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Flight Attendant Unions Prepare To Take On Airline Industry

Date: January 2, 2008

Leaders Representing nearly 90,000 Flight Attendants To Hold Bargaining Summit

Washington, DC - In the next two years, more than half of all flight attendant contracts with U.S. airlines will be up for negotiations and union leaders representing nearly 90,000 flight attendants will meet in Washington, DC on January 8-10 for an unprecedented bargaining summit.  As the airline industry continues to profit, leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the International Association of Machinists (IAM), and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) will prepare an overall strategy to secure gains in upcoming contract talks.

By coordinating efforts, union leaders hope to increase their bargaining leverage and assist each other in raising industry standards for all flight attendants. For the past several years, flight attendants and other airline workers have sacrificed pay, benefits and working conditions through a long series of bankruptcies, restructurings, layoffs and threatened liquidations. That era is now over.

During this unmatched three-day summit, union leaders will meet with leading academics, labor economists, consultants and lawyers to outline a strategy for this crucial round of bargaining. They will share information and coordinate individual strategies, as well as strengthen their inter-union communications network. Recognizing that airline executives are unlikely to agree to significant improvements without a fight, union leaders will also lay plans to mobilize their members in support of their bargaining demands.

These unions, and others representing smaller groups of flight attendants, will come together and refine their strategy for gaining much-needed contract improvements for their flight attendants. Flight attendant productivity is up, working hours are up and time away from home is up. But when it comes to wages and benefits, airline executives have rewarded only themselves. That too, is now over.

In the next 18 months, approximately 46,000 AFA-CWA flight attendants at 18 airlines will be in new or continuing contract negotiations (including those at United Airlines and US Airways), as will 19,000 APFA members at American Airlines, 9,000 TWU members at Southwest Airlines and 12,000 IAM members at Continental, ExpressJet and Micronesia Airlines.

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