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American Eagle Management Files for Mediation in Flight Attendant Negotiations

Date: September 17, 2003

Management Breaks from Cooperative Spirit in Negotiations over Rift after Callous Mistreatment of a Flight Attendant

DALLAS, TX – American Eagle management has asked the National Mediation Board to intervene in its negotiations with the airline’s flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, not because contract talks have broken down, but because management was unhappy that the union exposed the callous mistreatment of a flight attendant attempting to fly to the funeral of her murdered son.

Eagle management’s Sept. 12 filing came as a surprise. The parties were discussing a joint application for mediation, which would have continued the spirit of cooperation shown at the negotiating table to date. Usually mediation is sought when talks break down. But Eagle cited the union’s exposure of management’s heartless treatment of a flight attendant, as the reason contract mediation is needed. The flight attendant was trying to fly to her son’s funeral but was denied personal emergency travel on flights that had empty seats, Southwest Airlines provided emergency travel to the flight attendant in need after Eagle refused.

The full story of Eagle management’s treatment of flight attendant Debra McDougald, who was attempting to fly home to attend the funeral of her slain son, can be viewed at http://www.afa-ae-web.org, click the Sept. 9, 2003 link.

Eagle management’s action stunned AFA Master Executive Council President Bill Hennessey, who wrote in a letter to Eagle Vice President Rose Doria, that Eagle management’s action, “constitutes nothing more than a pathetic attempt to divert attention from American Eagle’s pitiful reaction to a flight attendant’s grave personal tragedy. This is a tactic I have unfortunately come to expect from this company.”

If mediated contract talks fail to produce an agreement, the NMB declares an impasse in negotiations, and either party refuses to submit open issues to arbitration, a 30-day countdown to self-help will begin. Self-help for flight attendants means CHAOS™.

CHAOS stands for Create Havoc Around our System, and includes random, unannounced work stoppages. Flight attendants may strike any flight, at any time, leaving management unable to respond, and passengers sitting in airports, rather than getting to their destinations.

More than 36,000 flight attendants join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union, including the 1,200 flight attendants at American Eagle. For more information, visit http://www.afa-ae-web.org.

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