Court Tramples Mesaba Flight Attendants' Right To Strike
October 24, 2006
Minneapolis, MN - Flight attendants at Mesaba Airlines, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), vow to continue their fight against impending pay cuts and the rejection of their contract despite an injunction issued late yesterday by a United States bankruptcy court. Mesaba flight attendants expressed shock and anger at the judge's decision to block the flight attendants from striking if the airline imposes drastic cuts to pay and benefits.
"Mesaba management and the bankruptcy court have already conspired to destroy our contract and now they are denying us the right to use the only tool we have to protect our careers and our livelihoods," said Tim Evenson, Master Executive Council President. "This is yet another example of how the legal system fails to protect the average citizen and continues to cater to corporate America. But I have a warning for the executives who thought this was a good idea: this fight isn't over. Our crusade to protect our careers has only begun. We will continue to fight this decision not only for Mesaba flight attendants, but for all flight attendants who will walk in our footsteps."
On October 16, 2006 Federal Bankruptcy Judge Gregory F. Kishel sided with Mesaba Airlines' management and granted their motion to abrogate the flight attendants' labor contract. The judge has set the deadline for the company to impose at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2006. AFA-CWA had threatened to initiate CHAOS™ strikes at that time if the court had not issued the injunction. 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 following the injunction hearing, but no agreements were reached.
"Mesaba flight attendants have been willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the survival of our company, but management has refused to consider any alternatives," stated Evenson. "By allowing management to come in and take what they want from the flight attendants, the courts essentially allowed company management to steal from company employees."
"This ruling is wrong and we will appeal," said David A. Borer, AFA-CWA General Counsel. "Mesaba management cannot expect to pull the rug out from under the flight attendants without a fight. We will continue to defend our members' right to strike in court, and we will seek to have the 1113 ruling overturned again 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.