US Airways union pickets Charlotte Douglas

A union representing US Airways reservations, ticket and gate agents picketed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Tuesday, protesting what they say is improper outsourcing by the company after its December merger with American Airlines.

The combined airline contracted out some of the agents’ jobs working with baggage at the international arrivals area in May, said Janice Garris, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 3641.

“We’ve been doing everything we can to help them acquire this merger approval,” said Garris, speaking of the union’s lobbying on behalf of the airlines. “Our reward was they started contracting our work out in customs.”

The union filed a grievance with the company over the contract workers last month. Integrating US Airways and American’s workforce and unions is one of the major challenges facing the airline as it works to combine its operations into a single company.

American Airlines spokeswoman Dori Alvarez said the airport hired contract employees to help with new, seasonal international flights starting this summer.

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