American Airlines Union Vows to Protest Romney in Florida

The bankruptcy-protected airline wants Bain & Co. to help it save American Eagle

Mitt Romney took some shots on stage from his political presidential rivals Monday night – and some off stage, from a large labor union with lots of members in South Florida.

American Airlines, a key company in the region, is in bankruptcy protection. It has asked a judge to let it hire Bain & Company, the consulting and investment firm Romney cofounded, to help it save subsidiary American Eagle.

But the airline union for mechanics and ground crew objects – and is vowing to protest Romney’s appearances throughout Florida beginning Wednesday.

The 24,000-member Transportation Workers Union is demanding the bankrupt airline halt its plans to hire Bain – for what it calls a “blatantly excessive and unfair” $525,000 per month – to extract concessions from current and retired employees, the TWU says.

“They're solely there as a vulture just to eliminate jobs,” said TWU local union President Sidney Jimenez.

“When a presidential nominee is running for president and he's lining his pockets and actually still deriving a lot of his wealth from Bain & Company, I think that needs to come to the public foreground,” Jimenez said.

But sources with direct knowledge say American wants to hire a division of Bain that had little or no link to Romney, and that Bain does a lot more than just identify job cuts, a normal part of bankruptcy.

And on its website, Bain boasts that it helped save Continental Airlines from bankruptcy in the 1990s.

For his part, Romney has vehemently defended Bain as a job creator and corporate savior.

Meantime, an American Airlines management memo obtained by NBC Miami Monday night says that 90 percent of employees’ vested pensions will be paid in full.

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