United Airlines Mechanics Vote to Become Teamsters

WASHINGTON -- United Airlines mechanics overwhelmingly chose the Teamsters Union as their collective bargaining representative by a vote of 4,113 - 2,631, the National Mediation Board announced Monday.

The 9,300 active and furloughed mechanics who comprise the bargaining unit will become Teamsters as soon as the NMB vote is certified. The board is expected to certify the vote by close of business Tuesday.

The Teamsters victory culminates a two-year effort by United mechanics and related personnel to gain strong representation. A key issue was the failure of their former bargaining representative, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, to hold United to its contractual obligation to limit outsourcing.

"We're thrilled that United mechanics voted to join our union by such a large margin," says Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "United mechanics will now have the Teamsters strength behind them in their fight against outsourcing to foreign repair stations."

"United has cut more maintenance positions than any other U.S. airline," Hoffa says, noting that United outsourced 45 percent of its aircraft maintenance expenses in 2006, three times the amount it outsourced in 1998.

Hoffa also says the Teamsters would support the mechanics in their efforts to curb excessive executive compensation and restore their own retirement security.

"We'll stand shoulder to shoulder with United mechanics as they try to rein in management greed and hold them accountable for foisting their pension obligations on U.S. taxpayers," Hoffa says.

"After two years of hard work, we now have the opportunity to work with the strength of a true union behind us to secure our futures," says Rich Petrovsky, chairman of the Committee for Change, which spearheaded the organizing campaign.

The United victory is the latest in a series of organizing triumphs for the Teamsters. In the past three months, the Teamsters organized nearly 10,000 workers at UPS Freight since Jan. 16.

The election began on Feb. 26 and ended at 2 pm EDT. Mechanics could vote by telephone or Internet, enabling the National Mediation Board to tally the total quickly.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. There are 40,000 Teamsters airline employees, including more than 9,000 mechanics and related at 11 airlines.