United and Continental Flight Attendants Set To Vote To Unify In World's Largest Flight Attendant Union

NMB Agrees with AFA - Declares 'New' United Airlines Ready for Union Election

Washington, DC – The National Mediation Board (NMB) today granted the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA’s (AFA) request to declare that the United/Continental merger has created a single transportation system for the purposes of Flight Attendant representation. Over 24,000 Flight Attendants will soon vote for Flight Attendant union representation at the combined airline.

“Today is a watershed moment in our union and an exciting day for the thousands of Flight Attendants at the ‘new’ United Airlines who are ready to advance our careers with AFA representation. AFA sought this election because we want to unite Flight Attendants as quickly as possible in order to take maximum advantage of the leverage we have from the merger,” said Veda Shook, AFA International President.

“This sets the stage for real gains for our profession,” stated Greg Davidowitch, president of AFA at United Airlines.  “The benefits of membership in our Flight Attendant union are extraordinary.  Sixty-six years ago United Flight Attendants negotiated the first Flight Attendant contract and through our union we have built the Flight Attendant career.  The expertise of our union has resulted in contracts and daily representation that reflect the entire work, and home, life of a Flight Attendant.  The total package produces more money for United Flight Attendants. And now, all Flight Attendants will stand together for improvements across the board.”

The representation election is not a vote for one contract or the other.  Both contracts remain in effect after the election.  The merger provides the opportunity to negotiate a new agreement with improvements that work for Flight Attendants from both airlines. AFA negotiates based on the priorities set by Flight Attendants through surveys, meetings and direct member feedback to elected Flight Attendant leaders. 

“AFA is the leading voice for Flight Attendants on Capitol Hill, with government agencies, at the bargaining table and on safety and security in the cabin,” Shook concluded. “This election is about seniority protection, job security, a strong contract and, above all, which union can best represent the Flight Attendants of the new United Airlines. AFA is that union.”

On January 18, AFA asked the NMB to declare that the merger of United and Continental has created a single carrier for issues of representation. Together, the approximately 15,000 United, 9,300 Continental and 270 Continental Micronesia Flight Attendants will elect a single union to represent their professional interests as the official collective bargaining representative in their newly merged airline. A voting schedule is yet to be announced.

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.yourafa.org.

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