As a former employee of US Airways, I experienced the company's chaotic merger with America West Airlines in 2005 and got a firsthand look at the way US Airways deals with unions and their members. With US Airways now angling to go after American Airlines, history is repeating itself.
American Airlines is going through bankruptcy and developing a plan to ensure that it is a strong and viable airline for the long haul. US Airways is trying to short-circuit this process and force American into a merger.
A key aspect of US Airways' strategy is to court American's trade unions -- the Allied Pilots Association, the Transport Workers Union and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants -- and try to convince them that a merger would ultimately benefit workers.
American Airlines workers should not take the bait. They need no further proof than the company's recent track record.
When America West and US Airways merged in 2005, the airlines touted the many benefits such an alliance would bring with it, including low operating costs, greater efficiency and a fusion of the strengths of two distinct companies. But today, US Airways' labor groups are still divided as if the merger never happened. Currently, US Air has two distinct pilots and flight attendants unions.
American Airlines workers have a chance to learn from the mistakes of previous hostile airline takeovers. They do not have to go through the same exhausting experience of US Air and America West employees.
Teddy Xidas is the former head of the US Airways' flight attendant union.
First Published June 30, 2012 12:00 AM