The Transport Workers Union of America and the Communications Workers of America are teaming up on bargaining and organizing efforts at airlines.
The executive boards of the unions voted to work together in a new affiliation. The TWU represents 130,000 workers, while the CWA has 700,000 members.
American Airlines, now flying under bankruptcy protection, is one target for the unions. The third-largest U.S. airline wants to lay off 13,000 workers.
The airline, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Nov. 29, has lost more than $12 billion over the past decade. American is flying normal schedules.
The TWU is gearing up for what is likely to be a bitter fight against the airlines’ proposed cuts, which include terminating employee pension plans. The CWA has been fighting a prolonged contract dispute with Verizon and Verizon Wireless, sometimes with the assistance of TWU members, the unions said.
In addition to transit workers, the TWU said it represents union employees at airlines, Amtrak, Conrail and short line railroads, and Las Vegas casinos. The CWA represents workers in telecommunications, airlines, and other industries such as the news media, including workers at The Journal of Commerce.