Airport union workers picket as negotiations with American Airlines stall

Union workers at Charlotte Douglas protest as negotiations with American Airlines stall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many workers who load bags, stock food and drinks and fix planes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport protested outside the airport on Thursday.

Frustrations are boiling over because contract negotiations between American Airlines and airport union workers have reached a standstill.

On Thursday, workers shouted about corporate greed and held signs that warned against outsourcing.

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Most of the signs said, "Keep American Airlines jobs American."

Daryl Current told Channel 9 he is fighting for his job.

"I do not have job security," Current said.

Nearly 3,000 union members work at Charlotte Douglas. The union has thousands of more members across the country.

Workers have protested in Dallas before but now that their contract talks with American Airlines have hit a wall, the protests have also spread to Charlotte, Philadelphia, Boston and Phoenix.

“The company has drawn a line in the sand and they want concessions from us when they are the biggest airline in the world, making the most money," said Sean Ryan, with the Machinists Union.

Union leaders say American Airlines wants to outsource thousands of jobs and cut worker benefits.

“Benefits such as our insurance, our pension," explained Mark Baskett, with the Machinists Union.

Channel 9 questioned American Airlines about those concerns and the company sent us the following statement:

“We are dedicated to getting an industry-leading contract negotiated for all of our TWU-IAM team members. We have the most qualified and most professional Maintenance and Fleet Service team members in the industry, and American is the great airline it is today because of their efforts. We are in agreement our team members deserve the best contract and we are committed to delivering that to them. We are certain that will happen and hopefully soon."

Frustrated union workers said talks have already dragged on for three years so their patience is wearing thin.

Ryan said, “They say they want to provide our members with an industry-leading contract. Their positions right now at the negotiating table are not that. They are hugely concessionary. Thousands of jobs that would be offshored to countries like China, Central America, El Salvador and Brazil.”

The next negotiating session is on April 22. If talks bottom out with no way forward, union workers tell Channel 9 they could eventually go on strike at Charlotte Douglas.

American Airlines controls 90 percent of the flights at Charlotte Douglas so strikes would cripple the airport.

If hundreds of high paying jobs are cut at the airport, some think the impact would send ripple effects through Charlotte's economy.