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Mechanics don't expect deal with US Air

Mechanics at US Airways do not expect to reach a voluntary agreement with the company on new concessions, raising the possibility a bankruptcy judge will throw out the union's contract later this week, a union executive said Monday.
/ Source: Reuters

Mechanics at US Airways  do not expect to reach a voluntary agreement with the company on new concessions, increasing the possibility a bankruptcy judge will throw out the union’s contract later this week, a union executive said Monday.

Randy Canale, president of the International Association of Machinists unit at US Airways told reporters the group will return to the bargaining table on Tuesday. But Canale said the package of concessions on the table was unacceptable and he was not optimistic an agreement would be struck.

“Our jobs are not for sale,” Canale said.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Alexandria, Virginia, urged the IAM and the airline last month to reach a consensual agreement on givebacks by Thursday or he would rule on the company’s motion to void the union’s contract.

Judge Stephen Mitchell has said previously he wants the airline to survive.

US Airways says it must secure nearly $1 billion in labor costs savings within the coming weeks to stay in business, and the IAM is the only union at the seventh-largest carrier to not negotiate a deal.

Talks have been slow with the IAM, which represents nearly 9,000 mechanics, fleet service and other maintenance workers at US Airways.

Canale would not say whether the union would strike US Airways if its contract is thrown out but did not rule out some sort of job action.

“Human nature is what it is. What is the incentive to come to work for $7 per hour?” Canale said.

US Airways is in the middle of its second bankruptcy reorganization in two years, and has said it could liquidate early this year if it cannot cut costs enough.

A US Airways spokesman could not be reached immediately for comment. Mechanics at US Airways do not expect to reach a voluntary agreement with the company on new concessions, raising the possibility a bankruptcy judge will throw out the union's contract later this week, a union executive said Monday.

Randy Canale, president of the International Association of Machinists unit at US Airways told reporters the group will return to the bargaining table on Tuesday. But Canale said the package of concessions on the table were unacceptable and was not optimistic a deal would be struck.

"Our jobs are not for sale," Canale said.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Virginia urged the IAM and the airline to reach a consensual agreement on givebacks by Thursday or he would rule on the company's motion to void the union's contract. US Airways says it must secure nearly $1 billion in labor costs savings within the coming weeks to stay in business.