Judge Allows Mesaba Airlines To Abrogate Labor Contracts
October 17, 2006
Mesaba Flight Attendants Vow to Strike
Minneapolis, MN – For the second time this year, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Gregory F. Kishel sided with Mesaba Airlines' management today and granted their motion to abrogate the labor contract of their flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA).
"Today, Mesaba management and the bankruptcy court conspired to destroy our contract," said Tim Evenson, Master Council Executive President. "When management makes good on their threat to impose their drastic wage and benefit cuts, there will be CHAOS™ at Mesaba Airlines."
If management acts on the court's order by imposing cuts that unilaterally alter the flight attendant contract, the Railway Labor Act affords the flight attendants the legal right to strike.
"History has shown us that what one airline is allowed to get away with under the bankruptcy umbrella becomes the goal for all other airlines. Because of this bankruptcy court's decision today, we will wage that fight here at Mesaba – for our members and for flight attendants across the industry," said Evenson. "We simply will not accept this injustice."
In September, a U.S. District Court reversed Judge Kishel's earlier decision that allowed management to impose work rules on their labor groups. Earlier this month, the Mesaba Labor Coalition, comprised of flight attendants, mechanics and pilots, presented management with a joint proposal outlining shared concessions that would pave the way for the airline's emergence from bankruptcy. Each union negotiated over the weekend but no agreements were reached.
On Tuesday, Judge Kishel will hold a hearing on Mesaba's request for an injunction that would prevent the labor groups from striking in response to unilateral changes to their contract. A similar injunction sought by Northwest Airlines was rejected by a bankruptcy court in New York. The District Court later granted the injunction at Northwest and that decision is now on appeal.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.