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United Airlines Ordered to Raise Flight Attendant Pay 5.49 Percent

Date: June 27, 2002

CHICAGO – United Airlines flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, were awarded a 5.49 percent pay increase to help bring flight attendant pay closer to the average at other major carriers.

On May 30, an arbitration panel granted the flight attendants $48 million to make up for the amount the flight attendants’ 2002 compensation currently lags behind the average of United’s competition. The flight attendants asked the arbitration panel to distribute the full award in the year 2002, retroactive to April 1, 2002. That would have meant a 7.5 percent wage increase for flight attendants, raising the United flight attendant pay to the industry average.

However, the panel ruled that the $48 million is to be distributed between April 1, 2002 and March 31, 2003, through a 5.49 percent raise. By extending the $48 million payment over 12 months, United was allowed to reduce the pay raises it provides to the flight attendants, keeping United flight attendant pay below the average of the airline’s competitors for 2002.

“Even with the raise, United flight attendant pay continues to lag behind the average of other top airlines,” said AFA United Master Executive Council President Linda Farrow. “We’re pleased that flight attendants will see some relief from their sub-standard wages, but it’s disappointing that the airline has been permitted to continue this inequity into next year.”

“United argued the flight attendants didn’t deserve to get the additional 2 percent increase,” said AFA United MEC President-Elect Greg Davidowitch. “We still are not at the same top-of-the-industry-plus level of compensation as the rest of the employees at United. That disparate treatment is just not right.”

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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