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United Airlines Flight Attendants Refuse to Give Concessions

Date: June 21, 2002

CHICAGO – Elected leaders from the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, representing United Airlines flight attendants rejected a proposal from the carrier asking for wage and other pay concessions totaling about $90 million over three years.

“Our Contract is closed, we are not paid on par with other employees at our airline, and contract violations have not been addressed,” said AFA United Master Executive Council President-elect Greg Davidowitch. “Flight attendants will not discuss concessions with United under these circumstances.”

Flight attendant representatives met in a closed meeting on Thursday 6/20 to discuss a Term Sheet United had faxed to AFA asking for wage and other pay concessions, including a 5% reduction in current hourly rates of pay and other pay factors, as well as the elimination of future contractually-guaranteed raises. Management proposed to offset part of the concessions with stock options.

But the flight attendants have told United management since Dec. 2001 that several outstanding issues must be addressed before discussions about United's finances move forward. These "Rules of Engagement" include a resolution of contract violations regarding United’s abandoned start-up airline, Avolar, and the disproportionately low compensation flight attendants are paid with respect to other employee groups at the airline. No significant progress has been made in these areas.

After considering this lack of progress and reviewing United CEO Jack Creighton’s statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission last week that the survival of the airline is no longer in question, the AFA United MEC passed a resolution stating that “the AFA United MEC will not engage in concessionary bargaining with United Airlines.”

“United flight attendants contribute to the financial success of this airline everyday,” said AFA United Master Executive Council President Linda Farrow. “We contribute by ensuring the safety of our passengers, through exceptional service which brings passengers back to United, and we assist the airline’s bottom line when we cash our below industry average wage pay checks, while the rest of United’s employees make top-of-the-industry plus pay.”

The flight attendants are the only work group at United with a contract that convenes a wage arbitration panel each year that ensures United’s flight attendant costs remain at the industry average. This year, the panel ruled that United’s flight attendant costs were $48 million below the average of the airline’s competitors. All other work groups at United are provided industry-leading compensation.

More than 50,000 flight attendants, including the 26,000 flight attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. Visit us at www.afanet.org.

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