One Year Late United Airlines Contract Draws Worldwide Protest
Angry Flight Attendants, Pilots and Other Employees Picket Airports Around the World
Chicago – United Airlines Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA), are conducting a world-wide protest today in response to United Airlines management’s failure to negotiate a new Contract a year after it became amendable. Eight years and eight days ago, Flight Attendants took deep cuts in pay and then management destroyed their working conditions and cancelled their pensions. Those cuts should have concluded one year ago today when the Contract became amendable.
“It is clear that labor dissent will be a bigger challenge for Jeff Smisek than the financial merger, which was successfully negotiated in a few short months compared to the nineteen months management has been negotiating with Flight Attendants,” stated Greg Davidowitch, president of AFA at United Airlines. “Flight Attendants have legitimate concerns and management has a poor track record when it comes to labor negotiations at United Airlines. Prolonged, contentious, and bitterly divisive negotiations continue to reinforce long-held resentments among workers and does not lead to a path for success.”
The merger with Continental offered United Airlines an unprecedented opportunity for a fresh start, and we encouraged management to reach a new agreement expeditiously. This was the right time to try to put an end to a long history of an acrimonious relationship. We have made clear to management that to capture any goodwill among employees they would have to act quickly and decisively to address our issues and concerns, so that we could move forward. Now that we are ninety-nine days into the merger, that honeymoon period is over.
“Patience is no longer an option,” stated Davidowitch. “To date, we have yet to receive proposals on key issues and the proposals we have received are largely concessionary in nature. We remain resolute in concluding negotiations centered on pay, benefits and work rule improvements that are commensurate not only to the priorities identified by United Flight Attendants in our proposals, but are also reflective of the potential associated with a world-class global airline.”
“We certainly share the Flight Attendants’ frustration with the company’s inability to reach a fair and equitable Contract with its employees. We reached the one-year mark of our amendable date on December 31, 2010,” said Captain Wendy Morse, chairman of the United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in voicing her support for the Flight Attendants. “The time has come for United management to step up and bring an end to these long, arduous negotiations by offering our Pilots, Flight Attendants and other employees the wages, work rules and job protections we have earned through years of sacrifice, dedication and professionalism.”
Added Captain Jay Pierce, Chairman of the Continental Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association: “We have not seen a positive Contractual gain since October 2001. All of us here today are long overdue for resolution to our work rules, pay rates, retirement and job protection issues. We have one statement for United management: It is time to get serious and finalize these Contracts.”
Flight Attendants, Pilots and other union members are protesting today in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo-Narita and Washington DC. Protest details and a copy of a leaflet distributed to passengers are available at www.unitedafa.org.
Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants, including the 15,000 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 and www.afacwa.org.