4 unions agree to review USAir

March 16, 1994|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

USAir Group Inc. had its first piece of good news in recent weeks when a coalition of four unions agreed yesterday to conduct a review of the flailing carrier.

The review by the USAir Labor Coalition, which could result in major cost savings for the airline, came after the unions reviewed USAir's finances for the past week.

The unions decided that the company's figures showed that the carrier merited a "comprehensive financial and structural review," said Kelly Ison, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, one of the four unions participating in the review.

"It's a beginning of a process. It's not an end result of anything. We're trying to be cooperative because we want to be in business for a long time," Mr. Ison said.

A USAir spokesman echoed that sentiment last night, saying the airline has always been receptive to unions' participation in a financial review.

"We want to work together to find a way to find a way to solve USAir's problems, and that will continue to be the case," said John Bronson.

USAir has been hit by heavy financial losses recently. It reported losses of $393.1 million for 1993 after losing $1.2 billion in 1992. In addition, partner British Airways has threatened to pull out of an agreement to support the Arlington, Va.-based carrier if it does not move more quickly to cut costs, staunch its losses and return to profitability.

Besides the pilots union, the other unions participating in the review are the International Association of Machinists, the Association of Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union. The four unions represent about 25,000 USAir employees.

Representatives of the union met yesterday in Washington and authorized their financial and legal advisers to meet with USAir management and principal investors over the coming weeks.

The goal, Mr. Ison said, is to make the carrier competitive, even if this means union concessions.

USAir is still the anchor at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It said yesterday that it will start offering nonstop service from BWI to Kansas City on April 3 and to Houston on May 8.

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