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American Airlines share price up, faces legal action from mechanics union

American Airlines Inc. is being sued by a mechanics union, which accused the worlds largest airline of pressuring workers into breaching federal safety procedures.

Americans maintenance directors allegedly forced workers to disregard maintenance discrepancies in order to keep airplanes in revenue service and deviate from federally-mandated maintenance procedures.

The initial accusations were filed during the past few months by six American workers in Chicago and one in Dallas. The Federal Aviation Administration said it had launched an investigation.

Transport Workers Union Local 591, which represents around 3 500 maintenance workers, launched a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday against American claiming that the carrier is also scaring away its workers from helping the FAA investigation.

The union claims that managers at American are threatening its members with discipline, including termination, arrest, staff reduction and unlawful surveillance. According the the filing, American is refusing to “make every reasonable effort to settle all disputes with respect to these issues.”,\

“We continually and consistently work with our regulators so that American’s maintenance programs, practice, procedures and overall compliance and safety are second to none,” Casey Norton, a spokesman for the company wrote in an emailed statement.

However, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation, the FAA has uncovered that in same cases, inspections for possible lightning strikes were not completely in line with the federally mandated procedures.

The mechanics accused their managers of forbidding them to initiate law-required inspections on specific airplanes, making identifying possible damage done by lighting strikes impossible.

The filing cited one manager saying that maintenance workers “had to strike a balance” between aiding the FAA investigation and “performance” because “airplanes need to go out in the morning” and that she would “deal” with the Chicago whistleblowers, if they report damages that she does not agree with.

The original six workers that signaled the law-related irregularities alleged that they were designated to operate on one airplane in order to reduce their impact on the airlines operations.

American Airlines Group Inc climbed 3.58% on Thursday and 0.18% on Friday to close at $55.69, marking a one-year increase of 77.67%. The company is valued at $39.94 billion.

According to the Financial Times, the 17 analysts offering 12-month price targets for American have a median target of $67.00, with a high estimate of $92.00 and a low estimate of $56.00. The median estimate represents a 20.31% increase from the last close price.

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