Flight Attendant Union Wins Major Victory For Former Midwest Flight Attendants

Washington, DC – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) won a major arbitration today for hundreds of former Midwest Airlines Flight Attendants, represented by AFA. The arbitration award validated AFA’s assertion that the Midwest Flight Attendant contract was violated after Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. purchased Midwest Airlines and staffed the same flights with non-Midwest Flight Attendants, often compensated up to 70 percent less.

The AFA Midwest contract outlined strong provisions for protecting Flight Attendant jobs and contained language that specified the outcome if Midwest was purchased by another airline. AFA filed a grievance in 2009 accusing Republic of violating the terms of these vital scope and successorship provisions after the merger of the two carriers was completed. As a result of the contract violation, hundreds of Midwest Flight Attendants were laid off while lesser paid Flight Attendants from different airlines staffed the flights they once worked.

“Today is a victory for Midwest Flight Attendants whose careers were stripped by corporate greed. AFA vowed to stop at nothing until management was held responsible for stealing the livelihoods of the hardworking Flight Attendants at Midwest Airlines,” said Veda Shook, AFA International President. “It took the commitment and effort of over 400 Flight Attendants and other airline employees to make Midwest one of the best in the country and only narrow corporate interests to destroy it. The Midwest Flight Attendants’ determination to right this wrong is why AFA worked tirelessly to hold management responsible.”

Now that the arbitrator has ruled that Republic violated the terms of the Midwest Flight Attendant contract, a remedy must be reached. At AFA’s request, the arbitrator left the task of negotiating a settlement to AFA and management representatives, ensuring that the resolution will be in the best interest of Midwest Flight Attendants. 
“It was the dedicated women and men of Midwest Airlines who helped to create our exceptional carrier,” said Toni Higgins, former AFA Midwest President. “We dedicated our careers to this hometown airline that was repeatedly one of the highest rated domestic carriers in the country. Yet after we merged with Republic, it was the Midwest Flight Attendants and other flight crew who were tossed aside, without jobs, while our flying partners from other airlines worked our flights for significantly less pay. Management’s behavior was not only reprehensible, but it was also in violation of our legally-binding contract. This decision is a great victory for the Midwest Flight Attendants.”

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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