Machinists President Defends Airline Workers in Senate Hearing

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- "Airline executives have made a
 cottage industry out of blaming their own employees for flight delays and
 cancellations," said R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the largest airline
 union in North America. "It's time they started looking for solutions rather
 than scapegoats."
     "The fact is, our air transport system is bursting with growth and
 demand," said Buffenbarger in comments before the Senate Commerce Committee's
 Hearing on Airline Labor Relations. "Yet this industry has all but ignored the
 critical need for infrastructure improvement and airport expansion."
     "Unrealistic flight schedules, irresponsible overbooking policies and the
 fallout from airline deregulation also deserve a share of blame for the
 declining status and reliability of U.S. air travel," said Buffenbarger, who
 leads more than 730,000 members of the International Association of Machinists
 and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
     Buffenbarger also called on Committee Chairman McCain (R-AZ) to support
 fair and even-handed collective bargaining as the best means to resolve long
 running negotiations between airlines and airline unions. "I am here to tell
 you today, Mr. Chairman, that we object to this administration and Congress
 interfering with our collective bargaining process," said Buffenbarger.
     "We are currently involved in negotiations with United Airlines. We
 continue to demand that they meet with us and bargain in good faith but they
 choose to avoid the bargaining table," said Buffenbarger. "They have found it
 more cost effective to delay negotiations than to reach an agreement."
     "My hope, Mr. Chairman is that you and your colleagues on the Committee on
 Labor and Human Resources can find a way to insert a drop-dead date into
 Railway Labor Act negotiations. Give both sides fair notice that negotiations
 will end. Give both sides an incentive to reach a fair agreement."
 
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SOURCE International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- "Airline executives have made a
 cottage industry out of blaming their own employees for flight delays and
 cancellations," said R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the largest airline
 union in North America. "It's time they started looking for solutions rather
 than scapegoats."
     "The fact is, our air transport system is bursting with growth and
 demand," said Buffenbarger in comments before the Senate Commerce Committee's
 Hearing on Airline Labor Relations. "Yet this industry has all but ignored the
 critical need for infrastructure improvement and airport expansion."
     "Unrealistic flight schedules, irresponsible overbooking policies and the
 fallout from airline deregulation also deserve a share of blame for the
 declining status and reliability of U.S. air travel," said Buffenbarger, who
 leads more than 730,000 members of the International Association of Machinists
 and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
     Buffenbarger also called on Committee Chairman McCain (R-AZ) to support
 fair and even-handed collective bargaining as the best means to resolve long
 running negotiations between airlines and airline unions. "I am here to tell
 you today, Mr. Chairman, that we object to this administration and Congress
 interfering with our collective bargaining process," said Buffenbarger.
     "We are currently involved in negotiations with United Airlines. We
 continue to demand that they meet with us and bargain in good faith but they
 choose to avoid the bargaining table," said Buffenbarger. "They have found it
 more cost effective to delay negotiations than to reach an agreement."
     "My hope, Mr. Chairman is that you and your colleagues on the Committee on
 Labor and Human Resources can find a way to insert a drop-dead date into
 Railway Labor Act negotiations. Give both sides fair notice that negotiations
 will end. Give both sides an incentive to reach a fair agreement."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X04526698
 
 SOURCE  International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers