Skimping on Safety Procedures? Mechanics Union Organizers Sue American Airlines

merican Airlines is being sued by Local 591 — a unit of the Transport Workers Union of America, which represents greater than a third of the mechanics of American Airlines — with allegations that “maintenance directors pressured workers to skimp on federal safety procedures and threatened discipline if they reported too many maintenance flaws” in violation of the Railway Labor Act; and they are demanding punitive damages, according to this article written by Jeffrey Dastin for Reuters.

In addition, the plaintiffs want “an injunction to restrain airline managers from making further threats, as well as a trial by jury,” according to this lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division in Chicago.

The lawsuit “alleges that more than 20 American aircraft have flown passengers while ‘in an unairworthy condition,’ meaning they did not comply with all federally mandated repairs and inspections”, according to this article written by Jack Nicas and Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal, noting that the lawsuit does not specify the purported problems with the airplanes in question.

Some FlyerTalk members are apprehensive about flying as passengers on airplanes operated by American Airlines — but are managers at American Airlines actually encouraging skimping on safety procedures by its mechanics; or could this be a tactic by union members against the airline pertaining to the outsourcing of some jobs?

The allegations have been denied by representatives of American Airlines; and an investigation is currently under way by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States.

“IF the allegations in the complaint are PROVEN regarding flying aircraft that were not airworthy, then AA should receive the largest fine in the history of aviation”, opined FlyerTalk member Mister Nice. “Additionally, IF anyone committed a crime , then they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At the very least, IF the allegations are proven, then the FAA should find any management personnel involved to be unfit to serve in their capacity at AA.”

What are your thoughts?

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