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Flight Attendants Press DOT for Job Protections in UAL/CAL Alliance

Date: June 30, 2009

Union Redoubles Efforts Following Concerns Outlined by Department of Justice

Chicago –Flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA-CWA) at United Airlines, are pressing the Department of Transportation to ensure American jobs are protected when considering the anti-trust immunity filing to join Continental with United Airlines and the Star Alliance.  The flight attendants’ efforts take on extraordinary meaning this week following an announcement by United Airlines to furlough 2,150 Flight Attendants this fall.

“More than ever it is clear American jobs are an integral part of our American economy.  Our government has a responsibility to ensure business ventures protect access to good American jobs,” stated Greg Davidowitch, president of the AFA-CWA at United Airlines.  “Our country’s anti-trust laws exist for a reason, including consumer protections as recently highlighted by the Department of Justice as well as job protections that take on even greater meaning in today’s economic climate.”

The flight attendant union members have been contacting Congress and calling the Administration for weeks in a campaign to apply greater scrutiny of airline alliances and help stem further job loss.  As United Airlines management helped grow the Star Alliance to the largest in the world over the last decade, Flight Attendants at the carrier have experienced a loss of nearly half their ranks or 12,000 jobs.  The recent furlough announcement again points to the critical nature of the flight attendants’ effort to insure job protections in any approval of an airline alliance, and specifically the venture proposed by Continental and United Airlines within the Star Alliance.

Flight attendants have connected consumer concerns to worker concerns within airline alliances as they press the Administration to look more closely at the Continental and United venture.  Domestic and international anti-competitive concerns identified by the Department of Justice directly relates to the very same conditions that lead to greater job loss.  Fares rise as frequency of flights is diminished when all competition is erased.

Yesterday, Davidowitch again wrote to the Department of Transportation on behalf of the United Airlines Flight Attendants.  “While the Department of Transportation takes care to review the concerns detailed by the Department of Justice, as part of any final order we again call on the Administration to enact durable and meaningful provisions designed to insure an equitable measure of protections for workers.”  The full letter is posted on the union’s website at www.unitedafa.org.

More than 55,000 flight attendants, including the 16,000 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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