Contract negotiations between American Airlines, airport union workers at standstill

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thousands of jobs at Charlotte-Douglas Airport could be on the line. Workers who fix planes, load your bags, and stock food and drinks said their contract talks with American Airlines have hit a wall.

Contract talks between 2,500 union workers at Charlotte-Douglas Airport and American Airlines have hit a wall. 

Anchor Allison Latos breaks down the sticking points and why one airline expert says a deal is crucial to Charlotte's economy, on Eyewitness News at 6.

This deal involves 2,500 union workers at Charlotte-Douglas Airport.

Union negotiators told Channel 9 they have made sacrifices in the past, but now that American Airlines is the largest in the world and making money, they won't accept concessions.

"We certainly don't want to allow the company to grow and leave the employees out of the equation and these are the employees who put the company where they are today," Unions' Association negotiator Tom Regan said.

Regan said some of the things American Airlines and the unions can't agree on are medical benefits, wages, pension, and scope.

The unions worry about losing job protection, especially the more than 600 mechanics who perform heavy maintenance on planes.

"The potential to lose jobs not only here in Charlotte, but across the system in Tulsa, Pittsburgh, Dallas to outsourcing is critical," Regan said.

Mike Lowrey is an aviation expect and said Charlotte leaders should closely watch these talks.

"You can make good money as a senior airline mechanic," Lowrey said. "It is 600 high paying jobs. That is a pretty significant blow."

American Airlines declined an interview with Anchor Allison Latos, but provided her a statement saying their proposal, "provides job and station protection for our team members in Charlotte and other stations in American's network."

Sources tell Channel 9 American Airlines has filed for a mediator to get involved in the negotiations.

Meetings have been set  for the end of October, January, and February.

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