...Not Entirely Pleased, but Willing to Help
Airlines flight attendants, represented by the Association of
Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, agreed to make what the union called,
"extraordinary" sacrifices Wednesday by ratifying an Interim Letter
of Agreement with the airline that provides for a temporary nine
percent cut in total flight attendant compensation.
The AFA United Master Executive Council recommended flight
attendants vote "FOR" the agreement. Sixty-two percent of eligible
flight attendants voted, with 94 percent of valid ballots cast
"FOR" ratification of the agreement.
"This cut is very painful, especially since flight attendant
compensation is so minimal to begin with," said United AFA MEC
President Greg Davidowitch. "Flight attendants have once again
shown that we are committed to seeing our airline successfully
emerge from bankruptcy."
Tilton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of UAL,
said, "We are grateful for the support the AFA membership has shown
in voting for this agreement. We know this was a very difficult
decision for them to make. The ratification by all four unions
confirms what we have been hearing from employees throughout the
company: That they are committed to United and ready to do the work
that it will take to make this organization a long-term success. We
look forward to continuing to meet and work with our unions to
reach consensual agreements that will enable us to create a more
durable and competitive business."
The nine percent interim cut in total flight attendant
compensation will be accomplished through the elimination of COLA
(cost of living) payments for the duration of the interim
agreement, and an 8.16% reduction in base wage rates and all other
pay factors including reserve override, understaffing pay, training
pay, qualified and non-qualified purser pay, language qualified and
language incentive pay, night pay, and ground pay.
Contingent on Other Unions' Cooperation
The interim agreement will become effective if the airline gets
similar voluntary or court-mandated agreements on interim
concessions with all other work groups at the airline. If all
groups participate in providing interim relief through ratification
or court order, United will be able to meet the strict requirements
of its financers in the bankruptcy process earlier than expected,
allowing the parties an extended period of negotiations over a
final, comprehensive agreement on flight attendant participation in
"United management has been less than
forthcoming with the information necessary for our full
participation in the airline's restructuring," Davidowitch said.
"The flight attendants are willing to work with management to
successfully restructure, but airline executives have to provide us
with access to the information we need and with a clear plan and
reasons for the changes they are requesting going forward.
"Recognizing the contributions of frontline employees is a key
to this process because bankruptcy doesn't end well when the
workers and management are not on the same page," said