United Express Carrier Flight Attendants Ask for a Release to Strike

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2019)  — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) representing United Express Carrier Air Wisconsin flight attendants has again petitioned the National Mediation Board for a proffer of arbitration/release from mediation, which would start the clock for a potential flight attendant strike 30 days later.

“The situation is dire. Safety sensitive workers cannot afford to eat. Poverty is not just a term it is a real life living condition for aviation’s first responders working at Air Wisconsin under the flag of United Airlines,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson. “It is time for the NMB to release the parties from mediation and force management to face the reality of what these negotiations mean for aviation’s first responders. We are putting the full weight of our union behind ending this mean-spirited game of delay while executives stuff their pockets.” 

“The RLA requires parties to exercise every reasonable agreement and participate in a period of mediation with the National Mediation Board,” AFA writes in the letter submitted to the National Mediation Board (NMB). “AFA has participated fully in this provision of the statute. The RLA also provides for self help, including the right to strike, if mediation proves unable to reach an agreement. It is a core provision of the statute and a key pressure point for both parties engaged in negotiations to reach an agreement. We are at that point in the process.”

Once released, the next step under the statute is a 30-day cooling-off period that ends with a strike deadline. There has been no progress during two negotiations sessions since May’s petition.  

Air Wisconsin flight attendants will picket and leaflet at airports around the country in October to raise the issue in the public and ask passengers for support. 

Flight attendant negotiations at Air Wisconsin have been overseen by the National Mediation Board since 2017. In November 2018, Air Wisconsin flight attendants voted by 99 percent to authorize a strike. AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System™. With CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system, a single airport, or a single flight. The union decides when, where and how to strike without notice to management or passengers.

Air Wisconsin is a regional airline, headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin operating CRJ-200 regional jets. Air Wisconsin previously operated as an American Eagle regional air carrier. As of March 2018, Air Wisconsin operates exclusively as a United Express regional air carrier.


The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 74 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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