The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters today announced a proposed alliance to jointly represent passenger service agents at US Airways when the merger of America West and US Airways is completed. The proposal to create a new Airline Customer Service Employee Association–IBT/CWA will be presented to members of the two unions for their approval, reported Teamsters President James Hoffa and CWA President Larry Cohen. CWA represents 6,000 passenger agents at US Airways currently, and IBT represents 3,500 agents at America West. The employees work as reservations, ticket and gate agents, and also staff hospitality clubs at airports and assist passengers with disabilities.

CWA currently has a contract at US Airways whose conditions remain in effect by law, while the IBT now is in bargaining for a first contract at America West, where employees unionized last year.

In day-to-day representation, CWA will continue to represent workers in the eastern, largely US Airways locations, and the Teamsters will represent those in the western states where America West mainly operates.

The pact calls for the presidents of the two unions to alternate in heading up the association, with Cohen initially serving as director for the first year and Hoffa as vice director. CWA and IBT will each designate an equal number of representatives from their local unions to form a US Airways Representation Committee to meet at least four times a year on workplace issues and policies of the association. All policy questions must be jointly approved.

“We’ll gladly work with any other union — AFL-CIO or not — if our goal is working together to improve conditions for the workers,” CWA spokeswoman Candace Johnson told the World.