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Machinists Organize Ground-Service Workers at Two New Airlines

April 21, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Sea-tac, WA – In the last 10 months, the International Association of Machinists has organized more than 2,000 ground-service workers at two new subsidiaries of Alaska and United airlines.

The union signed a contract with McGee Air Services, a newly formed subsidiary of Alaska, in the summer of 2016, and added about 900 Seattle-Tacoma International Airport workers in March. The about 1,200 workers covered were formerly employed by a nonunion baggage-handling subcontractor. “Now McGee is one of the best contracts we have,” said Tim Klima, the Machinists’ airline coordinator. The union also signed a contract this spring with United Ground Express, a nonunion subsidiary founded in August 2015, covering about 930 workers at 31 airports. “Usually companies resist the union and we have to go through the process of fighting their anti-union behavior,” Klima told the business-news Web site The Street, but in both cases, “we got the companies to agree they would treat the union without animus.” Read more

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