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AFA-CWA Gets Congress To Support Seniority Protections For Flight Attendants

Date: December 18, 2007

McCaskill Amendment Will Protect Flight Attendants from Losing Seniority in Mergers

Washington, DC - In a career driven by seniority and an industry fueled by consolidation threats, flight attendants across the country today earned an initial victory in protecting their futures. This morning, Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Kit Bond (R-MO), along with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), were instrumental in including language in the Omnibus appropriations bill that would protect a flight attendant's seniority in the event of a merger. The U.S. Congress is scheduled to vote on the bill early this week.

"Senator McCaskill took a brave step forward and because of her perseverance and leadership on this issue, she is helping to protect the careers of the over 100,000 flight attendants that work in the United States," said Patricia Friend, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President. "We have been urging Congress throughout this year to pass this vital piece of legislation. Seniority determines everything from flight attendants' hourly wages, to where they are based and even what trips they fly. This new language will prevent any flight attendant group from being forced to the bottom of the combined seniority list in the event their airline merges with another."

AFA-CWA has been at the forefront of seniority protection since federal regulators stopped requiring such safeguards, part of the Allegheny-Mohawk Labor Protective Provisions, in the 1980s. It especially became apparent how vital these protections were when approximately 3,000 TWA flight attendants were placed at the bottom of the seniority list after American Airlines bought the airline. After the September 11 attacks, ultimately every single TWA flight attendant lost their job as they were the first to be furloughed, many with over 25 years of seniority.  TWA and American Airlines flight attendants were represented by two different unions.  AFA-CWA did not represent either flight attendant group.

"In the past, too many of our fellow flight attendants had to stand by helpless, as lifelong careers disappeared from under them. They could have benefited from this very important protection and their struggle made our determination stronger. It is crucial that no flight attendant will ever again be stapled to the bottom of a merged seniority list, especially as we appear to be entering an era of airline consolidation," said Friend.

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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