5. A few years ago they weren't doing their jobs anyway- too chummy
Truth be told, they are probably still not doing their jobs.
See the report below.
The union people that found the problems and started documenting it, went to both the company and the FAA to get them corrected. Both looked the other way and refused to correct the deficiencies, so they took a huge notebook of evidence to the Department of Transportation IG.
Even today, managers at the company are putting one of the "whistleblowers" (protection doesn't exist for union members working under the Railway Labor Act because the company can harass the hell out of people under the protection of arbitration hearings and the information will never hit the media). Some of the others that worked for the union group got "assimilated by the borg" meaning they were hired by the company as "management". On the FAA side, the lobbying arm of the Airline Transport Assn, hired one of the retiring FAA head dudes to "represent them" at somewhere around $8,000 a day. So you can see how things get screwed up.
Although the report got toned down on the hill. It still resulted in the FAA having to do their jobs and fining AA approx 200 million. That got negotiated down to approx 50 million.
That's nothing, they saved far more than that over the years deferring maintenance items.