Airlines Ask Workers to Lobby for Merger in DC

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT) -

American Airlines and US Airways are encouraging workers to write letters to their politicians in support of the merger and against the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit.

In a newsletter sent to employees Thursday, the carriers said they have set up a website where employees can send automated email letters to their elected officials.

“If every one of our more than 100,000 employees of American and US Airways participates, over half a million letters will be sent to various government and elected officials across the country,” the newsletter said.

The carriers expect U.S. bankruptcy judge Sean Lane to decide next week whether to approve American’s restructuring plan, which includes the merger. Lane has said he plans to rule by Thursday.

The carriers also plan to fly dozens of employees to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17-18 to meet with senators and House members and talk up the merger.

“The two-day event will culminate in an employee rally in the middle of Capitol Hill – our voices will no doubt be heard,” the airlines told employees.

Federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has scheduled a Nov. 25 trial on the antitrust lawsuit. The Justice Department, along with several state attorneys general, argues that the merger would raise ticket prices and fees and cut service in some markets.

American’s unions have also launched efforts to encourage workers to contact their local politicians.

The Allied Pilots Association is supporting a petition on the White House website asking the Obama administration to withdraw the Justice Department’s lawsuit. The petition has more than 7,600 signatures.

Last week, the Transport Workers Union delivered a petition to the Justice Department’s offices in Tulsa, Okla., requesting an end to the antitrust investigation.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants also has a link on its union web page that lets attendants send letters directly to Congress.