Union President Calls for Nationwide Strike
November 16, 2004
Flight Attendants Say 'No' to Unrelenting Concessions
PITTSBURGH - Patricia Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, today called on the union's Board of Directors to authorize a nationwide strike against the concerted effort by airline management to wipe out union contracts and deprive employees of their livelihood. AFA represents flight attendants at 26 airlines.
"We will stand up for the profession we have built by taking a stand for flight attendants everywhere, in this country and around the world," Friend declared to board members at the opening of the board's annual meeting, in Pittsburgh. "Airline management needs to understand that there will be serious consequences if they persist in their attacks on our contracts."
Friend noted that through bankruptcy, management has made an end run around the collective bargaining process by threatening liquidation and introducing a third party, the court, with the power to impose a draconian settlement. For example, US Airways last week asked a court to approve its plan to tear up its union contracts, scrap its pension plans and eliminate health coverage for retirees. United Airlines, the nation's second-largest carrier, wants nearly $140 million in concessions from flight attendants, on top of the $314 million annually it has already extracted from the flight attendant work group. United also seeks hundreds of millions more by attempting to terminate its pension plans. Seven carriers with AFA representation are currently in bankruptcy, and others are on the brink.
"Our entire industry is in turmoil and the careers of our flight attendants all hang in the balance," Friend said. "Pensions, for which flight attendants have dedicated many years of hard work, are being wiped out with the sound of a judge's gavel. Health care coverage for employees in an essentially unhealthy work environment is reaching cost levels unaffordable to flight attendants who every year sacrifice more of their income to 'save their airline.' Almost everywhere we look, flight attendants are being forced to work longer hours with reduced rest time, and all for ever-decreasing wages. This must stop"
The AFA Board of Directors is expected to act on a resolution authorizing a strike later today.
More than 46,000 flight attendants join together to form AFA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.