On March 31, 2008, the mechanics of United Airlines voted overwhelmingly to oust AMFA-an independent union represented by DPA's law firm and "professional negotiator" and responsible for some of the most enormous job losses in the industry-for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a strong, international union that represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
The 9,300 active and furloughed mechanics who comprise the bargaining unit will become Teamsters as soon as the NMB vote-of 4,113 for the Teamsters to only 2,631 for Seham-represented AMFA-is certified, expected by close of business today. This group of mechanics was the majority of AMFA's membership.
"We're thrilled that United mechanics voted to join our union by such a large margin,"said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "United mechanics will now have the Teamsters strength behind them in their fight against outsourcing to foreign repair stations.
"United has cut more maintenance positions than any other U.S. airline,"Hoffa said, noting that United outsourced 45 percent of its aircraft maintenance expenses in 2006, three times the amount it outsourced in 1998.
For employees, job loss has always been connected to representation by DPA's advisers, Seham, Seham, Meltz, and Peterson. Not only did this happen at El AI and VARIG, where the law firm represented management, it also happened at Northwest, Atlantic Coast Airlines, United, and other carriers, where it represented labor. The United mechanics have now joined a long list of airline work groups-including the pilots of CAL and FedEx, as well as the flight attendants of Northwest-who have rejected DPA/Seham-style company unionism and understand that being isolated from the rest of labor is a recipe for failure.