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Mesaba Flight Attendants Win Right To Retain Contract

Date: September 14, 2006

Minneapolis, MN - Mesaba flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), won a decisive victory in federal district court yesterday when Judge Michael Davis overturned an earlier decision that gave the company permission to reject the contracts of their employees. Mesaba management had been threatening to impose a 19.4 percent wage and benefit cut, which would have reduced the annual income of some Mesaba flight attendants with a family of four to under $10,000 after paying for insurance benefits. 

"This is a monumental victory for Mesaba workers and employees everywhere," said Tim Evenson, Mesaba Master Council Executive President. "We hope that this decision will encourage current management – if they remain in control of the airline – to come back to the table for productive discussions – this time with a proposal that is fair. Over 100 days ago, we presented the company with a cost savings proposal that met their targeted concessions. We have heard nothing from them since. It is time for management to drop the litigation and negotiate fairly with the flight attendants."

Under bankruptcy law, a company may obtain permission to abrogate its labor contracts if it can prove to the court that negotiations have been unsuccessful and the concessions necessary for the reorganization are, among other things, "fair and equitable to all parties." Earlier this year, the bankruptcy court rejected the company's first 1113(c) motion 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. In July, the bankruptcy court granted the company's second 1113(c) motion, but Judge Davis' decision yesterday overturned that decision.

"This decision gives Mesaba flight attendants hope – hope that all their hard work will not go in vain, hope that their careers will be protected from management's overreaching demands. We have worked hard over the years to build a successful airline and we are committed, along with all Mesaba employees, to restoring our company to the great airline it once was," said Evenson.

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. 

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