Back To The Bargaining Table..?
After delaying his decision for over a
week, on Wednesday US Bankruptcy Court Judge Adlai
Hardin denied Delta Air Lines regional subsidiary Comair's request
to toss out its contract with its 970 flight attendants so it can
impose harsh pay cuts.
In his ruling, Hardin said Comair did not meet the requirements
of the bankruptcy law that would allow the rejection of the
collection bargaining agreement... and while flight attendants are
understandably pleased with the ruling, it throws into limbo two
other cost-cutting arrangements the Erlanger, OH-based airline had
previously made with its unionized mechanics and pilots.
Because Comair had set the cuts for flight attendants at $8.9
million in its deals with the other unions -- a figure that, with
the judge's ruling, it can no longer guarantee -- the carrier did
not meet the good faith standard required for a contract to be
"We're thrilled, happy, all of the above," said Lynn Dziad with
Local 513 of the Interational Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union
representing Comair's flight attendants. " There's been a lot of
pressure on our group financially. We're waiting for the company to
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Hardin urgently requested Comair
at the union to return to the bargaining table... and for both
Comair and the union to limit any further "Draconian threats" made
during the negotiating process -- i.e, stop talking about strikes,
and get to work.
The airline had reportedly asked the attendants to return to the
bargaining table last week; the flight attendants replied they
wanted to wait for the judge's ruling before deciding on a next
Comair president Fred Buttrell said Wednesday that Hardin's
decision is a blow to the airline, and to its continued
"...The judge's decision is a tremendous setback for us, and as
difficult as it is to acknowledge, the survival of our airline is
clearly in jeopardy," Buttrell wrote in a memo to employees.
That tone may take away any leverage the flight attendants were
hoping to carry into further negotiations with Comair... as did
Hardin's assurance that he would consider another effort by Comair
to void the contract, should the sides once again fail to reach an
"I have decided this motion and will decide any further such
motion if made, based solely on the evidence and the statutory
merits, without regard whatsoever to threats by either side,"