Unionized American Airlines, US Airways workers rally for merger

Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:54pm EDT
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By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Union members who work for American Airlines and US Airways Group LCC.N rallied on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, urging the U.S. Justice Department to drop its opposition to a planned merger between the two airlines.

The rally by pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and others also attracted a handful of the 300 lawmakers that the union representatives are meeting with this week in hopes of building support for the deal.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on August 13 to stop the planned merger between US Airways and American's parent, AMR Corp AAMRQ.PK. The government argues it would violate antitrust laws because it would lead to higher airfares and other fees.

A judge will hear the case without a jury in November and decide whether the deal can go forward.

Representative Ed Pastor, a Democrat from Arizona, where US Airways is headquartered, said he was surprised that the Justice Department wanted to stop the deal after allowing other large airline mergers in recent years.

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: Quote) acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, United (UAL.N: Quote) merged with Continental in 2010 and Southwest Airlines (LUV.N: Quote) bought discount rival AirTran in 2011.

Without the planned deal between American and US Airways, "competition will be stifled and the stability that we want in the airline industry will be taken away," Pastor said.

Pilots attending the rally made similar points, with one saying that the Justice Department allowed other airline mergers "without a whimper."   Continued...

US Airways flight attendants chant during a protest by pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and other union members working for American Airlines and US Airways urging the U.S. Justice Department to allow the two companies to merge at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Bourg