American Airlines, mechanics reach contract agreement

American Airlines and the International Association of Machinists said Monday that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, adding another building block to the company’s plans to unify its unions in the wake of its December merger with US Airways.

The IAM represents 11,000 US Airways mechanics, fleet service agents and maintenance training specialists. The union was one of the only groups that didn’t publicly support the US Airways and American merger, instead pushing for new contracts for its members first.

The new IAM contract is still subject to ratification by its members, though it has the support of the union’s leaders. If it is ratified, the IAM will begin joint negotiations with the Transport Workers Union, which represents American employees, to unify the work groups.

In Charlotte, the IAM represents about 2,200 workers, most of whom work for US Airways and its subsidiaries at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The new contract includes immediate 3 percent raises, annual 3 percent raises for two years and $1,500 signing bonuses for some employees.

American is negotiating a joint contract with its flight attendants, while its pilots unions continue to work toward single union representation. Avoiding damaging fights with its more than 100,000 employees as the company works to integrate American and US Airways is seen as key to the combined airline’s success.