Judge Allows Mesaba Airlines to Abrogate Labor Contracts
July 14, 2006
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Vow to Strike
Minneapolis, MN – In a devastating testament to the enormous protection corporations receive under the bankruptcy code, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Gregory F. Kishel sided with Mesaba Airlines' management today and granted the company's motion to abrogate the labor contract of their flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA).
"Today, our company and the bankruptcy court conspired to destroy our contract," said Tim Evenson, Master Council Executive President. "If management makes good on their threat to impose their drastic wage and benefit cuts, there will be CHAOS ™ at Mesaba Airlines."
If Mesaba management acts on the courts order by imposing cuts that unilaterally alter the flight attendant contract, the Railway Labor Act affords the flight attendants the legal right to strike.
"This decision could have a devastating effect on the airline industry for years to come. 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 what this bankruptcy court did 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."
On May 18, the bankruptcy court denied Mesaba's first attempt to abrogate their labor groups' contracts and recommended that management return to the bargaining table. Since then, management only met with AFA-CWA for two bargaining sessions, and began the first meeting by renewing their threat to seek a court order to reject the contract. After AFA-CWA's counterproposal, the company refused to negotiate further. "That doesn't seem like good faith bargaining, does it." said Evenson.
If the 19.4 percent cut is enacted, the annual income of some Mesaba flight attendants with a family of four will be reduced to under $10,000 after paying for insurance benefits.
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