View Full Version : U.S. Flight Attendants Union to Begin Strike Vote

17th Nov 2004, 01:02
Not exactly a go around at STN or a tug on the runway at LHR or a missing BA R/T call, but it might affect flights to England:

U.S. Flight Attendants Union to Begin Strike Vote

Tue Nov 16, 2004 06:47 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Association of Flight Attendants said its union leaders unanimously authorized a strike vote on Tuesday that will begin immediately at bankrupt U.S. carriers, including UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and US Airways Group Inc.
Voting is expected to take about two weeks. If a strike is approved by union members, flight attendants would be prepared to walk out in the event one of their contracts is abrogated, union spokeswoman Sara Dela Cruz said.

US Airways last week filed a motion in bankruptcy court asking a judge to cancel collective bargaining agreements with flight attendants and several other labor groups.

United is expected to ask a bankruptcy judge on Friday to formally start the process of voiding its labor pacts.

The airlines whose flight attendants will start voting immediately are United, US Airways, and bankrupt carriers ATA Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines . Flight attendants at three smaller regional carriers affiliated with the bankrupt carriers will also begin voting immediately.

The AFA represents more than 46,000 flight attendants at 26 airlines.

Earlier on Tuesday, AFA President Patricia Friend urged union leaders to authorize a nationwide strike and railed against U.S. airlines for slashing flight attendants' pay and benefits.

Friend told union leaders at the start of an annual board meeting in Pittsburgh that airlines have used the bankruptcy process to tear up labor agreements, cancel pension plans and eliminate medical benefits for retirees.

"Airline management needs to understand that there will be serious consequences if they persist in their attacks on our contracts," she said. "Our entire industry is in turmoil, and the careers of our flight attendants all hang in the balance."

Both United and US Airways said in statements on Tuesday that a strike by flight attendants would not be in the best interests of the union or the airlines. They said the best solution would be to come up with cost-saving agreements acceptable to both the union and the companies.

Flight attendants represented by the AFA have taken major pay cuts in the last few years to assist their ailing carriers in surviving a severe industry downturn.

United's flight attendants agreed to $314 million in annual concessions last year, and the carrier is seeking another $138 million in givebacks from the union. The No. 2 U.S. airline also has said it plans to end employee pension plans and replace them with less expensive ones as part of its reorganization.

US Airways filed its second bankruptcy in two years in September, and its unions agreed to major concessions during its first run through Chapter 11.

Dela Cruz said the AFA also plans to talk to other flight attendants unions about supporting a possible strike action by the AFA. Flight attendants at AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, for example, are represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

Ignition Override
17th Nov 2004, 01:33
What can they hope to achieve, even if it is a 12 or 24-hour "Euro" style walkout? The frustration is understandable, but isn't it a bit like planning a very risky battle (Arnhem) in the wrong area and at the wrong time (one long road and not enough airlift/ground access)?

How can this be an ok time to damage the revenue cash flow, and why would the bankruptcy judges sympathize? :suspect:

17th Nov 2004, 07:23
There have been many of us who have commented on here that the US style of "bankruptcy" where you can just write off debt and the business carries on (Continental were of course the past masters at doing this) is unfair competition to other carriers who have to compete with them while fully honouring their own financial obligations.

And these carriers, while forcing reductions on employees, seem to always have money for certain managerial groups. ATA, recently bankrupt, managed to find $1m to be offered to a select group of managers at the top in addition to current, completely uncut salaries, if they didn't leave for a few months.


So we can't really be surprised if their own employee groups get irate about it too.