SAN FRANCISCO , March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of supporters including Teamsters, United Airline (UAL) (Nasdaq: UAUA) mechanics, Bay Area union members and elected officials joined Teamsters Union General President Jim Hoffa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today at a rally on the steps of City Hall to protest a plan by UAL to outsource nearly 4,500 jobs at its San Francisco International Airport (SFO) maintenance facility.
United currently outsources 45 percent of all its maintenance work to foreign repair stations that are not held to the same standards as their U.S.-based counterparts. If a proposed plan by UAL to close the maintenance facility at SFO is allowed to occur, more than 4,500 Bay Area jobs could be lost.
"In Indianapolis , United closed down the maintenance base and thousands lost their jobs and it devastated the community," said Rich Petrovsky, an airline mechanic at the SFO facility. "It's time to stop outsourcing and mechanics at United are drawing the line. We are working with the Teamsters and we say to United enough is enough."
Petrovsky is one of the 9,300 UAL mechanics nationwide voting on whether to retain the Teamsters Union as their bargaining representative. Under their current representation, mechanics have seen thousands of jobs leave the country unchecked. The proposed closure of the SFO facility is just the latest threat to American jobs by UAL.
"The Teamsters Union will work tirelessly to make certain that the San Francisco maintenance facility remains open," Hoffa said. "United must treat you as the highly trained and valuable workforce you are and respect the hard work you and all the United mechanics nationwide do day in and day out to ensure that our families fly on safe and secure aircraft."
In addition to Newsom, the San Francisco UAL mechanics at the rally received the support of a number of state and local politicians including State Senators Leland Yee and Carol Migden, Assemblymembers Ira Ruskin and Fiona Ma and District Attorney Kamala Harris .
"These 4,500 United Airlines mechanic jobs represent the men and women who live right here in San Francisco ," Newsom said. "They send their children to our public schools, support our local economy and contribute to the fabric of our community. I would like them to remain at SFO, and I would like to see them remain organized for the benefit of their families."
UAL's outsourcing and plans to close the SFO facility has also drawn criticism on a national level with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Barack Obama authoring letters of support for the workers.
"I am concerned about the future of the approximately 4,000 aviation mechanics who service aircraft at the San Francisco hub of United Airlines," Boxer said in her letter of support to the airline mechanics. "It is essential to maintain a domestic aviation mechanic workforce that is highly skilled and provides a superior level of safety and security."
Obama was equally critical of UAL's actions.
"The practice of outsourcing aircraft maintenance overseas raises security concerns and pits our skilled mechanics making a middle class living against less skilled, less well protected workers abroad," Obama said in his letter addressed to the Teamster Aviation Mechanics Coalition. "I applaud your efforts to organize a strong union at United Airlines, and look forward to working with you on the critical issue of outsourcing now and in the years ahead."
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States , Canada and Puerto Rico .
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters