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Bankruptcy Court Ruling Sends United Back To Table

Date: January 7, 2005

CHICAGO - The bankruptcy court rejection of the United Airlines contract agreement with its pilots demonstrates that UAL management needs to take a different approach in its efforts to restore the troubled airline to solvency, officials of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said today.

"This decision indicates that United Airlines management is wrong in trying to pit one employee group against another," said Greg Davidowitch, president of the AFA's United Master Executive Council. "We're obviously pleased that the court has declared that he would not accept any agreement that would be tied to the elimination of any other union's pensions."

Davidowitch pointed out that AFA already had a proposal on the table that would yield the savings that UAL is seeking. AFA has forcefully opposed the elimination of the flight attendants' pension. "The court has clearly signaled that the airline should work with each employee group separately, giving each individual union the leeway to construct contracts tailored to its own members' needs," he said. "We hope this ruling convinces United that it should take a new look at our contract proposal."

Patricia Friend, AFA's international president, also urged United management to negotiate individually with its unions, "instead of resorting to gamesmanship in the bankruptcy courts."

"Flight attendants have demonstrated an enormous amount of good faith in working to help struggling airlines like United and US Airways," she said. "It's wrong for the company to try to impose its will on employees through an abusive use of the courts. This case shouldn't even be in court; it should be dealt with in good faith at the negotiating table. We've shown at US Airways we can get it done in a consensual manner."

More than 46,000 flight attendants, including 21,000 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/

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