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United Airlines Flight Attendants Warn Merger Going Nowhere without a New Contract and Job Security

Date: April 16, 2010

Chicago – Leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA-CWA), representing 16,000 flight attendants at United Airlines reiterated any merger scenario will go nowhere without new contract and job security for flight attendants. Greg Davidowitch, AFA-CWA President at United issued the following statement:

“Management needs to get busy with contract negotiations for the improvements flight attendants are due before executing against any consolidation plans. Our union will also forcefully oppose any merger that will cause flight attendant job loss. And, any merger will fail without the support of flight attendants.

“Management needs to pay attention to the extraordinary hurdles associated with any merger transaction. They cannot move forward without various approvals by the government, other constituencies and agreement with labor. Integration of inflight operations could take years to complete and it will not occur at all unless we can support the deal with the protection of our jobs and improvement of our careers upfront.

“Over the next few weeks we expect the escalation of forces pressing for consolidation will culminate either in an announcement of a potential business transaction or in the conclusion of the reported talks underway. Airline executives and industry analysts who have touted the merits of mergers have two recent examples from which to study certain successes and failures. Executives would do well to study what worked and what did not within America West's 2005 announced and yet-to be-completed merger with US Airways and Delta's merger with Northwest announced in April of 2008.

“As was the case during previous merger attempts, we have no intention of taking a back seat in any consolidation scenario. Prior to any potential announcement we will continue to make clear how management can work for United Airlines’ successful future.  We remain prepared to protect flight attendant interests and the continued AFA-CWA representation of all our Members. In the event any proposed merger agreement adversely impacts AFA Members we will act vigorously to protect our Members, even if that means any proposed merger ultimately fails.

“In the event of an actual merger announcement we will convene a Special Meeting of the AFA-CWA United Master Executive Council to review specific deal terms to assess any opportunities or adverse impact on our community.

  • Our review will focus on job implications, the improvements expected through a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and service to our passengers and the communities where we live and work.
  • We will oppose any transaction that seeks to disrupt our efforts to improve our pay and working conditions through our current Contract negotiations.
  • Upon concluding our review we will move forward using any and all options - including deployment of legislative, political and all mobilization strategies - to leverage the strength of our community either in support or opposition to any proposed merger.

“We will not support any merger unless and until our interests are addressed. Consolidation involving United Airlines won't be consummated without the involvement of United's Flight Attendants.”

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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