USAA PicThe Department of Justice (DOJ) and six state attorneys general today filed suit to block the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines.

“This is the exact reason why we have continually demanded US Airways negotiate a fair contract with IAM members before any merger related issues are discussed,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “ It’s time US Airways stop playing games and sign new contracts with IAM members that are reflective of the record profits at the airline.”

“Because of the size of the airline industry, if this merger were approved, even a small increase in the price of airline tickets, checked bags, of flight change fees would cause hundreds of millions of dollars of harm to American consumers annually,” stated the lawsuit filed today in Washington D.C.

“Nothing changes for the IAM,” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “With or without this merger US Airways needs to immediately get back to the table and negotiate agreements that IAM members want, need and deserve or the National Mediation Board (NMB) should release us to strike.”

“We warned US Airways months ago against focusing exclusively on a merger instead of negotiating new contracts with IAM members,” said District 141 President Rich Delaney. “If US Airways can’t get serious, then the NMB should release us.”

The federal government’s lawsuit is expected to at least delay the conclusion of the US Airways/American Airlines merger or possibly prevent the tie-up altogether. IAM represented Mechanic and Related, Fleet Service, Maintenance Training Specialists and Stockroom workers have been in negotiations with US Airways for over two years for new contracts covering approximately 14,000 workers.