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September 13, 2005

That AFL-CIO Split? Maybe Not Such a Big Deal

Teamsters & CWA to Jointly Represent Agents at Merged Airline

Well, worries that the disaffiliation of unions from the AFL-CIO would undermine the ability of unions to work together in the workplace seems to have been overblown.

The Teamsters, one of the disaffiliators, and the Communication Workers of America, one of the more vocal AFL loyalistist unions, have agreed to an innovative plan to jointly represent passenger service agents at US Airways when the merger of America West and US Airways is completed.

CWA represents 6,000 passenger agents at US Airways currently, and IBT represents 3,500 agents at America West. The employees work as reservations, ticket and gate agents, and also staff hospitality clubs at airports and assist handicapped passengers.

"By working together, we can build a strong, unified passenger service group and protect and improve conditions for employees that both unions represent at US Airways," said CWA's [President Larry] Cohen.

"This joint effort will result in strong representation for all workers at the newly merged airline," {Teamster's President James] Hoffa said

The plan creates a very integrated association of the members of the two unions for purposes of bargaining and other company-wide purposes, although each union will continue to represent their former members on a day-to-day basis.

But it's a pretty impressive testament to the continued ability of unions to innovate cooperation even after the "split" in the AFL-CIO.

Posted by Nathan at September 13, 2005 08:52 AM