Federally mediated negotiations between more than 360 mechanics represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and ExpressJet subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) ended on Thursday, March 30.
The carrier told the union that it had provided all of the wage increases it was able to, and that further bargaining on economics would be fruitless.
Under the Teamsters Constitution, such a “last, best and final” offer must be voted upon by the membership. The IBT is planning to ask its membership to vote on the carrier’s proposed contract in the coming weeks, with a final result likely to be announced in May.
The Teamsters first won the right to represent the mechanics at ASA in October 2010, when it was a stand-alone regional carrier. It was purchased by SkyWest and merged with ExpressJet shortly thereafter. Bargaining on a first contract commenced shortly after the mechanics’ vote, but has failed to produce a contract after more than six years of negotiations, several of those years with the help of a federal mediator with the National Mediation Board.
“The Teamsters Airline Division is very disappointed that the company could not meet what we feel are reasonable wage proposals. Mechanics are leaving ASA to go to better paying airlines. Our Teamster mechanics at United and UPS make more in their first year than ASA mechanics make after 10 or 15 years. That’s a reflection of how this airline treats it workers. We’re disappointed, and we think our membership will be too when they vote in upcoming weeks,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division.
ASA merged with ExpressJet Airlines in 2011. Its shrinking fleet of regional aircraft flies as a feeder for Delta Airlines and American Airlines. ASA flies more than 20 percent of Delta’s regional routes.
“The poor morale, rapid attrition of mechanics and inability to attract new mechanics will inevitably have an impact on their performance as a carrier,” Bourne said.