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Association of Flight Attendants Members Vote to Merge with Communications Workers of America

Date: December 1, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC -Members of the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, voted to join forces with the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, in a historic vote that was counted today.

Fifty-seven percent of those who cast valid ballots voted for the merger. Forty-seven percent of AFA's membership voted.

"Our members have made their voices heard and decided that our union should tap into the strength and resources that CWA and its 700,000 members offered to us in this merger," said AFA International President Patricia Friend. "Through this partnership we will be better positioned to fight on behalf of flight attendants and our issues in the increasingly hostile airline industry.

"Today is a proud day in our union's history. We begin a new chapter of AFA, one that is marked with opportunities that were not available to us as a single-craft union. The merger will allow AFA to retain our identity, autonomy, structure and ability to control the agenda in fighting on behalf of flight attendants, but with the added strength of over 700,000 workers on our side."

The merger will be effective Dec. 31, 2003.

AFA began as the Air Line Stewardesses Association in 1945. The union was affiliated with the Air Line Pilots Association as the Steward and Stewardess Division from 1960 until 1973, when the modern AFA was born. In 1984, the AFL-CIO issued AFA its own charter. AFA is known today for its innovative campaigns on behalf of flight attendants. The union first developed and implemented its trademarked CHAOS - Create Havoc Around Our System - strike campaign in 1993 at Alaska Airlines.

AFA has lost over 10,000 member flight attendants over the past two years. Flight attendants at many carriers have been forced to take painful cuts as their airlines navigate the bankruptcy process or teeter on the verge of insolvency because of the massive restructuring in the airline industry set off by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In October, delegates to the Association of Flight Attendants' 30th annual Board of Directors meeting in Boston voted overwhelmingly to endorse a merger agreement with the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, and to send the final decision on whether or not to merge to a membership vote.

Over 36,000 flight attendants at 26 carriers join together to form AFA, the largest flight attendant union in the world.

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