United Airlines Flight Attendants on Merger: Contract and Job Protections Must Come First
May 3, 2010
Chicago – Flight Attendants at United Airlines, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA-CWA), made clear today a new contract with pay, benefit and work rule improvements must be concluded before they can consider support for the announced merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines.
“Management needs to pay attention to the extraordinary hurdles associated with any merger transaction,” Davidowitch continued. “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.”
During its annual Board of Directors meeting this week the union reaffirmed its commitment to protect flight attendant interests and the continued AFA-CWA representation of all flight attendants. AFA-CWA is the largest flight attendant union in the world. The union is the recognized leader in advancing flight attendant issues on Capitol Hill, in the courts and at the bargaining table.
“The largest flight attendant union in the world will see to it that United Airlines flight attendants get a fair contract before any merger is consummated. All flight attendants must be protected and careers advanced if this merger is to move forward,” stated Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President.
“CWA will vigorously defend the rights of AFA-CWA United flight attendants in the fight for a fair contract and during and after the merger process,” stated Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, the parent union AFA-CWA.
In the coming weeks the union will convene a Special Meeting of the AFA-CWA United Master Executive Council, made up of local leaders elected by their peers at 14 flight attendant bases around the world, to review the specific merger terms. The review will focus on job implications, the improvements expected upfront through RLA Section 6 bargaining and service to passengers and the communities where they live and work.
“We will oppose any transaction that violates our contract or seeks to disrupt our efforts to improve our pay and working conditions through our current Contract negotiations,” stated Davidowitch. “Upon concluding our review we will move forward using any and all options – including legislative, legal, political and all mobilization strategies - in support or opposition to the proposed merger.”
“We will not support this merger unless and until our interests are addressed. This merger won't be consummated without the involvement of United flight attendants,” Davidowitch concluded.
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.