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Flight Attendants Testify for Corporate Bankruptcy Law Reform

Date: September 6, 2007

Union President Tells Congress to Level the Playing Field for Workers

Washington, DC –Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) United Airlines Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch will testify today, September 6, 2007, before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law during a hearing titled, "American Workers in Crisis: Does the Chapter 11 Business Bankruptcy Law Treat Employees and Retirees Fairly?"

“Something must be done to help level the playing field so that bankruptcy is no longer a "business strategy" that simply transfers money to executives' pockets and leaves the rank-and-file employees with nothing more than slashed pay, diminished health care, destroyed retirement security, bitterness, mounting debts and the prospect of personal bankruptcy.” Davidowitch states in his written testimony.

The Union represented flight attendants in nine of the sixteen airline bankruptcies since September 11, 2001, and Mr. Davidowitch "spent 38 months, day in and day out, battling unfettered corporate greed" in the United Airlines Chapter 11 case during the longest airline bankruptcy in history. AFA-CWA is uniquely qualified to address the need for bankruptcy reform including:

  • putting an end to management abuse of the law as a business tactic to cut labor costs and line their own pockets,
  • leveling the playing field for the workers,
  • adding protections that guarantee the same treatment of pensions for both workers and executives, and
  • enacting a law that provides the protection of restructuring a company for the good of the long-term dedicated workers who are committed to the success of their companies.

Davidowitch, a flight attendant for nearly 20 years and the union’s president at United Airlines for 5 years, strikes a somber note as he describes flight attendants losing their homes, moving back in with their parents, selling their cars, canceling college classes and losing custody of their children. He describes a bait and switch tactic of management that enticed thousands of employees to retire early to save their healthcare only to have it slashed months later when management exploited a rarely used section of the bankruptcy code to shift $300 million of healthcare costs to the workers who had dedicated a lifetime to the success of United Airlines. Davidowitch states that much of this is “nothing short of corporate-induced poverty, shifting responsibility for a living wage from the company to the taxpayers.”

When responding to the committee’s question about fairness, Davidowitch responds, “how could any of this be considered 'fair?'”

The Congressional hearing will begin at 10:00 am in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2141.

More than 55,000 flight attendants, including the 17,000 flight attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.unitedafa.org.

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