at Pittsburgh International Airport. They and mechanics at other US Airways hubs perform light maintenance on Airbuses, such as fuel-line checks, but not heavy maintenance.

Selection of a third party would yield a major contract dispute, the machinist union claims, which could produce a strike. The airline claims the differences represent a contract interpretation that’s resolvable through arbitration.

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