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Mechanics union sues American Airlines

File photo of American Airlines planes
Getty Images
File photo of American Airlines planes

A group of unionized aviation mechanics sued American Airlines on Friday, alleging that they were pressured to break Federal Aviation Administration regulations by committing "maintenance fraud."

Aviation maintenance technicians with Local 591, part of the Transport Workers Union, reported conflicts with local management after being urged to "disregard maintenance discrepancies, deviate from federally-mandated maintenance procedures, abstain from required lightning strike and bird strike inspections," according to court documents.

When the technicians brought their concerns to American Airlines management, they say human resources failed to respond or sent the filings back to the managers who were accused of the harassment.

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The lawsuit claims that when a vice president with the union, Brian Friedman, spoke with Station Manager Richard Cygan about the breach of their collective bargaining agreement, Cygan responded: "I don't care."

American Airlines has been plagued in recent years with unlawful maintenance practices. In April 2008, the airline grounded its entire MD-80 fleet after the FAA discovered faulty wiring practices.

In 2012, the FAA filed accused the company of "(a) using Boeing 757 aircraft in revenue service without required wiring repairs, (b) failing to properly overhaul the main landing gear on approximately 30 Boeing 777 jets, (c) performing unauthorized engine repair work on Boeing 767 jets that were nonetheless released into revenue service," according to the lawsuit.

American Airlines did not immediately respond on Friday to a request for comment.