Flight Attendants Launch National Campaign Against Corporate Greed
December 14, 2004
Tell Congress and White House to 'Get to Work'
WASHINGTON - Flight attendants, other union members and labor supporters will rally in Washington, D.C., and at airports across the country today to focus attention on the critical need for government action to stop management's assault on workers' pensions, health care and jobs in the airline industry.
In Washington, a rally and candlelight vigil will be held just across from the White House beginning at 5:15 p.m. Hundreds of flight attendants, other union members and supporters will hear from Association of Flight Attendants International President Pat Friend, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and other speakers, then will march to Washington's Freedom Plaza.
In other planned events, informational picketing will get underway at the Sea-Tac Flab Pavilion, in front of Sea-Tac International Airport, beginning at 8 a.m. PST, and flight attendants and supporters in San Francisco will hold a march and candlelight vigil outside United Terminal 3 between Doors 4 and 5, at SFO, beginning 4 p.m. PST.
These events and others are part of a national effort calling for action by Congress and administration regulators to end practices that allow companies to abuse the bankruptcy process in order to strip workers of their retirement security and health care, impose devastating wage cuts and destroy careers. AFA also is calling for "a real public policy discussion of aviation policy in the United States to address today's critical issues," said International President Pat Friend.
"The position of many airline executives that workers must subsidize one failed business plan after another must end," Friend said, adding that other parties, government, consumers and management must support this industry as well. "Airline management is overreaching, and if they are not stopped, the continuing cuts in wages, benefits and working conditions across the industry will spread to financially health carriers, and then on to other industries."
Flight attendants are sending a message to airline management, corporate America and Washington's lawmakers that dragging down the standard of living for flight attendants threatens the very foundation of traditional American values, and that AFA will fight this assault.
Last month, AFA approved a global strike if a federal bankruptcy court agrees to allow an airline to throw out its collective bargaining agreement. Four airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection and are seeking huge cuts in workers' pay and benefits; at least two are seeking to abrogate their flight attendant contracts if agreement is not reached on the cuts.
Those carriers, United and US Airways, want to walk away from those contracts while slashing retiree medical benefits and eliminating pensions. Flight attendants at those carriers are voting on whether to authorize strike action.
Flight attendants at US Airways have voted overwhelmingly to authorize the implementation of CHAOStm (Create Havoc Around Our System), the union's trademarked program of intermittent work stoppages on flights, dates and locations of its choosing. The results of the strike authorization vote among United Airlines flight attendants will be finalized on December 30. Negotiations are continuing with both carriers.
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.