Mechanics at Southwest Airlines turned down an agreement on how the seniority lists of Southwest and AirTran Airways would be blended together as the two airlines merge their operations, the union and Southwest said Tuesday.

However, AirTran mechanics — represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters — overwhelmingly approved the deal.

Southwest mechanics are represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.: The director of the Teamsters’ airline division, David Borne, said his members voted 278-42 in favor of the agreement, “while AMFA, who would not release their vote count, claims that their members voted it down. AMFA provided no explanation for failing to release their vote count.”

“It is unfortunate that our members at AirTran will now have to wait a while longer in order to gain the benefits of a merged seniority list and an amalgamated collective bargaining agreement,” Borne said.

AMFA told members: “The detailed breakdown of voting results for this, as well as the recent LOAs [letters of agreement] to the Mechanic’s contract, are being held for confidentiality considerations for the ongoing process. The typical voting results report will be shared once the process is complete.”

There are 1,600 Southwest mechanics represented by AMFA, and more than 400 AirTran mechanics represented by Teamsters.

Pilots, flight attendants and flight instructors at the two airlines previously have approved agreements on seniority integration, while other groups have been in talks.

Here’s a statement out mid-afternoon from Jim Sokol, Southwest’s vice president of maintenance operations:

“With the rejection of the seniority integration proposal, we understand that employees have different perspectives and opinions on this issue, but our goal continues to be the speedy resolution of seniority integration.

“Our vested interest remains focused on our employees, and we fully support a proposal that meets their needs without increasing complexity, creating division, or diminishing Southwest’s culture.”

Southwest said the next step is for the two unions to file for binding arbitration, in which an impartial arbiter would listen to both sides and decide a fair method to combine the seniority lists.

“The company’s preference is that the two parties come to a resolution before arbitration begins, and it remains open to working with both unions to reach a solution that supports a comprehensive integration,” Southwest said.

Post Your Resume to 65+ Job Sites
Resume Service

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post