United Flight Attendants Barely Ratify Additional Contract Changes
January 31, 2005
Workers Sacrifice to Keep Airline Afloat
CHICAGO -- The United flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, ratified contract changes providing the airline $131 million in annual sacrifices over the next five years keeping the airline flying and as part of the airline's plan to attract bankruptcy exit financing.
Over fifty-six percent of eligible flight attendants who cast their ballots voted for the contract. Over seventy percent of eligible flight attendants voted.
AFA United Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch issued this statement:
"The ratification of these concessions is not an endorsement of United Airlines management. Flight attendants understand that under the cruel realities of bankruptcy, the lesser of two evils is to ensure that we shape the concessions forced upon us rather than allow mistrusted management to seek rejection of our Contract and impose concessions in the way that they see fit. We will continue to challenge and expose shortsighted decisions and executive greed.
"The sacrifices borne by the flight attendants in contract changes that include reduced hourly rates of pay to 1991 levels will have a harsh affect on flight attendants and our families. The results of this vote indicate clearly that flight attendants have hit the threshold of pain and sacrifice. Our dedication to our jobs and our airline shall not waiver. But we demand that current management develop a bankruptcy exit strategy that does not destroy the hard-earned pensions our members are counting on for retirement security - that would be one sacrifice too many. Indeed, this narrow vote is saying to management, flight attendants have sacrificed enough, and we will not allow this management to extract any more.
"United management needs to devote their full energies on an exit strategy that keeps the flight attendant defined benefit pension plan intact. At the same time, management must seriously address the quality of work life issues flight attendants will now be facing, with all the dedication and commitment that flight attendants themselves have put into saving our airline. It's vital that they work closely with us, understanding our problems, if United Airlines is to emerge from bankruptcy with the kind of future we know it can have."
More than 46,000 flight attendants, including 20,000 at United, 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 http://www.unitedafa.org/.