Management Must Stop Stalling, Strike Information Starts
Fed up with management’s stalling instead of bargaining a collective agreement that rewards our dedicated service, the Joint CAL/CMI/UAL MEC, comprised of local elected Presidents, voted unanimously last week to begin a strike information campaign. Management must stop stalling and engage in meaningful bargaining.
The Joint MEC determined that after the February mediation sessions, they will assess the need for a strike vote based on the status of the contract negotiations.
Why Now and What Does a Strike Vote Mean?
If you don’t like what you’ve seen from the negotiations so far, now is the time to do something about it. We are at the point in the RLA process where we can take certain actions to help push negotiations to a successful conclusion. A strike vote sends a powerful message to management that there is no deal unless members support it.
Taking a strike vote doesn’t mean we’ll strike no matter what; it signals we’re ready to strike if necessary. Strike votes are a routine part of airline negotiations. Flight Attendants and pilots have frequently found it necessary to resort to them to overcome management intransigence.The pilots took a strike vote, for example, and picketed the White House back in 2012 in order to get their contract.
“Strike votes are an important part of the process,” said United Pilots’ MEC Chairman (ALPA), Captain Jay Heppner. “The overwhelming result of a strike vote sends a strong message to the media, to your members, and to management that your members fully support the efforts of their union and cannot be ignored.”
In recent years, we’ve also taken strike votes at US Airways, Air Wisconsin, Compass, Piedmont and PSA. All reached ratified agreements after a strike vote was taken.
Even if a strike proved necessary, it would be unlike strikes in other industries. Our union’s use of CHAOS (Create Havoc Around Our System) has proved more effective historically.
What Is CHAOS and How Does It Work?
CHAOS is an AFA-CWA trademarked strategy designed to maximize the pressure on management to reach an agreement while minimizing the risk to Flight Attendants.The threat of CHAOS has been employed successfully by our union to induce a labor settlement by effectively calling management’s bluff when it’s stalling, refusing to reach a meaningful settlement, or engaging in union busting.
CHAOS is a strategy which could include intermittent strikes, systemwide strikes and other non-traditional work actions, to pressure a company into settling. The form CHAOS would take at United, should it prove necessary, will be unique.
One of the most powerful aspects of the CHAOS strategy is our ability to adapt it to the specific facts of our campaign, to keep airline executives off balance with the element of surprise, and to take advantage of weakness in the company's strategy.
As negotiations continue, our goal will continue to be what it’s been all along: to achieve a joint collective bargaining agreement that recognizes our contributions as Flight Attendants to the success of United Airlines.
Randy Hatfield (Continental MEC President)
Kathleen Domondon (Continental Micronesia MEC President)
Ken Diaz (United MEC President)